Obsidian is in the spotlight at the moment after releasing its first hit game in a good while. The Outer Worlds is the latest example of Obsidian's RPG expertise but there is another series that has been high on the studio's radar for a few years now- Pillars of Eternity. The first game sold very well and while its sequel had great reviews, sales were down. With that in mind, Obsidian is looking to re-examine the series before committing to a third game.
One of Obsidian's lead designers and game directors, Josh Sawyer, has been leading efforts on Pillars of Eternity since the first crowdfunding campaign. On his Tumblr recently, one fan asked if there would be a Pillars 3, to which he replied: “That is not something that I get to decide, but I do think that the relatively low sales of 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.”
Sawyer's answer goes on to expand on the sales aspect, writing that it is “difficult to know exactly why a sequel sells worse than its predecessor if both games review relatively well”. Without really knowing the root cause, it is more difficult to decide where to take the series next and give fans what they really want. With that in mind, Sawyer is “leery about trying to direct a sequel”.
In the meantime, Obsidian is going to benefit from more stable financial footing thanks to the Microsoft acquisition. The studio has always had its ups and downs over the years as an independent publisher, so now, the studio should be able to focus on its next big idea, whether that ends up being a new IP, a completely new format for Pillars of Eternity or a sequel to The Outer Worlds.
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KitGuru Says: Pillars of Eternity arrived on Kickstarter right in the middle of a big resurgence for CRPGs, with Divinity Original Sin and Wasteland 2 also getting a nice boost. Perhaps the audience size for the sequel just started to taper off by the time Deadfire released but like Sawyer says, that is just one guess out of many other possible causes. Would any of you like to see a Pillars of Eternity 3? Was there anything about the second game that you thought should be improved?