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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Update #50: So... Project Eternity!

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)
1 like

Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

Thanks to everyone who contributed feedback to our visual demo last week.  While we are still working out some aspects of our environment art, we appreciate both the kind words and the suggestions for improvement that we received.
Due to all of the coverage we received, we noticed a lot of new folks asking about the game as well as past backers who may have missed a lot of the updates that have happened since the Kickstarter campaign ended.  We thought it would be a good idea to restate what Project Eternity is all about and update our FAQ.
While much of this has been covered in previous updates, we have also included a few new tidbits of information in the details.

What is Project Eternity?
Project Eternity is a party-based fantasy roleplaying game inspired by the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 & 2, and Planescape: Torment) set in an original world created by Obsidian Entertainment.  The camera has a fixed axonometric (high angle) perspective (with zoom!).  The environments are 2D backgrounds combined with 3D characters and visual effects.
Project Eternity's team is focusing on three core ideas that will capture the Infinity Engine experiences players loved so much:

  • Unique, beautiful, dynamic environments that encourage and reward exploration.
  • A story that is both personal and far-reaching, with believable characters and factions that create compelling dilemmas for players.
  • Fun and challenging tactical combat that can escalate in difficulty through the use of optional game modes.

What does "party-based" mean in Project Eternity?
At the start of the game, the player can create and customize his or her character, choosing from six races and several ethnicities, eleven classes, and a number of cultural backgrounds.  Over the course of the game, the player can expand his or her party up to six total characters.  The additional characters include eight companions designed and written by Obsidian as well as any new characters players would like to build at the Adventurer's Hall.

What is the combat like?
Project Eternity's combat will feel very similar to the combat in the Infinity Engine games, which used a "real-time with pause" system. In such a system, events between combatants occur simultaneously, but the player can pause the game at any time. The player selects and commands one or more of his or her party members to issue orders, ranging from continuous activities, like making standard attacks, to the activation of limited-use tactical abilities, such as spells.

Like the Infinity Engine games, Project Eternity will support auto-pause features that allow players to establish conditions under which the game will automatically pause (e.g., if a party member becomes unconscious). It will also feature a slow combat toggle that can be used with or in lieu of the pause feature. In slow combat, players can manage the flow of combat without needing to halt the game entirely.

What are the different races we can play?
Players can select from six main races found in this part of the world: humans, elves, dwarves, orlans, aumaua, and godlike. Orlans, aumaua, and godlike are unique to the world of Project Eternity, though godlike have similarities to "planetouched" races in other settings. Orlans are small humanoids physically notable for their two-tone skin, extensive body hair, and extremely long ears. Aumaua are large, semiaquatic humanoids with a diverse array of skin patterns, elongated heads, and semi-webbed hands and feet.

Godlike are not a separate race, but a phenomenon found among all races. They are individuals whom many people believe were transformed by the gods before birth. Godlike have distinctive appearances that invariably make them stand out from other people, with different cultures and individuals holding wildly different biases toward or against them.

All of the races have different ethnicities from which the player can choose. For elves, Wood and Pale, for dwarves, Mountain and Boreal, for orlans, Hearth and Wild, and for aumaua, Island and Coastal. Humans have three ethnicities: Meadow, Ocean, and Savannah. Godlike can be found among any race and their appearance always sets them apart from their parents.

This is an Aumaua male and female hi-poly head model. The facial colors and texture will be coming later.

What about the classes?
Characters may be one of eleven classes: barbarian, chanter, cipher, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, priest, ranger, rogue, or wizard.  The "core four" classes (fighter, priest, rogue, wizard) are most similar to their traditional tabletop analogues.  The non-core classes, barbarians, druids, monks, paladins, and rangers, are somewhat similar to their counterparts but differ more significantly.  The two completely new classes are the chanter and the cipher, which are unique to the world of Project Eternity.
Traditional classes vary in how high- or low-maintenance they are based on their traditional counterparts.  E.g. fighters are generally lower maintenance than wizards.  However, the advancement system allows players to bend those roles, making higher-maintenance, active-use fighters or more passive wizards (for example).  Class balance is important to us, but we also want playing each class to feel distinctive and complementary to other classes.
What will the art style be like?
Our art style is fairly realistic and uses a somewhat subdued, natural color palette, especially in outdoor environments.  Character proportions are also fairly realistic.  Equipment designs and proportions are based on their earthly historical counterparts, with an overall emphasis on function in their form.  However, because this is a fantasy game, many environments will also be fantastic, with unearthly architecture, unusual materials, brilliant colors, and beautiful embellishments when appropriate.
How about the setting and story?
Project Eternity is set in a world created by Obsidian Entertainment, where mortal souls are bound to an eternal, and often mystifying, cycle of life and reincarnation believed to be watched over by the gods.  Though cultures and individuals have different beliefs about the nature and purpose of this cycle, it is only recently that mortals have made significant advancements in understanding its fundamental mechanics through the science of animancy.
The story takes place in a small nation in the world's southern hemisphere called the Dyrwood (DEER-wood).  The Dyrwood is a heavily forested, coastal region where colonial powers from across the ocean have settled and formed an uneasy relationship with the local residents, tribes of orlans and elves who are protective of the ancient ruins of Eír Glanfath on the forest's interior.  Eír Glanfath was an ancient melting pot of races that built elaborate, often massive, structures out of a living shell-like substance called adra.  Though the fate of the ancient Glanfathans is unknown, their dangerous and complex ruins show evidence they possessed extensive knowledge of how souls work.  For this reason, all of the surrounding colonial powers aggressively fight for the chance to explore and plunder Glanfathan structures, often bringing the local tribes into conflict with their relatively new neighbors -- and the neighbors into conflict with each other.
The central character in the story is a newcomer to the Dyrwood, a man or woman who is caught up in a bizarre supernatural phenomenon.  This event puts them in a difficult position, where they must explore the new world to solve a series of problems that have been thrust upon them.
What engine does Project Eternity use?
Project Eternity uses the Unity engine in addition to proprietary features developed at Obsidian.
What platforms will Project Eternity be available on?
We will be releasing Project Eternity for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs.  It will be available through Steam and
Will Project Eternity use any form of DRM (digital rights management)?
The GOG version is DRM-free. The Steam version works like any other Steam game and does not have any added DRM. There is no online requirement to play the game nor any additional DRM imposed by us.
What languages will you be supporting?
In addition to English, Project Eternity will be released in French, German, Spanish, Polish, and Russian.
What resolutions are you supporting?
Project Eternity will support resolutions from 1280x720 and up.  Our environments are rendered out at a high resolution and support a wide range of scalability.
What other cool stuff will be in the game?
Thanks to our backers, players will have access to both a player house as well as a full stronghold in the game.  Also, players will have the chance to explore all fifteen levels of the backer-funded mega-dungeon, the Endless Paths of Od Nua.  Players who want a more extreme challenge can enable up to three optional game modes: Expert Mode (turns off "helper" features), Path of the Damned (dramatically increases the difficulty and complexity of encounters), and Trial of Iron (only one save game, party death = game over, save game deleted).
That's all for this week.  Thanks for reading!

Season 1: Cowardly Cops, Meddling Merchants, and Shrouded Hills. And trash bins.

Article by Chris Avellone, Creative Director

We’re doing something different with the Arcanum playthroughs with this update – instead of filming a large portion at once and then releasing that one session over several weeks in small 10 min chunks, we’re going to release smaller updates that allow us to respond more quickly to your feedback on the playthrough and then iterate on the next playthrough. In this episode, Avellone explores the small town of Shrouded Hills, deals with cowardly constables, explores trash bins, and finds out more about the cryptic ring from the Zephyr’s zeppelin crash. Virgil guest stars.

Dmitry Eliseev likes this update.


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    1. The Evolutionary on

      Okay, I asked this questions privately with no answer, I'll bring it up publically. You mention that your distribution methods will be Steam or Most of us want our software drm-free. Steam is a drm platform. You may not be adding any additional drm, but Steam itself is a DRM platform. And they LOVE to collect their data. I am support of in all aspects but one: They do not have any Linux offerings. I've inquired about this with them several times but no response at all. And no change to the offerings. Your 2 solutions fail to deliver on part of the promise you made to people like me: A drm-free Linux version of the game which is the reason I supported this project. I would suggest that a direct download option be offered. Using Steam and may be convenient, and I'm sure many people will use them, but for Linux users it makes it impossible to get a drm-free version of the game which was the only reason many of us pledged to begin with. I have to ask you again, what is your plan for ensuring that Linux users get the drm-free Linux version of the game they paid for?

    2. Alexander Schneider on

      That Aumaua Male looks so much like the Face of Bo it's not even funny

    3. Missing avatar

      ProtonAx on

      Re: Chris Avellone's Arcanum Playthrough

      This week's episode reveals two of my biggest pet peeves with Arcanum: 1. You can fast travel through a linear gauntlet of wolves you could never defeat otherwise (at least without a good mage or melee fighter character build), never encountering a single wolf. 2. The dumpster diving. You spend the first 15% of the game going through the trash cans finding junk to sell (or use if you are a technologist), so that you can equip your party with rudimentary gear for adventuring, whereupon after one or two successful major expeditions you have so much cash that there is essentially never anything worthwhile to buy in a shop for the rest of the game.

    4. Cassandra Matteis on

      @Adam Thompson Couldn't agree more. Combat can be fun, but I honestly tend to like pacifist characters. In fact, being able to go the entire game without ever once taking a life was probably one of my favorite parts of Dishonored. (Well, one of several.)
      This goes doubly if the alternatives for combat can be just as fun.
      Either way, though, I'd like it for allowing me to play even more into the character I want. :P

    5. barbarian_bros on

      My french translation of Update 50 :…

      Lore and Sytem Updates (16, 24, 36, 39, 43, 50) have been translated in french on the same forum.

    6. Missing avatar

      Florian Meinke on

      I've finally found the game developers of my youth again...put "Black Isle" on your back and I'm 15 again. :3 That does not mean you should rename yourself. Just that the feeling I have when I read or see something P:E related is exactly the same as the one I got when I first started Baldur's Gate, after character generation, and standing in Candlekeep. I wuv you, Obsidian!
      God, it's so good to have trust-worthy, good, genuine game developers back. Really guys, I cannot express the gratitude I have towards you for doing THIS here.
      Also, Chris Avellone looks like my boss with tattoos :D

    7. Hobbie on

      Yeah, Frontier did it for their new Elite game and I've increased my plegde regularly. Would love to the same with Project Eternity ! ^^

    8. Maciej Stańczyk on

      PLEASE give us backer store! I'd love to up my pledge.

    9. Aaron Alberg on

      I'm been following the Kickstarter updates all along and tidbits of lore as well. I really appreciated this update because despite following along, you presented a few things here and there that I hadn't seen yet. Thanks. Looks awesome!

    10. barbarian_bros on

      RPG lovers, please consider backing the Larian Studio KS for their new 'divinity' game :
      Divinity Original Sin :

    11. ThomasN on

      Matthew Hardy: I'd like my installer also DRM free so I object from calling anything on Steam DRM free.

    12. Missing avatar

      Scelous on

      I want Ironman to wipe the save clean; no recovery. That being said, it would be really awesome to have a stats screen. That's always nice to have in Ironman modes.

    13. Missing avatar

      Carole on

      The more I read about it, the happier I am to be a backer! :) Great job to all of you!

    14. Sarda on

      If the save is still there, then it can be modified to no longer be marked as game over. By wiping the save file, it removes all possibility of continuing on. There are quite a few games that do it this way.

      That said, a listing of the more relevant data points from all your attempts at said difficulty would be interesting.

    15. Missing avatar

      Cuddles on

      Why delete the saves when you die in Ironman? I'd much prefer to be able to go back and look at how far I got, compare characters, figure out where I went wrong, and so on. I don't mind making things a bit more challenging by having a permanent game over, but immediately deleting all trace of it seems a bit unnecessary.

    16. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    17. Missing avatar

      EOPE42 on

      So happy I backed this. RPG goodness.

    18. Thalon on

      I missed some updates, so I don't know if the thing has been solved yet, but, is the backers portal (the usual page where you register to choose the rewards you are entitled to recieve as backer) ready?
      I checked my e-mail and I didn't find any "registration confirm" type of message from Obsidian, I remember the launch of the backers site was delayed months ago, I don't know how it ended and I want to be sure I didn't miss anything...

    19. Matthew Hardy on

      @Christopher Nobles: Steam does not require a game to implement the Steamworks DRM and they made it pretty clear that they're not using it. So the Steam version is DRM free. As in, you'll be able to copy it from the Steam directory to anywhere else and it will play whether or not the Steam client is on.

    20. Corey Butler on

      Please support ultra wide screen resolutions used by Eyefinity and NVidia surround solutions.

    21. Simon Al-Nakat on

      Woo! Exciting update - I love everything I'm reading.
      Minor things; Island and Coastal Aumaua do not read as particularly distinct. It reads like two ways to describe the same ethnicity. Also I tried to find a better word then "Boreal" for the Dwarves but didn't come up with anything. I think it sounds odd but that's just personal preference. Really happy with having such a wide variety of race and class options.

      Godlike as a "phenomenon found among all races" is really great. Always bothered me how all planetouched were essentially humans with bloodlines.

    22. Jhonrock on

      Talking about party members AI, can we expect some kind of control system like the one used to control party behavior in Dragon Age? For me, that system was perfect! I loved the way that i could specify the companion response for almost all kind of situation he/she could encounter in battle.
      "If you fight a strong enemy, do this and that, if you fight a weak enemy, do this and that, before you engage an enemy, do this and that, if the HP of a party member reach X%, do this and that".
      I never had any problem with my party in that game, the AI control was so good that i hardly needed to be giving orders to my party all the time.

    23. Missing avatar

      jjjetplane209 on

      Love Arcanum. Love the interplay of magic and technology. Its one of my favorite games ever. I have high hopes that Project Eternity will give me the same feeling.

    24. Missing avatar

      nin on

      This all sounds SO wonderful. Just reading the descriptions gets me excited. Can't wait! Thank you!!!

    25. Silver on

      Good update - I like the new Arcanum release schedule.

    26. gandalf.nho

      Nice update

    27. Céline .S. Sauvé on

      I will certainly be turning on "Expert Mode" from the start. It'll make me feel more like my clueless PC from the start! XD

      As for Godlike, do they retain any features or abilities of their "native" race? For example, if you have a Human Godlike and an Orlan Godlike, will they differ if you've selected the same Orlan trait? (I'm thinking they're things like half-angel or elementals, or something?)

    28. LordCrash on

      And again a great update, thanks. :)

    29. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      Is it 50 updates already?

      Always fun to read how PE is going and very excited with what I read.

    30. Missing avatar

      Lywald on

      I don't know who name things, but I love it, it's more conscientious than usual.
      The names of ethnicities, races, classes, locations, armor types, spells, game mechanics...
      They all sound simple but poetic and candid, like in the dream of a child.
      It fits nicely to fantasy, to this universe, and even to the soft art style.
      Of course you will probably mix this innocence with dark themes...
      For a delicious result, as usual.

    31. Missing avatar

      Christopher Nobles on

      Since GOG doesn't support Linux, will you have an alternative method of getting a DRM-free version or will Linux users have to use Steam?

    32. Cihan Deniz on

      "The camera has a fixed axonometric perspective"

      Do you also eat meat for your vegan diet, Josh?

    33. Missing avatar

      Lucreto on

      Thanks for the update.

      I have missed a few over the last month or 2 with work.

      Have you started allocating the rewards yet?

    34. Missing avatar

      Scelous on

      I want another video from Josh. A video!

    35. Missing avatar

      Matthia on

      But italian language? In forum we have reached many votes to add this subs.
      Hi Josh Sawyer, can you reply for this here? Almost says about yes, no because... or both...

      Please, do Endless Paths of Od Nua mega-dungeon full of stories, sub-stories, riddles, NPCs, legends and other and no mega-hack-n-slash-dungeon

    36. Missing avatar

      Colamisu on

      @Chad: Based purely on the wording ("up to three"), I'd say they do stack. And you can pick any one, any two, or all three.

      As for a separate difficulty setting, I would assume so. This is taking a lot of inspiration from the Infinity Engine games, and those had a difficulty slider. For a specific example of something closer to this case, Icewind Dale's expansion had a difficulty slider, then a separate "Heart of Fury mode" checkbox that tacked on even more difficulty and greater rewards.

    37. Adam Thompson on

      I haven't really been interacting much with this kickstarter since backing it, but I've been keeping up with each post. I appreciate the frequent updates and love the look and feel of the game so far.

      The Q&A reminded me - Is the game going to have a lot of NON-COMBAT options?

      I'm talking Torment style where it's possible to avoid combat for almost the entire game. Many of us like the adventure aspect of the Infinity engine RPGs and don't really get our heads around the complex combat... (we also like roleplaying as pacifists).

      Cheers guys.

    38. When I do, you won't know. on

      Steam is the worst kind of DRM, excluding viruses : )

    39. DrAlexander on

      Thanks for the recap. I forgot some of the details. Now I'm all excited again.

    40. Chad Smith

      Also - You said "Players who want a more extreme challenge can enable up to three optional game modes: Expert Mode (turns off "helper" features), Path of the Damned (dramatically increases the difficulty and complexity of encounters), and Trial of Iron (only one save game, party death = game over, save game deleted)."

      Do these "Stack"? Meaning can I have the game with one party death = deleted with the harder encounters? And/or can I have the game on Easy Battle Mode (if there is such a thing), but with the helper features turned off?

      And, for that matter - is there a difficulty selection other than those 3 things? Can one nerf or buff the enemies with a menu option?

    41. Chad Smith

      You give us the pronunciation of Dyrwood but not Eír Glanfath or Glanfathans from the same paragraph?!? lol ok....

      Other than that - thank you for the very helpful recap and update. I can't wait for this game.

    42. James Cartwright on

      Great update, hadn't missed any but it's nice to have a refreshing. Question: will all classes be useful in all environments i.e. Will the Druid be just as useful in a city as in the wild?

    43. Missing avatar

      Tilly on

      :D So excited!! Gonna be a wood elf for sure, although pale sounds nice too.

      ... Yes, let us leave all those hand holding options off. You can't be beat if you've got your wits--and grid paper! >:3

      KITTENS!! *squees* n_n

    44. Greg "Scorpio" Myers

      Exciting stuff guys!

    45. Missing avatar

      Joseph Ross Cornell on

      Looking great guys. It's shaping up to be a really great project.

    46. Dragoon on

      If you could only up my pledge to the $140 tier Collector's Edition Box like it's still possible over at inXile with Wasteland 2.

    47. tarasis on

      Nice and clear update, thank you. Not sure i'll be using Trial of Iron, I die too often but I know some people who will love that feature.

    48. Missing avatar

      iammacgyver on

      Awesome work guys, keep it up!