Pil­lars of Eter­nity

Hon­or­ing and re­fresh­ing the In­fin­ity En­gine legacy.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Wes Fen­lon

It’s like the In­fin­ity En­gine hasn’t aged a day. If you were around 15 years ago, when leg­endary In­fin­ity En­gine games such as Bal­dur’s Gate and Planescape: Tor­ment were re­defin­ing the com­puter RPG, Ob­sid­ian’s Pil­lars of Eter­nity is prob­a­bly ex­actly what you see in your mind’s eye. In re­al­ity, those old pre­ren­dered back­grounds are now pla­s­ticky and mi­cro­scopic on high-res mon­i­tors.

Pil­lars of Eter­nity is how you re­mem­ber those games look­ing: mood­ily lit, each iso­met­ric scene packed with evoca­tive tiny de­tails. And from the short demo I saw at E3, Ob­sid­ian has done ex­actly what its 73,986 Kick­starter back­ers wanted: cre­ate a 1999 RPG with a 2014 graph­i­cal shine.

Ob­sid­ian showed off an in­tro­duc­tory area of Pil­lars of Eter­nity, which opens with your char­ac­ter trav­el­ing through the Eastern Reach with a rag­tag car­a­van. A few min­utes in and the car­a­van is at­tacked, peo­ple die, and you lead a cou­ple of sur­vivors through some nearby ru­ins. The short pre­sen­ta­tion as­sumed some base­line knowl­edge of past In­fin­ity En­gine RPGs. Ob­sid­ian didn’t spend time ex­plain­ing the ba­sics of iso­met­ric RPGs or dig­ging into stats or classes, or even show­ing off di­a­logue. In­stead, they fo­cused on what’s new.

There are 11 classes in the game, but Ob­sid­ian fo­cused on wizards. “In the old

If I were to choose ‘cruel’ and was a jerk to every­one, that’ll change how oth­ers re­act to me

In­fin­ity En­gine games, once you’d spent all of your spells, your wiz­ard was kind of use­less,” said Bran­don Adler, lead pro­ducer. “We wanted to avoid that, so one of the things we’re do­ing is [giv­ing wizards] rods and wands that they can shoot pro­jec­tiles out of.” Wizards will start with a blast abil­ity that will do AoE dam­age around the en­e­mies they hit, which Adler said will be good for mop­ping up mobs.

Ob­sid­ian also touched on the dis­po­si­tion sys­tem, which works sim­i­larly to align­ment in Bal­dur’s Gate or Planescape. “You’ll see diplomatic, hon­est, pas­sion­ate,” said Adler. “De­pend­ing on how you re­spond in var­i­ous con­ver­sa­tions, it’ll track that through­out the game, and peo­ple will re­spond to you dif­fer­ently based on that. If I were to choose ‘cruel’ and was a jerk to every­one, that’ll get out to the pub­lic at large, and that’ll change how peo­ple re­act to me. A priest may not want to deal with me; but some­body in the vil­lage I’m deal­ing with will go, ‘I don’t want to mess with that guy, give him what­ever he wants.’”

Ac­cord­ing to project lead Josh Sawyer, it’s also pos­si­ble for your com­pan­ions to die or aban­don you based on your de­ci­sions, and it’s pos­si­ble (although ex­tremely dif­fi­cult) to fight through the en­tire game solo. No one at Ob­sid­ian has tried yet.

Pil­lars of Eter­nity is now fea­ture-locked and head­ing for beta, where sys­tems will be tweaked, art will be pol­ished and bugs will be squashed. Back­ers will gain ac­cess to the beta build in the next few months.

The back­ground scenes look amaz­ing,

but we want to see the drag­ons. Set­ting up camp with your com­pan­ions, you get to ad­mire your sur­round­ings. The world’s hope­fully go­ing to be less empty on re­lease.

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