Obsidian Entertainment have just announced that Versus Evil will publish their upcoming RPG Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the sequel to their very well received crowdfunded RPG made as an update to the classic "Real-Time with Pause" PC RPGs such as Baldur's Gate.
This is excellent news certainly, but Obsidian's last two RPGs - Pillars of Eternity 1 and Tyranny - were published by Paradox Interactive. This begs the question - why are Paradox not publishing Pillars of Eternity 2?
Firstly, the good news then: Versus Evil and Obsidian are joining up to release Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire in Early 2018, and both sides are happy about this.
Steve Escalante, General Manager of Versus Evil, says, "we couldn’t be happier to work with their team and their community in supporting Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. The sequel builds on the massive critical success of the first game and will be one of the premier RPGs to launch in 2018."
Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart also says, "We are thrilled to be working with the team at Versus Evil. We know that Steve and his team will treat Deadfire right and help us make it the game that our incredible fans and generous backers expect and deserve."
While it's in digital that Pillars 2 will see most of its sales, it's good to see they have publisher support to help with marketing and the launch of the game. Versus Evil also published the likes of The Banner Saga and Armikrog, so they're definitely supporters of crowd-funded games. So it's good news all round, certainly.
But we definitely have to question why Paradox Interactive are not publishing Pillars of Eternity 2, especially as the first did well. We asked for comment from both Obsidian and Paradox and received a general "no comment", but Paradox did remind us that Pillars of Eternity as an IP is 100% owned by Obsidian.
So we can only speculate, but it probably has to do with the sales of Tyranny and the comments made by Paradox's Shams Jorjani, Paradox’s vice president of business development, and CEO Fred Wester. They were hugely positive about Tyranny and Obsidian, but they admitted that it didn't meet their sales expectations and that, perhaps, this type of RPG wasn't wanted anymore. Jorjani said:
"We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at Wasteland, Torment - they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak
It's clear the split between Obsidian and Paradox is mutual and neither parties are worse off for it, and clearly they enjoyed working together at the time. We're all very happy that Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire has got a good publisher in Versus Evil, and we're looking forward to the game when it comes out Early 2018. But it's hard not to speculate with something like this.
What do you think folks? What's the reason between the Obsidian/Paradox split, in your opinion? Or do you not care and are just excited about Pillars 2? All good, let us know in the comments!