Pillars of Eternity is about a month away from release, so with the game mostly finished I got the chance to sit down for one last, lengthy chat with Obsidian's Josh Sawyer to talk expansion plans, sequel rumors, why PCs are amazing, fast/slow mode, Big Head Mode, Gothic castles, and why Might affects the damage inflicted by a pistol.
All that and more, below.
Side note: While Sawyer talked, Obsidian's Nick Carver was playing through some optional sections of the game for us, so if you see any references to "that hero" or the like, just assume it's Sawyer referencing whatever was on the screen at the time. Also, I have no idea what the official spelling is for some of these areas and characters. I guessed. Sue me.
Setting the stage
Josh Sawyer, Obsidian (JS): One of the areas we're showing right now is Radric's Hold. Radric's Hold is encountered within the first couple of hours of the game. You can tackle it immediately. You can wait and come back. There's no level-scaling or anything so you can do it in whatever order you want.
It was important for us to have these grand-scope, very cool 2D environments. This is a Gothic Castle. One of our designers was like "Can we please just have one Gothic Castle?" so we decided to make Radric's Hold. It is actually a dungeon. You can use some diplomacy as you go through it. You can use stealth. You can use your skills in different ways. First, though, we're going to try and just barge our way in, which is one way you can do it.
It is a real-time with pause combat system, so at any time you can pause the game. You also have a lot of auto-pause options. A lot of players prefer to have things set up ahead of time so if a character goes down, something happens, it'll pause right away so they can give new orders.
Fast Mode and Slow Mode
JS: In a big battle like this where there are a ton of combatants you can also go into a "Slow Mode." Slow Mode doesn't run at half speed, it runs at 2/3 speed. It's just enough to bring the speed down so things become a little bit easier to follow, a bit easier to manage. You don't have to quite micro and pause so much.
Not only do you have a slow mode for combat, but you have a fast mode that's good for exploring quickly — usually re-traversal. Exploration is a big part of the game but re-traversal is also a big part of the game that's not necessarily super-enjoyable. Fast mode helps you book it through there.
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