Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 4 – Pillars of Eternity

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Pillars of Eternity: Obsidian Entertainment’s Pillars of Eternity (http://eternity.obsidian.net/) was released a couple weeks ago. It casts players in the role of The Watcher, a uniquely gifted individual who can perceive the souls of others.

Pillars of Eternity is also designed, in part, as a throwback to the Infinity Engine RPGs of the late 1990s and early 2000s (e.g. Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale). Obsidian’s stated mission with Pillars of Eternity is to “recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG’s that we enjoyed making – and playing.” Although built with the modern Unity 3D engine, Pillars of Eternity strives to recapture the isometric, essentially 2D look of the old Infinity Engine games, adding modern conventions only sparingly and where it will improve the overall “old school” experience.

That Controversial Poem: Pillars of Eternity was, of course, crowdfunded via Kickstarter, and many backers submitted small pieces of content that were included in the game at various points. One of the rewards for pledges of $500 and up was “[the backer’s] name and a personalized message on a MEMORIAL STONE IN-GAME”.

One such backer, Firedorn Lightbringer by handle, penned a somewhat off-colour poem for his in-game tombstone:

“Here lies Firedorn, a hero in bed
He once was alive, but now he’s dead
The last woman he bedded, turned out a man
And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran”

This inclusion greatly upset Twitter user @icequeenerika, who called out Obsidian for allowing what she termed “transmisogyny” to be included in Pillars of Eternity. After some deliberation, Obsidian elected to contact Firedorn Lightbringer about the poem, who subsequently elected to change its wording:

“Here lies Firedorn, a bard, a poet
He was also a card, but most didn’t know it
A poem he wrote in jest was misread
They asked for blood, so now he’s just dead”

Was this the right course of action for Obsidian to pursue?

Pillars of Eternity Tabletop RPG and Card Game: Pillars of Eternity has seemingly been a monumental success for Obsidian Entertainment, so much so that expansions to its universe are being considered in the form of a tabletop RPG and a card game (http://www.dualshockers.com/2015/04/06/obsidian-entertainment-looking-to-expand-on-pillars-of-eternity-with-tabletop-rpg-and-card-game/).

“[Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart] specifically detailed that the card game would release first under the guidance of another development company, and mentioned ‘This isn’t like a [collectible card game] or anything like that, but it’s more just a fun, kind of, four people get around and play a single session card game.’

In terms of the tabletop RPG, details around the game are still vague and in more of a conceptual state, with Urquhart detailing that the studio is still ‘absolutely’ invested in looking into and developing a concept for a Pillars of Eternity tabletop RPG. Specifically, Urquhart mentioned ‘We’re not sure yet how we’re going to do it. We were kind of going back and forth on, do we use the game’s rules, do we use someone else’s rules, do we come up with another set of rules?'”

Related: Gamasutra has a timely article on The Hidden Costs of Scripting Game Behaviour (http://gamasutra.com/blogs/EdEarl/20150406/240469/Hidden_Costs_of_Scripting_Game_Behaviour.php) that dovetails rather handily with some of what was discussed.

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Music

Title ThemePillars of Eternity Soundtrack by Justin Bell

Combat APillars of Eternity Soundtrack by Justin Bell