Update: According to Paradox, Pillars of the Eternity is "absolutely going to ship this year."
Paradox Interactive has just announced that they will be partnering with Obsidian Entertainment to publish the Kickstarted RPG Pillars of Eternity, as well as, potentially, other Obsidian projects going forward.
Paradox, best known for their in-house titles like Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and Magicka, has also published games from outside studios, such as the Warlock and Cities in Motion franchises. Paradox CEO Fred Wester said he's not sure what working with Obsidian might entail beyond Eternity, but he sees it as "hopefully a long-term relationship."
If you've read our Stick of Truth review, you'll know that Obsidian's South Park RPG turned out great. It's a prime slice of fan service, bursting with references to events from the TV show. Here's a collection of the best easter eggs hidden throughout the game, including the toilet that killed Clyde's mother, the lair of Professor Chaos, Tom Cruise's closet and more.
Andy loved the new South Park game and, thanks to this launch trailer, you'll get an idea of why. Not a complete idea, mind. While the video may not shy away from swearing, crude jokes and a scene set in an anus, it's still a long way from the final product, which - in some territories - was deemed shocking enough to be self-censored by Ubisoft.
Once upon a time a studio called Obsidian combined Jack Bauer's angry fists, James Bond's repertoire of one-liners and Jason Bourne's dead-eyed stare into a superspy Megazord called agent Michael Thornton. Michael traveled the world, engaging in rubbish stealth/action sections and talking to spy movie caricatures about conspiracies, initiating branching dialogues that could change the adventure's entire narrative direction. Michael Thornton today lives happily in the memories of the few who played and enjoyed Alpha Protocol, and can rest easy knowing that he starred in one of the most reactive RPG storylines around. He still looks really silly when you leave him hanging in the middle of a conversation choice.
Alpha Protocol is just £2.50 / $3.75 this week - a price point that should make it easy to overlook the dodgy action bits and enjoy the dialogue and decision-making. There's a choice of combat styles, and I'd recommend going down the extremely powerful stealth pistols skill tree. That'll let you breeze through the action scenes without too much swearing. Here is a video, so you know what you're in for.
If, like me, you've been waiting for a video to clue you in on how South Park: The Stick of Truth actually plays, you've finally found it. I've been a bit confused by this game up until now - it was difficult to tell if previous videos were comprised of gameplay footage or just 'gameplay footage' - but it seems Obsidian have really nailed the look of the show, at least in its high-definition, not-hugely-funny-anymore current iteration. You'll want to read Tom's hands-on preview for a proper impression of the game, but stick around for the following thirteen minutes, which show what the game involves between cutscenes and turn-based JRPG-style battles. It's all quite exciting really, and it makes me long for a Futurama game to be given the same sort of painstaking treatment.
Update 72 of Pillars of Eternity's regularly updated Kickstarter development blog has a statement from "newest producer" Rose Gomez saying Obsidian are "looking good to release Eternity by Winter 2014". It seems so far away, but the cold season is a good time to settle into a massive, sumptuous RPG.
We're quite excited about Eternity. We spent ten minutes yesterday crowded around a screen looking at the reassuringly detailed map, pointing at places like the "Lake of Drowned Tombs" and "Fort Bonepicker" and saying "I'm going to explore the hell out of that". Obsidian have been dropping occasional screenshots into their Kickstarter update feed to provide a sense of how the old ruins and murky dungeons will look in the final game. Click on each environment, and imagine tiny fantasy warriors moving around like magical figurines. If you have some old dice nearby, give them a roll, just to get in the mood.
Obsidian's Kickstarted RPG will miss its projected April release date, giving us more time to figure out whether 'eternal' pillars would really be such a good thing – I mean, you'd never be able to see what was on the ceiling. The return to The Good Old Days of stat sheets and isometric viewpoints will have to wait a few months more – and the reason? You lot gave them too much money. 'April' was Obisidian's guess when they were asking for a paltry one million simoleons, but after raising four times as much and expanding the scope of the project to match, they've pushed that vague date back to an even vaguer Sometime Late This Year.
The character sheet tells you pretty much all you need to know about an RPG. Is it riddled with acronyms such as ATK, DEF, LCK, ABC or XYZ? Does it list your character's Active Effects, their class, even their biography? Most importantly, does it feature a cool portrait of them looking all haughty/moody/demented? If the answer is no, there's a good chance you're playing Mass Effect 2. If the answer is yes, however, you're likely playing an old-fashioned RPG such as Pillars of Eternity, which is weird as it's nowhere near finished. Obsidian's latest blog update offers a work-in-progress glimpse of its beautiful character sheet, along with a big old environmental screenshot of an ancient Engwithan ruin near the city of Twin Elms. Look at it up there - you just know some giant fight is going to break out at some point.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to notice the titular connection between Project Eternity, and the old Infinity Engine that was the inspiration for Obsidian's nostalgic RPG. Embarrassing, at least, if it weren't for the fact that by pointing this out, I'll cause someone new to go "oh yeah," and feel a little bit dim. Once that feeling has passed, dismiss that old name. This Baldur's Gate/Infinity Engine spiritual successor is now called Pillars of Eternity. To cement this title in your memory, there's even a new trailer.
Those silver metal briefcases you see secret agents using in movies are cool. Walking away from explosions as if you’ve seen a million of them is cool. Destroying your enemies and slipping away scot-free is cool. You can find all of that combined cool in Briefcase Bombs, a mod for Fallout: New Vegas, which lets you build timed charges into briefcases, plop them at the feet of your enemies, set the timer, and then stroll casually away. Boom.
After a long battle with delays and a crumbling publisher, South Park: The Stick of Truth will finally complete its poop-stained trail to our PCs on December 10 in North America and December 12 in Europe.
Few game genres do dramatic irony better than the isometric RPG. Look at those stupid masked foes on the right side of that wooden door above: they don't know they're about to get slaughtered but you, the slaughterer, have already calculated exactly what potions and power ups you'll use to rain instant death upon their sorry heads.
The folks at Obsidian Entertainment might be swimming in gold pieces after their successful Kickstarter, but luckily for us, Project Director Josh Sawyer had enough time to dry himself off and answer a few burning questions in a Project Eternity Q&A held by RPG Codex.
Details on Obsidian's Project Eternity have been coming along at a trickle since the end of the Kickstarter last October. A set of leaked screens have appeared via German site GameStar.de. Keep in mind, these are leaked, and the game is still several months away, so what you see here isn't necessarily representative of what you'll play.
I still don't know where the cutscenes end and the gameplay (if any) begins in these South Park: The Stick of Truth trailers, but I'm relieved that the game still lives after all that unpleasantness with THQ. The show might be long past its prime, but it's still kinda funny to see Randy fart on a small boy (presumably the hero) while imparting "ancient and mystic attacks".
When they're not finding major success on Kickstarter, creating the first ever promising South Park game, or having their projects pulled out from under them, Obsidian somehow find the time to start work on new games, in this case a title for the next generation of consoles - also known as the current/future/always gen of PC. What do we know about it? *Sad trombone noise*. BUT it appears to be a game with "missions/quests, scripted sequences, encounters, challenges and rewards", as revealed in a couple of job listings.
Obsidian has released the first in-game footage for Project Eternity, demonstrating how the engine will feature dynamic elements such as lighting, weather, water and wind in a 2D engine. Those features aren't easy when you're dealing with otherwise static 2D assets, but the wizards at Obsidian have it sorted.
The big buzz around, and apparent main focus of, Obsidian, lately, has been the wildly-successfully-crowd-funded Project Eternity. That's not all they're up to, however, with the delayed South Park: The Stick of Truth still brewing somewhere in the studio. And, as CEO Feargus Urquhart revealed in an interview with RPS, they've had at least one more project of similar size contracted since late last year.
“I would say it’s within the top three pitches we’ve ever come up with,” Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told RPS, describing Obsidian's pitch for a new game set between the end of the recent trilogy and the start of A New Hope.
"We think that timeframe is super interesting," he added. "It’s the fall of the Republic, the extermination of the Jedi, it’s Obi-Wan going off and making sure Luke is OK. You have the Sith, but you have the extermination of all Force users except for very, very few. So it was an interesting time to set a game, and you know, Chris Avellone came up with a really cool story.”