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Pillars of Eternity: Josh Sawyer talks mods, PC-first focus, Big Head mode, and more

Hayden Dingman | Feb. 23, 2015
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.

On pandering to the PC

JS: Because it is PC-focused, we can say Mouse and Keyboard. Yes. You play the game this way. Someone asked about consoles last time, I said "$&$^&# no." You're not going to do that. This is a very — it's not actually an RTS but it is RTS-like.

If you actually go back to Baldur's Gate, that was based on something called Battleground Infinity that was an RTS. Then they said "Eh, it's a D&D game" and it worked out pretty well. Being able to make it a PC-focused game means we can stick to a mouse and keyboard set-up and focus on that sort of combat that's more RTS-like and more true to a PC experience.

On Beamdog and Baldur's Gate

JS: That's cool! I thought the Enhanced Editions were really nice updates for the old games. It was really cool they came to tablets. As one of the main designers on Icewind Dale, seeing the BG2 kits in there destroy all the balance kind of made me a little sad. The BG2 kits are really powerful and Icewind Dale was kind of balanced around one thing.

But it was still really cool to see it with all the tech upgrades. Trent Oster obviously has a long background with the Baldur's Gate series, so it's cool they'll make more.

On tabletop Pillars of Eternity

JS: We have talked about it. The way I always look at that is...every once in a while I go into a gaming store and I see like, " Diablo 2: The Role-Playing Game" and I'm like "Did people buy this? I guess someone did."

As people who work in the computer game space, making a game like this, we can bring something. These games weren't being made for a very long time, so we could bring something back that was missing.

But making Pillars of Eternity into a tabletop game, it's like "Hey dude, D&D exists. Pathfinder exists." I don't personally know what — we're ripping off tons of D&D and Pathfinder things to make this — what would we really bring to the tabletop environment that would make people go "I've got to have that game."

I'm cool with us doing lore books and novellas and all that. A standalone tabletop game? I think the tabletop designers that are out there making their own systems or working within existing companies are doing a great job. I wouldn't rule it out, but would people really play this? You could play in the Pillars of Eternity world and just play D&D or play Pathfinder and it would probably be fine.

And lastly, on Big Head Mode (yes, it's in the game)

JS: It's always been a dream of mine to work on a game with big head mode.


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