Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire features real-time pausable combat, but some RPG enthusiasts maintain a preference for turn-based battles. A free update coming later this week will give them the option.
Game director Josh Sawyer said in a video posted by Shacknews that the idea for a turn-based mode came from system designer Nick Carver, who worked with programmer Brian Mackintosh to make it happen. He also emphasized that the mode changes the game dramatically "for people who aren't quite as enthusiastic about the pacing of a real-time with pause combat system."
"The turn-based mode slows everything down. It's a very, very tactical mode of play. It highlights some abilities and debuffs and things like that, that aren't necessarily as highlighted in the real-time with pause combat system. And it's really a lot of fun," Sawyer says in the video.
"When you enable it, it means that all of the combat is in turn-based mode. Each character in a combat takes a turn in order of initiative—that means that one of your characters will go, maybe another one of your characters will go, and enemy will go, and so on. The important thing is that each character is acting independently of all the other characters, so you can take your time, you can plan out how you move, and how you use abilities with as much time as you want. It really makes the tactical combat much more deliberate."
The turn-based mode will be part of the upcoming 4.1 patch, and will initially be a beta so Obsidian can collect feedback and tune it up as required. You'll need to start a new game if you want to try it, and you will not be able to switch back and forth between real-time with pause and turn-based. The new mode "very fundamentally" changes the way Pillars of Eternity 2 plays, Sawyer said, so you'll choose one or the other at the beginning of the game and then stick with it for the duration.
The turn-based combat option is slated to come to Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire on January 24.