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We have rounded up a number of previews and interviews centered around Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity, which were released today after an embargo on ParadoxCon's articles was lifted.
With the roots in a Kickstarter campaign, and still one of the most successful to date, there's a large degree of wish fulfilment in some of the world's areas. The whole game takes place in some simply gorgeous 2D landscapes, with all of the locations tallying to the creation of around 150 maps through which to play this pegs it somewhere between the two Baldur's Gate games in size, with plenty to explore.
(We tried to strike a nice middle ground, where it didn't feel like we were just having maps for the sake of having them,) Josh said. (You have a lot cool exploration in there, but there's a good content density, so you don't just feel like, '˜I spent 10 minutes wandering all over this map and I didn't find anything!')
The Endless Paths of Od Nua might not exactly be endless, but does feature a quite vast 15 levels to the dungeon which reside right below your stronghold base, with a huge statue stretching the levels within its depths. It's not designed to be tackled in one go, and is in fact an almost entirely optional part of the game that's best dealt with piecemeal as you level up, but represents a quite impressive setting in and of itself.
It's one part of a large amount of side quests and hidden content, with the main story thread, the critical path if you will, at roughly a third of what's there to be sampled. Whether you partake is up to you, and without auto-adjusting enemy levels, you could go into an area for which you're rather outmatched and create a more difficult situation for yourself even beyond the difficulty options. The most challenging content in the game is tucked away off the beaten path, either way.
Digital Spy has words from project lead Josh Sawyer on the game's optional content:
He added: "It's a very long game. Even if you play just the critical path, you'll be playing it for quite a while.
"But it has a lot of optional content in it. Whatever pace you want to play it at, there's a lot stuff that you can do."
The game's level cap, meanwhile, will only be reached for those who invest their time in side-content.
"The level cap is designed more for completionists," Sawyer explained. "If you do just the critical path you will likely wind up about eighth level by the end of the game, and the level cap is 12.
"If you do the majority of content in the game you will get 12 and you will find all of these crazy items."
Finally, PC World has a presentation transcript/interview with Josh Sawyer:
On expansions and sequels
JS: They're going to be extensions of the main game. We are making an automated save for you, it's actually called the Point of No Return Save. So if you complete the whole game and you're like "Oh %#&^, the expansion came out," great. Load that save, you can go straight into it, it's fine. It's something connected to the main game but its own separate storyline, and you take your normal characters into it. We're in the very early stages of planning it.
We have to see exactly how it integrates in terms of location and how it shows up on the map, or whether it's its own separate world map. But we have a ton of locations. Baldur's Gate was about 100-110. Baldur's Gate II was 200-and-something? Ours is 150. Pretty big. It's a long game, even if you play just the crit path. If you play all the stuff it's a very long game.
[Are you looking at save imports for a sequel too?]
JS: We'd very much like that. People like the idea of taking their characters on a long, epic journey. Even going back to the classic RPGs, it was nice to bring your character in and keep going with it.
Contrary to what someone interpreted what our CEO said, we're not working on a sequel at all yet. We're not even really talking about it except to say "That'd be cool. Hope people like this game." But we do think about, if we were to make a sequel we do want the player to be able to bring their character from this game, come over into the next game, and of course reflect the choices they made in the previous game.