Since its January reveal, Obsidian has been steadily drip-feeding new information about Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire and its new nautical-leaning setting. At E3 last week, this led to an extended walkthrough of its new open-world map, improved visuals and adjusted combat.
Speaking to Kotaku about its seafaring setting, the game's executive producer and lead programmer Adam Brennecke explained that, like every single game at this year's E3, PoE 2 will include pirates whom you can recruit to your new ship headquarters if you so choose.
"There haven't really been a lot of hurdles," says Brennecke when asked about the game's development so far. "Something we've been reworking and working on quite a bit now is the ship. We want to make sure that it's integrated into the game. We want to make sure that it's not just something you don't really have to deal with, or if you do have to deal with, it's not a pain in the butt.
"We want to make sure the ship and all the roles that the ship have fit in with the story and fit in with the rest of the game. So we've been working on that since the Fig campaign pretty hardcore. And we have a really really cool crew system that we've been working on, and ship-to-ship combat and stuff like that… you have a ship crew. You have to go around and recruit pirates and other sailors. They have roles to play on your ship."
Interviewer Jason Schreier compares this idea of high seas recruitment to classic PlayStation RPG series Suikoden, specifically its fourth outing which also used a ship as a mobile HQ. This game, as Schreier notes, is arguably the weakest of the series but I personally found this down to the wider game's narrative and tedious random encounters. On board, I found Suikoden 4 to be great fun—if Pillars of Eternity 2 can replicate something similar I'm all for it.
As for ship-to-ship combat, Brennecke adds: "We're taking advantage of our scripted interactions… it's the text, the storybook moments. It will play out like that. However, if you get close enough you can ram the other ship and then take it over and board it. And then it goes into actual gameplay."