Pillars of Eternity, the old school RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Paradox Interactive, is receiving an expansion by the name of The White March Part 1 (which I had a gander at here). I got the opportunity to sit down with Justin Britch, one of the game’s producers, to chat about how the studio took the response to their game and what new features players can expect to find in the expansion.
So firstly, how has the reaction been to the release of Pillars of Eternity and how has that affected you guys at the studio? How has that affected development of the expansion?
The reception to the game was really high. We were… I don’t want to say “surprised” but you always hope for the best but kind of expect the worst and the reception was really really good for the first game and we were ecstatic about it. We just wanted to make a game that fans of the genre liked and we seemed to deliver on that for most people.
So the expansion for us is us really taking all the feedback from what players liked about the original game and adding in more content that the fans enjoyed.
That’s good to hear! So what is something that you got good feedback on and that you’ve expanded upon in the expansion?
Well something that players really enjoyed in the original game was our scripted interactions. We’ve made a huge effort to include more of those with more reactivity in the expansion. So now, scripted interactions will react to what classes you have going in to them and you cast spells (if you’re a spellcaster)… or they’ll react to what race you are and whether you’re a heavy or a light race.
‘Heavy’ or ‘light’ race?
Well so, we have ‘Aumaua’ which are these largely than human-
Oh! You mean physically!
Yes! So we have a variety of different races, all with different sizes and if you have a very large character trying to do some very nimble task then it is going to be more difficult for them. That’s the kind of reactivity we wanted to showcase in our scripted interactions. We really liked making them and hopefully players will like them as much this time around.
So can you tell us a bit about the White March?
So the White March is a new area to the North East of where the players are located in the main game. It’s a snowy region in the mountains. We took a lot of inspiration from Icewind Dale. We wanted to showcase beautiful exterior snowy environments that Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale 2 had and that was actually one of the first games that Josh Sawyer, our project director, worked on in the video game industry.
So this expansion is really our ode to those titles and also to provide us with new areas and quests for the players to go through. Obviously players got a lot of hours out of the base game and seemed to enjoy what was there so we’re just adding more of it.
Well that’s certainly good to hear. What has been the crowning glory for you guys in the game? What aspect of your game are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one. I don’t even know where to begin and everyone on the team has their own personal favourite.
What’s your personal favourite?
I love the combat. It’s so deep and rich with so many ways to play. Since the game has come out, I’ve made at least 16 new starts in the game. I go through and I’m like “I want to try an all-ranger party” and create the ‘Homeward Bound’ party where you have six different pets and they’re all doing different things.
Another one is that I created a group of all-chanter types and summon skeletons everywhere or I want to create lots of rogues and have a super sneaky party.
I think there was a story going around about an ‘all-bear’ party created by someone…
Yup! We passed that one around in the studio. We love seeing all the ways in which players interacted with the game and that’s a huge treat for us.
That’s good to hear! Thank you very much for your time, Justin.
The White March Part 1 will be released August 25th of this year.
For more of our E3 coverage, click here.