Obsidian Entertainment’s design director, Josh Sawyer, recently expressed his eagerness to create a new Pillars of Eternity RPG, provided he had the same budget as Baldur’s Gate 3. In an in-depth interview with TouchArcade, Sawyer discussed his experiences in the roleplaying game industry, from his involvement in iconic titles like Planescape Torment to Fallout: New Vegas. Amidst this treasure trove of insight, Sawyer elaborated on his desire to build upon Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire’s combat system and implement a “scripted 3D camera” that simplifies exploration and interface navigation. This article dives into Sawyer’s hopes for a new Pillars of Eternity game and the potential enhancements it could bring.

When asked about his dream project, Sawyer dismissed the possibility of a sequel to monkish murder mystery game Pentiment. Instead, he expressed great satisfaction with its creation and outlined his ambition to develop Pillars of Eternity 3, given the opportunity of an unlimited budget. Sawyer’s vision for the game revolves around a high production value, party-based fantasy RPG. While he appreciates the real-time with pause system utilized in previous Pillars of Eternity titles, Sawyer would consider adopting a turn-based combat system if the game were not crowdfunded. He believes that designing combat encounters with fewer but more tactical and crunchy elements could create a more enjoyable experience, especially when coupled with stunning cinematics.

The Benefits of Turn-Based Combat

Sawyer’s preference for turn-based combat arises from his belief that it allows for more intricate combat design. Complex RPGs with numerous stats and systems can overwhelm players in real-time battles. By breaking the action into turns, players have the opportunity to fully comprehend mechanics like the affliction and inspiration system and better grasp concepts such as penetration. Sawyer acknowledges that the turn-based system may not be flawless but highlights its potential for clarity and ease of understanding, especially in games with rich and deep gameplay mechanics.

Unlike the fully manual camera of Baldur’s Gate 3, Sawyer envisions a different approach for a new Pillars of Eternity game. He suggests incorporating a scripted camera in a 3D environment, offering a unique and immersive perspective. Sawyer believes that this approach would be more enjoyable and less troublesome for both players and developers. His reservations about the camera in Baldur’s Gate 3 stem from its impact on the interface and the challenges it poses in managing abilities and interactions. For Sawyer, creating an intuitive and accessible interface remains a priority, even in a game as complex as Pillars of Eternity.

Closing Thoughts

Josh Sawyer’s insights into his envisioned Pillars of Eternity game offer fans a glimpse into the possibilities for the franchise’s future. His aspiration to create a high production value, party-based fantasy RPG resonates with those who appreciate the depth and complexity of the Pillars of Eternity series. With a generous budget and the implementation of a turn-based combat system, Sawyer aims to deliver a more engaging and comprehensible battle experience. Additionally, his desire to refine the game’s camera and interface reflects his commitment to providing a seamless and immersive gameplay experience. While the realization of Sawyer’s dream project remains uncertain, fans eagerly anticipate the future of the Pillars of Eternity franchise, knowing that the passion and creativity of developers like Josh Sawyer are driving its evolution.


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