Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Update #26

A new Fig update for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire informs us that due to Slacker Backers, the total amount of funds gathered by the game is now roughly $4.62M, which means that the $4.75M stretch goal that adds sea monsters isn't that far away.

The update also lists a number of common questions regarding the Backer Portal. Here are a few examples:

Q: Why do I have extra credit on my account after selecting the tiers and add-ons that I chose on Fig?

A: That's your credit to be used for shipping costs. Once you go through and put your shipping information in, shipping will be calculated and that extra money will be added to your account.

Q: Why can't I get the Deluxe Pillars of Eternity Soundtrack now?

A: We are preparing the soundtrack for download from the Backer Portal. It will become available before the end of April, and we will be sure to send out an announcement.

Q: Why can't I get the Pillars of Eternity Short Story Omnibus now?

A: We're preparing the omnibus with a new, exclusive cover. This will become available for download in May, possibly sooner. We will be sure to send out an announcement.

Q: Can I trade my Tyranny coupon for another game?

A: No.

Q: Can I use the Tyranny coupon and get the game on GOG?

A: The Tyranny coupon is valid in the Paradox Store, where you can get a Steam key. Unfortunately, GOG is not offered as an option.

Then, there's Pig Aloth, doing Pig Aloth things in a series of GIFs. It's exactly what it sounds like – Aloth's animations superimposed on a model of a giant hog. That one you'll have to check out for yourself.

And if Pig Aloth isn't enough to sate your need for Deadfire news, there's also an editorial-style interview with Feargus Urquhart and Josh Sawyer at PC Gamer that discusses the direction Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is taking and how it intends to live up to the expectations of Obsidian Entertainment's fanbase. An excerpt:

“We don’t want to take Pillars of Eternity 2 in a direction that feels untrue to these games,” Sawyer tells me. Minutes later he undermines that with news that one of the biggest changes involves dropping the party size down to five characters instead of six. “We know people are going to be upset by that,” he says. “That’s OK, we believe it makes the game better.”

If you never grew up exploring the frigid wastes of Icewind Dale, one less party member to worry about might not seem like a big deal. However, traditions such as friendly fire and pausable combat, and six-member parties are, for many, sacred. “We had talked about it going all the way back to Pillars of Eternity,” Sawyer confesses almost shamefully. “But doing that to a spiritual successor of games that almost always had six party members didn’t seem like a good idea.”

That’s the difference with Pillars of Eternity 2: while Obsidian still has reverence for the genre’s past, it’s not going to stick to tradition where it no longer makes sense. “It makes a significant difference in how easily you can process what’s going on on-screen. As the party size grows, the number of combatants also grows. So with five party members, it feels just a little bit easier to manage.”

While Pillars of Eternity’s combat possesses a lot of strengths, Sawyer and Urquhart are more than aware of its failings and one less party member isn’t going to stand in their way of addressing those issues. Along with a smaller party, the class system is completely overhauled, the speed slowed slightly, and the 30-odd afflictions reimagined into broader categories so that countering them is more intuitive and doesn’t require a spreadsheet to track them all.

Sawyer also says that the AI governing companions and enemies has been “much improved,” and that players can rely on their companions to make smarter decisions in combat without having to guide them at every stage. But the biggest changes are the least traditional of all—if only because they’ve only become possible with modern game technology.

“We want to add things that feel like, if we went back in time and we made Icewind Dale 3 or Baldur’s Gate 3, they’d feel like very cool additions to those franchises,” Sawyer says. He’s speaking not just on a thematic level, but also on a technical one. Two of the biggest features of Pillars of Eternity 2 are a fully dynamic weather system and a world of characters that don’t just stand in one place waiting to be spoken to.“

"The Deadfire Archipelago is this tempestuous wild land of violent storms, it seemed kind of weird to not have systems to maximise that influence," Sawyer says. Spurred on by feedback that Pillars of Eternity felt too static, its sequel promises to be bustling with a kind of life never seen in older RPGs. Vicious sea winds will bend trees, ruffle clothing, and tussle objects in the environment one minute while rains will soak the earth and anyone caught standing in it the next. The boundary between the 3D characters and 2D background will be blurred, keeping the aesthetic splendour of the latter while also not looking like a screenshot half of the time.

These ideas aren’t exactly all-new territory for RPGs. After all, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion tried to pioneer advancements in character schedules over a decade ago. But Sawyer says it’s not good enough to just make the world feel lively, it’s got to feel interesting too. “It gives us opportunities to make quests resolve in different ways based on how and when you approach them,” he says. “It’s more than people going to work and coming home. Guards might switch to other routines at a certain time which gives you an opportunity to do something in a way that you couldn’t do normally.”