Obsidian has to re-examine the entire format of Pillars of Eternity before a third game could be developed.
On Friday, Josh Sawyer, the design director of Obsidian, got a question on Tumblr: „Will there be a Pillars [of Eternity] 3?” Sawyer posted a detailed response to the question, which we will quote:
„That is not something that I get to decide, but I do think that the relatively low sales of [Pillars of Eternity II:] Deadfire mean that if we consider making another Pillars game in this style, we’re going to have to re-examine the entire format of the game. It is difficult to know exactly why a sequel sells worse than its predecessor if both games review relatively well. Is it because the first game satisfied the existing need and the audience just wasn’t interested in the second? Is it because awareness was lower for the sequel? Is it because despite the strong reviews and the strong sales for the first game, people didn’t “really” like it? Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things.
The problem is that without really understanding the reason(s), it’s hard to know how to move forward. It would be easier in some ways if Deadfire were also a colossal critical failure and we could point to the massive screw-ups that we needed to address. Players did criticize the low difficulty at launch and the main plot, which I think are fair and reasonable, but those problems alone don’t explain the difference in sales. And while player reviews were weaker for Deadfire than for Pillars 1, professional criticism tended to say that Deadfire was an improvement over the first game in most areas. (Yes, Deadfire has an 88 Metacritic and Pillars 1 has an 89 Metacritic, but in my opinion, Pillars 1′s review scores benefited from a nostalgia bump.)
Players who hate RTwP [RTwP stands for real-time with pause – the ed.] combat will say that it’s because Deadfire continued using RTwP combat, in contrast to the phenomenally better-selling (and better-reviewed) turn-based Divinity: Original Sin 2. Even if that’s true, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which generally had lower review scores than Deadfire, sold better than Deadfire and had RTwP combat. I’m sure some of the people reading this think they know precisely why Deadfire sold worse than Pillars 1. I don’t have that confidence, which is one of several reasons why I am leery about trying to direct a sequel. I couldn’t give our (Obsidian’s) audience the game that they wanted and without understanding where I went wrong, I would be guessing at what the problems are and how to remedy them,” Sawyer wrote.
Later, he responded to a few more things people have brought up on Twitter: „Other reasons people have suggested Deadfire sold worse than Pillars 1: people don’t buy direct sequels (I don’t know if I if buy that since Baldur’s Gate II, Mass Effect 2, and other RPGs feature direct sequels); 2D art just isn’t appealing to some people (possible, but Deadfire looks way better than PoE1 in my opinion).”
It’s possible that if Pillars of Eternity 3 happens (now under the ownership of Microsoft), it could be a 3D RPG, which would potentially split the community even more, and that could have an impact on the sales, too…
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