Pillars of Eternity [Review] came out a couple of years ago, the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate (if you ignored Dragon’s Age existence), and since then Obsidian have sharpened their experience in both the genre and the engine with the releases of downloadable content and Tyranny [Review], another cRPG. Now, they’ve launched a campaign on Fig – already successfully funded, but always looking for additional money to meet its stretch goals and, well, profits – for the second game, set on the Deadfire Archipelago. Here’s the lowdown on the project, setting and information available so far.
Deadfire will continue the story of the first game’s characters, with decisions you took during your stay in the Dyrwood affecting the situation and affairs of the Deadfire Archipelago. While carrying your experience and level over are a possibility, judging from the fact that the maximum level in the second game will be 18 (already a stretch goal, coming up from 16), and in the post-White March scenario of the first game was 16, it is likely that characters will start from level 1.
The setting itself, the Deadfire Archipelago, is a collection of small, volcanic island nations located to the south of the Eastern Reach (where Dyrwood is located), home to a myriad of sea monsters and raiders, as well as to Sagani’s birthplace, Naasitaq.
The Watcher is driven to the archipelago after Eothas takes hold of the giant that lies beneath Caed Nua, rising and destroying it in the process, simultaneously leaving you near death and binding your fate to his. You set out to find him and demand answers, accompanied by some of your previous companions – so far, it would seem Pallegina, Edér and Aloth shall accompany you from the first game (although only Edér is a certainty), while new companions will also be available. Actions you took towards them, including the possibility of their death (or sacrifice), will also carry over to the second game.
Other than the change in scenery, Deadfire will feature a dynamic weather system, with NPCs reacting to climate change; NPC schedules and routines; engine improvements, enhancing visual fidelity and implementing dynamic lighting; as well as a more fleshed-out scripted interactions system, allowing you to use your companions’ skills and abilities alongside yours.
Obsidian developer Josh Sawyer has also said they plan on taking inspiration from Tyranny’s faction-system: Pillars of Eternity’s factions lost importance after the second act, around which they were centered, and for Deadfire they plan on “[…] really establish the factions much more clearly – give the player clearer choices, and let them know when they’re approaching consequences for the choices they made.”
With the Stronghold torn asunder, Deadfire will feature a setting-relevant replacement: “We do have something to replace the Stronghold that I think people are going to enjoy,” says Sawyer. “It has a lot more customisation and it’s very fitting for the setting of the game. It’s going to be really nice.”. It’s a ship, right? A customizable ship. Please be a ship.
The campaign has twenty-five more days to go, and if crowdfunding is your sort of thing, you can get the game starting at $29, and going as high as $10,000, at which point you’ve basically paid Obsidian to let you “help” them develop the game. There are also investment options, although I can’t venture a guess as to how profitable Fig is in that sense.