Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive announced today that a console version of 2015's Pillars of Eternity will launch for Playstation 4 and Xbox One on August 29th. Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition will come bundled with all post-launch content, including the DLC expansion packs The White March Parts I and II.
We liked Pillars of Eternity quite a bit when it initially released for PC, though we found some of the game mechanics either poorly explained or vaguely esoteric. Since the launch of that game, it's seen a great number of balance patches and updates to tweak and improve the core gameplay and even make the UI more intuitive with respect to passive and active abilities. The UI for Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition is further refined to both accommodate a larger television screen as well as work in tandem with using a controller. A list of developer provided tweaks for the complete edition is listed below:
Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition features:
•Award-winning writing, story and artwork of Pillars of Eternity, along with the expanded world and content of The White March: Parts I & II
•Countless character creation options, from races and classes to character backgrounds which drive your personal story
•An epic universe to explore, filled with intriguing party members and companions, a variety of in-game factions, and a lovingly rendered world to traverse
•All major updates from the original PC version, including a raised level cap, expanded party AI options, and new difficulty levels
•New UI and controls designed from the ground up, presenting the Pillars of Eternity experience like never before
We've seen a few isometric style rpgs get console releases in recent years, including Torment: Tides of Numenera and Divinity: Original Sin. The key difference is that Pillars is a game focused on real-time with pause and not turn based, so the developers needed to make some key adjustments to ensure that controller inputs could be made quickly and accurately in order to provide the sort of quick response feedback needed for any given combat encounter.
I had the chance to play Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition at E3 2017 and try out the console controls for myself, and I found them surprisingly intuitive. However, there was still a little bit of a learning curve to getting used to playing an isometric style game without a mouse cursor present. A button toggle will give the player access to a cursor which can be moved with a joystick, but a more efficient way to control Pillars involved using the revamped UI tools at hand specific for this console release.
For instance, instead of selecting skills and abilities from the lower left of the screen using numerical keyboard inputs, a radial menu can be brought up with the right trigger (or R2) to select each character's abilities from an abbreviated list. Using the left trigger will open up a similar radial menu, each leading to information screens such as your journal, character sheets, and inventory screens. In each of the menus or in combat itself, the left and right bumpers will swap your active character so that you only need to go into the menu once for each. Pressing both will select the entire party, which is what you'll likely be doing whenever a map is being explored for the first time.
As a real time with pause style of RPG, being able to stop and start the action at any time is paramount, so pausing is mapped to a face button, while the speed of the game can be altered with a D-Pad. Fast mode is useful for exploring an area where the enemies have already been defeated for a second pass in gathering loot, while slow mode is more suited for making quick decisions in a combat scenario. While I couldn't see the exact extent to which these controls or pause options were customizable, the developers made it clear that there are multiple options available for deciding when the game pauses and setting control preferences.
We're excited to try out Pillars of Eternity Complete Edition when in launches this summer. It will serve as a nice refresher of the world of Eora before we dive back in early next year with Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.