The two Pillars of Eternity games, both the original and its sequel Deadfire, reviewed well and have fans. Unfortunately, a third game in Obsidian’s series doesn’t look likely anytime soon. The sequel suffered from low sales, and at the time director Josh Sawyer said that making another one would require a major re-examination of the series. Now, Sawyer has touched on the subject again, and it’s still sounding unlikely.
In a Tumblr response to a fan, who has been playing and loving the games during the pandemic, Sawyer said that he and the rest of the team at Obsidian are pleased that the games have fans–but this isn’t necessarily the issue. “I don’t think the fans need to convince me/Obsidian/MS of anything,” Sawyer says, referring to Obsidian owner Microsoft.
“I think that we need to believe that if we try to make a game in this style again, the existing fans will enjoy it, new players will enjoy it, and ex-fans who were disappointed by Pillars 1 and/or 2 will come back to it,” Sawyer adds. But the main issues is that the developers would “need to be excited about making it,” and right now there’s not a lot of excitement around it.
“Even devs who really enjoy working in the Pillars universe were burned out after the end of Deadfire, especially if they went on to work on the DLCs,” Sawyer explained. “To put in all of that work and have the game limp over the finish line, sales-wise, doesn’t get people jazzed up about rolling on to a sequel.”
He doesn’t totally close the door on a third game, but it sounds like if it happens, it won’t be for a long time.
Obsidian’s latest game is Grounded, out now on Early Access on Steam and Xbox One. In our early access review, Joab Gilroy says that the game is coming along, but isn’t there yet. “Like a balsa wood airplane, Grounded sits at the outstretched tension point of a strong rubber band,” he writes. “It is pure, unadulterated potential energy, and all we can do is sit back and wait to see if that rubber band snaps or if the game achieves take off. I think it’s gonna fly.”