Get your pirate on with Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire | PAX East 2018 preview

Credit: Obsidian Entertainment
Credit: Obsidian Entertainment /

We hit the high seas at PAX East 2018 during our demo of Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, the upcoming sequel to Obsidian’s high-fantasy CRPG.

Admittedly, Pillars of Eternity is one of those games that have been sitting in my backlog for quite some time now. The party-based “real-time-with-pause” tactical gameplay takes me right back to the old days of playing Baldur’s Gate for hours on end. This is a game I keep telling myself I really need to play. After playing a demo build of Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, the upcoming sequel to Obsidian’s hit RPG, I now realize how badly I need to get into this series ASAP.

At PAX East 2018, I met up with Pillars of Eternity 2‘s narrative designer Carrie Patel to discuss the game’s upcoming new sequel, what’s changed between the two games, and of course, get a hands-on preview with a demo build. Deadfire is a direct sequel to the first title: players control the Watcher, who travels to the Deadfire islands to pursue the reawakened and destructive god Eothas.

The story kicks off five years after the end of the first Pillars of Eternity game. Player’s decisions from the first game do affect the storyline and gameplay of this sequel. The main characters and companions from the first game also return, along with some new companions and sidekicks. As expected, your relationships with these other characters depend on the choices you make in your playthrough. There are some in-game catch-up mechanics for newcomers, but from what I can tell, new players will definitely want to play the first game and its expansions prior to this sequel.

One of more notable features coming to Deadfire is the ship exploration system. The game features more open world exploration that the first game, which is accomplished via your new boat stronghold. Your ship acts as your main hub throughout the game and is a focal point of Pillars of Eternity 2Deadfire brings high-fantasy pirate play right into the Pillars of Eternity universe, including exploring uncharted islands, hiring crews, looting and plundering ships and treasure, and, of course, ship combat and boarding action.

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Credit: Obsidian Entertainment /

The class-based combat system from the first game does make its return: you do have to fight on land too! The class system does come with one major enhancement though. The option of creating a multiclass character now exists during character creation. This adds additional flexibility in your character’s skills and abilities as well as some challenges since you won’t have access to higher level abilities in an individual skill tree until later in the game.

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Multiclassing also adds some interesting replayability potential to Deadfire due to the sheer number of combinations you can now choose for your character on top of an already intense customization system. I think I spent a solid ten minutes of the demo just looking at all of the different character options available for me to choose from.

After playing a demo build of Deadfire at PAX East 2018, it’s safe to say that Obsidian has crafted an extremely well-polished sequel to Pillars of Eternity. The sequel stays true to the successful aspects of the first game and adds some interesting new concepts. The only tough sell is that you really should play the first game and its expansions before diving into Deadfire, which could take upwards of 90 to 100 hours. I guess I better start it up then!

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Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is set to launch on PC on May 8, 2018.