Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity is the Baldur's Gate 3 we never got, returning to the Infinity Engine style of role-playing with flair.

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Key events

Your fondest Obsidian game memories

"My favourite was shooting Darcy in the bollocks."

In September we asked you to share your favourite moments from an Obsidian game and we, on behalf of Paradox, dangled prizes in front of you in return: consoles for the two winners, PC Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny keys for the 10 runners-up. And you answered in your droves.

Inside Obsidian: How RPG's greatest survivors kept the lights on

"They say the path to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Over the years, I've come to know what to expect from Obsidian, or so I thought. Obsidian makes RPGs, beautiful, intriguing, sometimes slightly shonky RPGs with great writing and vivid characters and just a lingering trace of thriftiness. They make games where the concepts, where the soul, trumps the budget.

Rummaging through Obsidian's drawer of game ideas

Star Wars! Snow White! Prey 2! Warhammer 40K! "There's tons of them."

Everyone has a drawer they can't close because it's stuffed too full of things. Mine has a whisk which always stops the bloody drawer from closing, and it's really annoying, but Obsidian Entertainment's drawer has around 100 game proposals in it. Game outlines in various states, from two-page snacks to 60-page feasts. "There's tons of them," Obsidian co-owner Chris Parker tells me. And for Obsidian there was never a time of greater need of an idea than summer 2012, after Microsoft cancelled Xbox One launch game Stormlands, and when South Park: The Stick of Truth was onboard THQ's sinking ship. It spurred a period now referred to in Obsidian history as the Summer of Proposals.

With the penultimate season of Game of Thrones finished on TV and a colossal amount of people talking about it, it's hard to imagine any video game maker ever passing up the opportunity to get a piece of that franchise pie. But as I found out recently, Obsidian Entertainment did - it turned down Game of Thrones.

VideoWatch: We take a walk around Obsidian Entertainment

And narrowly avoid their secret project.

Earlier this month Bertie and I visited Obsidian Entertainment, the excellent, proudly independent role-playing game developer based in Irvine, California. There's plenty of history there, from the team's work on games like Pillars of Eternity, Alpha Protocol and Fallout: New Vegas to its genesis at Black Isle Studios.

"We might not tackle a game like this again"

Obsidian opens up after Armored Warfare contract terminated.

Obsidian Entertainment has assured Eurogamer it is "doing fine" following the announcement it will no longer develop Armored Warfare, the free-to-play tank game. Those duties will move wholesale to Russian studio My.com, owned by the Russian company bankrolling the whole operation, Mail.ru.

Pillars of Eternity White March Part 2 gets a release date

Pillars of Eternity White March Part 2 gets a release date

Raises the level cap and adds a Story Mode for "faster pace".

The second part of The White March expansion for Pillars of Eternity will be released late January 2016, developer Obsidian has announced. Part 1 launched 25th August 2015.

The White March - Part 2 will raise the game's character level-cap up beyond 14, and introduce a Story Mode to tell "the incredible narrative of Pillars of Eternity at a faster pace", said a press release. Does this mean Story Mode resolves battles for you, or does it skip them entirely? Perhaps the game uses more of the Choose Your Own Adventure-style screens to leapfrog combat. There's also a new companion, the barbarian Meneha, as well as new quests, new abilities and presumably new loot.

All we've actually seen of Part 2 so is some art for the insect-like Vithrack species and a few concepts for helmets in the expansion.

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Pillars of Eternity sells 500k copies

Pillars of Eternity sells 500k copies

Obsidian's Baldur's Gate spiritual successor does the business.

Pillars of Eternity has shifted half a million copies, publisher Paradox Interactive has announced.

Obsidian's crowdfunded RPG raised roughly $4.5m between a Kickstarter campaign during the autumn of 2012 combined with backers on the developer's site. Obsidian also released the first chapter of its two-part expansion, The White March, back in August of this year and part two is still on the way.

Additionally, there's a tabletop spin-off called Lords of the Eastern Reach that's in the works for a 2016 release, along with several ebooks from the game's core writing team that will expand upon Pillars of Eternity's lore.

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Pillars of Eternity expansion The White March - Part 1 announced

Pillars of Eternity expansion The White March - Part 1 announced

Higher level cap, new abilities, new companions.

Obsidian Entertainment has announced Pillars of Eternity expansion The White March - Part 1, which is "coming soon" for PC (Windows, Linux) and Mac.

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart said it's the first part of the expansion they're doing for the game - a comment that will need more explanation - as will him claiming Obsidian did more writing for it than for the main Pillars of Eternity game.

The White March - Part 1 will raise the game's level cap, add new multi-class abilities, new companions (including rogue and monk), a new party-based AI system and more.

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Pillars of Eternity launches card game spinoff Kickstarter

Pillars of Eternity launches card game spinoff Kickstarter

UPDATE: The campaign is already a success.

UPDATE 29TH MAY: The Kickstarter campaign is already past its $30K goal. The total as of 8.30am BST is $40K.

ORIGINAL STORY 28TH MAY: Pillars of Eternity could be getting a card game spinoff if its Kickstarter ends up successful. And it no doubt will be, given that it's already raised $9K of its $30K goal in its first few hours.

Dubbed Lords of the Eastern Reach, this strategy card game is being developed by Fallout lead designer Chris Taylor, Planescape: Torment and Fallout designer Scott Everts, and South Park: The Stick of Truth level artist John Lewis at Zero Radius Games. The Kickstarter noted that Pillars of Eternity developer Obsidian Entertainment is "actively involved in its development" too.

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Pillars of Eternity review

RecommendedPillars of Eternity review

To Infinity, and beyond!

Easily the best thing about all these old-school RPG revivals has been remembering just how varied the classics truly were. Divinity Original Sin brought back the Ultima VII vibe, Wasteland 2 carried as much of Fallout as it did its namesake, and now Pillars of Eternity casts its resurrection spell on the classic that largely saved the genre from a descent into obscurity - Silver! No, wait. That other one. Baldur's Gate, that's it.

Pillars of Eternity isn't Baldur's Gate 3, but only because of a few technicalities like the name. Its new world is distinct from Forgotten Realms in detail rather than spirit, its engine and mechanics are patterned almost entirely after what BioWare and Black Isle were doing with the Infinity Engine back in the 90s. The backgrounds, higher resolution and with nicer effects, but cut from the same cloth. Each Act beginning with a portentous narrated text scroll. The map. The assassins out for your blood. The progression through small towns suffering from a background threat (this time to children rather than iron) before entering a big city of politics and intrigue. To be sure, you can find the individual elements there in many RPGs, but in this case the particular mix leaves no doubt as to what you're supposed to be feeling nostalgic about. And if any doubt persists, it's soon beaten over the head with the magic words "You must gather your party before venturing forth."

Occasionally, that can be a mite underwhelming. Part of what made Pillars' inspirations classics is that for their time, they were scrappy, adventurous, forging new terrain. The same has always gone for Obsidian's designs, being noted for their subversions and risk-taking and willingness to try spinning things in new directions even with existing franchises. Pillars of Eternity however, while ambitious, plays things very, very safe. It's absolutely the game that Obsidian's Kickstarter backers wanted and paid for, just lacking the company's usual flair for also giving us what we didn't know we wanted, or even the shake-ups to the formula supposedly made for the originally planned Baldur's Gate 3: The Black Hound. At times, it almost seems to pull away from its own twists. The occasional breaks from the action for Choose Your Own Adventure style storylets for instance sounded like a great idea for handling more complex encounters than the engine can offer, but in practice are typically "Try throwing a grappling hook? Okay, cool, it worked." I really wanted more of these, and more ambitious ones. The few that stand out really show their potential.

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Big Pillars of Eternity expansion already in the works

Big Pillars of Eternity expansion already in the works

About the same size as Baldur's Gate's Tales of the Sword Coast.

A substantial expansion for old-school fantasy role-playing game Pillars of Eternity is in the works.

Pillars of Eternity comes out next week, and developer Obsidian is putting the finishing touches to the release. But it's also got a small team of people working on the game's first expansion.

In a Reddit AMA (via VG247), Obsidian executive producer and lead programmer Adam Brennecke said the expansion is expected to be about the same size area wise as Tales of the Sword Coast, the well-received expansion to 1998 fantasy role-playing game Baldur's Gate. Pillar's of Eternity is billed as the spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate series, so the comparison seems apt.

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I had no idea things at Obsidian Entertainment had been so bad. I knew things weren't great before the record-breaking Project Eternity Kickstarter campaign, but I didn't realise that game had saved the company - that without it the studio would have closed.

Pillars of Eternity release date set for March

Pillars of Eternity release date set for March

New areas to be shown off on Twitch tomorrow.

Fan-funded PC role-player Pillars of Eternity will launch worldwide on 26th March, developer Obsidian Entertainment has just announced.

After $4.5m of Kickstarter pledges and fan money, the classically-styled RPG is little more than two months away.

New sections of the game will be shown off tomorrow, 15th January, in a live-stream hosted on publisher Paradox Entertainment's Twitch channel at 9pm UK time.

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The past lives forever in Pillars of Eternity

Hands on with the beta version of Obsidian's crowd-funded retro RPG.

Nostalgia is big business on Kickstarter, where PC gamers flocked to back projects that promised to roll the clock back to a time before egalitarian game design buffed the sharp edges off beloved hardcore genres. Enter Obsidian Entertainment, and Project Eternity, a crowd-funded role-player that proudly wears the C for computer in CRPG.

Pillars of Eternity backer beta release date announced

Playable Pillars of Eternity - finally! Obsidian has announced that the retro-styled role-playing game will go into beta for backers from 18th August.

The PC and Mac game has a broad release date of winter 2014 (suggesting December rather than January or February, but only time will tell).

Obsidian promised more beta detail in the next Eternity update - detail such as how to participate and, presumably, how much of the full game will be playable.

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Yes, Obsidian really is making a MMO tank game

Don't panic, though: "It's not a permanent shift."

When Obsidian Entertainment boss Feargus Urquhart told us before the Games Developer Conference that the big new game his studio was working on was "something very different", he really wasn't kidding.

Pillars of Eternity: What is a "mundane fantasy" RPG?

Obsidian on romance, maturity and more.

I spoke to Pillars of Eternity director Josh Sawyer recently and wrote a piece about the game's likely release date, about reaction to the first proper trailer and about this being the start of a series of games. But that wasn't all Josh Sawyer said, and I had leftover material I thought you'd appreciate reading.

Eurogamer readers' most anticipated games of 2014

Your top 10 choices for the year ahead.

We've had our say already, and typically we were probably well wide of the mark, so it's now your turn to let us know what games you're looking forward to over the next 12 months. Thanks to all who voted (but no thanks to whoever suggested Pong, and to the handful of people who put forward Half-Life 3, well... I'm sorry). The top 10 are presented in reverse order below - and it was incredibly tight out at the front, with the top result beating out the runner-up by only a couple of votes. We've also included some of your comments, although since the submission form was anonymous we can't say exactly who made which point. Sorry about that - if you feel particularly proprietorial about one of your insights that we've highlighted, tell the world in the comments. Onward!

Project Eternity, as a series, could run for eternity

Doing multiple hardcore isometric RPGs would make Chris Avellone very happy, "because that was Black Isle".

Project Eternity isn't a one-off trip down memory lane nor a mere Kickstarter curio for Obsidian Entertainment, it's a series in the making - a potential future upon which the studio could be based.

Rezzed developer sessions to be streamed online

Watch PC and indie panels, live demos and developer talks all through this weekend.

With Rezzed 2013 now just a few days away, we can finally confirm that the full schedule of developer sessions will be broadcast live here and on the Eurogamer YouTube channel this Saturday and Sunday. Yay!

Rome 2: Total War live code demo confirmed in Rezzed developer sessions schedule

Rome 2: Total War live code demo confirmed in Rezzed developer sessions schedule

Plus timings for Project Eternity, Dreamfall Chapters, Frozen Endzone and more.

Rezzed: The PC and Indie Games Show is returning to the UK this June and in my role as curator of the developer sessions I've been beavering away over the last few months organising this year's schedule. I've got enough of it together now that I can let you know exactly when the majority of this year's sessions will take place.

A bit of background for those of you who are lost: Rezzed (tickets available at Rezzed.com) is a two-day show taking place on the weekend of 22nd/23rd June at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. Now in its second year, it allows attendees to go hands-on with the latest PC and indie games before release and - like its big brother, the Eurogamer Expo - there's also a schedule of developer sessions.

Some of the highlights of this year's schedule include Chris Avellone from Obsidian Entertainment coming over to talk Project Eternity, Red Thread Games' Ragnar Tornquist bringing Dreamfall Chapters, and another couple that I can unveil today - Mode 7 Games will be introducing Frozen Endzone at 2pm on Saturday, and Creative Assembly will be showing live code of Rome 2: Total War on stage on the Sunday.

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What a year Kickstarter had in 2012

How many game ideas do you think were pitched?

What a year Kickstarter had in 2012. Tim Schafer's Double Fine kicked the crowd-funding website into orbit back in March, raising more than $3 million to make an old-school adventure game.

Chris Avellone blesses inXile's Planescape: Torment successor

His friend and PST key person Colin McComb in charge.

A successor to Planescape: Torment is happening. No it's not Project Eternity, no it's not Chris Avellone; it's Colin McComb (Planescape: Torment second in command) and inXile (Wasteland 2). And it has the blessing of Chris Avellone, the lead designer of PST.

Project Eternity nears $2m: updates on souls, world tech, non-combat and Unity

Obsidian's old-style RPG Project Eternity is on the road to becoming one of Kickstarter's greatest fund raisers, with $1.9 million raised and 22 days to go. (The target, in case you're out of the loop, was $1.1 million.)

Wasteland 2 raised $2.93 million via Kickstarter, and Double Fine's new adventure game raised $3.34 million. (Ouya raised $8.6 million, but it's not a game so nerr.)

Project Eternity is in stretch goal territory. And there are project updates I will round up here.

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Lots more Project Eternity information and a tentative spring 2014 release date

Lots more Project Eternity information and a tentative spring 2014 release date

"Is the act of sacrificing someone for the greater good a good act in itself?"

Obsidian Entertainment was "floored" by the response to the Project Eternity Kickstarter funding drive, Tim Cain told me. The goal of $1.1 million was surpassed in one weekend, and the total now stands at over $1.55 million.

Tim Cain is the creator of Fallout, of Arcanum and of disappointing (but I still loved it) The Temple of Elemental Evil. He helped program Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. And he joined Obsidian Entertainment in October 2011.

"Work has already begun on [Project Eternity]," Cain explained, "but the advantage of doing the Kickstarter this early in its development is that we can be guided by the feedback from our fans. We are reading the forums and noting what features people think are most important in the game, and then we are revising our work schedule accordingly."

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Is Obsidian's new RPG called Eternity?

Countdown points to Friday as new clues emerge.

The number four has become a number three - it was a countdown rather than a number symbolic of the new Project X RPG that Obsidian has been teasing.