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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 11:57am 12/11/19 | 1 Comments
Which is a shame because we absolutely adored Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, with our review calling it one of the best RPGs in years. So then, why low sales compared to the original? Well Game Director Josh Sawyer broke it down as part of a Tumblr Ask Me Anything.

Here's his response.
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.

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 really 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 IMO Pillars 1′s review scores benefited from a nostalgia bump.)

It's a fascinating insight into the post-release mindset of a developer, where a brilliant game failed to find a large audience. It highlights the confusion and second guessing that can come from the creative process when sales and marketing and all that stuff doesn't add up. Interestingly he feels that the low sales of Deadfire would mean that a Pillars of Eternity III would need to address the game's faults - whatever they might be.
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.

Here's hoping that with the financial backing of Microsoft, Obsidian can continue creating classic isometric RPGs like Pillars for many years to come.


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Latest Comments
Posted 03:15pm 13/11/19
I can say that for me the utterly uninspiring first ten hours I put into Pillars of Eternity turned me off the rest of the game and the sequel.
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