We loved Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire in our review, so I got in touch with Obsidian Entertainment to talk a bit about the game. Come check it out!
PS4Blog: Welcome to PS4Blog.net! Thank you for joining us this morning. Could you please help us get started by telling our readers a bit about yourself and your work?
Absolutely! My name is Alec Frey, and I am a Production Director at Obsidian Entertainment. While at Obsidian, I’ve worked on Tyranny, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, all expansions to Deadfire, and The Outer Worlds. In the past five years, I’ve been credited for QA, Tech Design, Game Director, Producer, Production Director, and I even created the 3D art for a weapon in Deadfire. Being a producer, every day is a little different. I get to work with different amazing developers all the time. Some days I’m scheduling the work and budgets for the team all the way to working with a developer on troubleshooting a pipeline.
PS4B: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate Edition is out on consoles. What can you tell us about the game and about what makes this the Ultimate Edition?
The Ultimate Edition contains everything that was ever made for Deadfire. To get into a little bit about what that means it includes all three major DLCs: “Beast of Winter” takes you to a remote frozen island where a Dracolich has made a play at immortality, “Seeker, Slayer, Survivor” you find yourself thrust into a gladiatorial style arena where proving yourself also reveals secrets of the island and the God of the Hunt himself, and finally, “The Forgotten Sanctum” allows you to delve into the body of a god and learn things about the magic of the Archipelago that has been lost for a very long time. In addition to the major DLCs, there are a number of minor DLCs that include content such as a boozy new sidekick named Mirke and a mysterious ship with countless magical treasures inside. Ultimate Edition also includes all major updates, including turn-based mode and the fabled Ultimate Challenge.
PS4B: How long has the team been working on the console version of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire? Were there any particular hurdles or challenges you had to overcome during development?
It’s tough to say exactly how long development took. The team at Grip Digital started quite a while ago, but there was some time taken to work on the Switch version of the first Pillars of Eternity. We’re still patching and polishing that version, and it’s hard to say exactly what development time was spent on which project. As for hurdles, Deadfire asks a lot of your processor and graphics card to bring these worlds alive. There is a lot of AI walking around and massive, rendered backgrounds. There are limitations to processing power on consoles versus PCs, and thus there is a large amount of optimization work to get the game running to a standard that we at Obsidian are happy with.
PS4B: How did the team take on adapting the mouse and keyboard original set up for the game so that Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire could feel just right on consoles?
This is a great question. Isometric RPGs as a genre were created for PC and thus to be controlled with a mouse and keyboard. Luckily with Deadfire, we had solved a lot of these issues when the first Pillars went to console thanks to the team at Paradox Arctic. The first major change is movement and world interaction. The game world is huge, with a lot of things to interact with. In Deadfire, you actually walk around on the world map too. Getting this to feel good is no small amount of work. Giving direct control on the analog stick has always felt like the right way to go with these ports.
However, for accessibility and more options, we also allow the player to press Triangle, which allows them to switch to a mode where they can effectively use their controller as a mouse on the screen and click where they want to go. The other big challenge is finding a way to allow the player to cast all their spells and abilities without too many clicks. This was all done through radial menus on the first Pillars of Eternity. Deadfire is more complex due to multiclassing, so we now have a system where you interact with a bar at the bottom of the screen. This requires fewer presses to get the spell or ability you’re looking for.
PS4B: How’s the Nintendo Switch version for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire coming along?
There is still a lot to do. The Switch has less hard drive space and less power. We think it’s going to be a great experience, but it’s going to take some time to figure out everything. We’re hoping to be able to give a better date in the near future.
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have for today. Is there something else you’d like to add before we go?
Thank you so much for your patience. We’re excited at the ability to have Deadfire on a wide variety of platforms so more players can experience these epic adventures! Have fun in Eora!