Pillars of Eternity – soul-dissector RPG-machine

Gare – Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:08 AM
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Obsidian Entertainment’s 4 million dollar Kickstarter RPG now has its official name: the isometric role-playing game thus far known only as Project Eternity is now Pillars of Eternity; the developers announced the name-change during their latest progress update, along with the very first trailer of the project. The video gives us a brief look into Eternity’s gameplay, while the recent press coverage of the title focused on a number of interesting gameplay and lore related questions.

Pillars of Eternity first reared its ambitious head in September 2012 via Obsidian’s Kickstarter page, and was announced as a deep, party-based RPG that, despite not making use of the Dungeons and Dragons settings, will nonetheless follow in the footsteps of 90s RPG classics such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment. Writers for the project include Chris Avellone, who planned much of the original Planescape: Torment and is writing a novella set in the world of Eternity, as well as George Ziets, who lent his expertise to realizing the creative vision of Mask of the Betrayer, the unique and surprisingly dark expansion to an otherwise colorful game, Neverwinter Nights 2.

Pillars of eternal existence

So the secret’s out, the title is Pillars of Eternity. But what does that actually mean? So far, all we have heard is that the titular pillars will play an important part in the game’s narrative – their significance will be revealed to the player as he advances the plot. Eternity’s story will also focus on one other thing: souls. Through miraculous effort, the residents of Eternity’s world have found a way to control and manipulate souls, which, as we might expect, could potentially lead to conflict – do we really play with forces far beyond our mortal understanding? How does a soul actually exist within a person, and how do human souls differ from those of animals and other creatures? All very exciting question that – we hope – will be used as a foundation to build the world of Eternity.

According to Obsidian, the world will take place in a golden age of sorts, where the study of souls and the technology that surrounds it is at its height, with curious minds experimenting with dangerously ambitious ideas: “Hey, if we use this machine this way, we can splice off pieces of a person’s soul, and we think that if we were able to do that, we could take someone who’s a serial killer and splice out the parts of their soul that make them do that. We could reform them that way.” – explained ex-Black Isle man Josh Sawyer in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, once the conversation came to the possibilities potentially present in Eternity’s soul-centric vision. It is all fantastic technology, we could say, but how safe is it to actually do such a thing? And therein lies one potential source of conflict within the world of Eternity.

Not AD&D – something else

Words were spoken of the game’s combat mechanics as well, which, unlike a number of similar RPGs, will use a dual stamina/health system – in combat, it is primarily our stamina that will see a decrease, while a small portion of our received stamina damage will be detracted from our total health points at the same time. Stamina will be fairly easy to regenerate, but if our health points run out, it could potentially spell doom for our given character. The point is to let players survive battle after battle by regenerating their stamina, but still force them to be careful and not let their health decrease to dangerous levels.

Pillars of Eternity might be far from complete, but thankfully, it steadily marches on towards its inevitable release at the end of 2014, arriving on Windows, Linus and OS X platforms.

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