Obsidian Entertainment unveiled Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the follow-up to the successful first entry in the franchise. A god has possessed a stone titan lying beneath the player’s castle, causing it to suddenly burst from the ground and start wreaking havoc, and so the adventure is off to a jarring and exciting start. Terrifying rock monsters aside, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is hoping to break new ground by creating frankly revolutionary living video game cities.

Part of what made the original Pillars of Eternity so special was the way in which your character interacted with the various non-player characters (NPCs) you would encounter. Everything you put into your character, be it your combat stats or decisions you make, can have an impact on your relationships. If you’re mean to someone, for example, their friend might give you a hard time further down the line when you’re not expecting it. This can lead to some pretty dramatic consequences.

'Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire'
'Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire' takes you back to the PC RPGS of yore. 

Obsidian is looking to expand on that mechanic with what they describe as “living, breathing cities.” Not only will characters hold onto grudges or remember good deeds, regular citizens will have individual lives of their own. They’ll flit freely around the city, going to jobs and taking care of families. This also means that perhaps that NPC you need to hunt down for a quest won’t just be standing in one spot, idly waiting for you to discover them. If the person is out and about, you might need to ask neighbors for information, or strike up a deal with someone who knows something.

It’s a subtle touch, but an innovative mechanic that could have a big impact on how video game stories are told. Pillars of Eternity II isn’t the first game to dabble with NPCs having lives of their own, but it sounds like the sheer scale is breaking new ground. Plus, there’s no telling exactly how autonomous they’ll really be at this point.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Fig with a goal of $1.1 million. Fig caters specifically to video games and combines incentivized crowdfunding and investing. While still fairly young, many big names in gaming have taken to the platform. If funded, expect Pillars of Eternity II to release on PC and Mac in early 2018.

'Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire'
There's plenty to explore on the Deadfire archipelago. 
Photos via Obsidian Entertainment, Obsidian Entertainment