Companion Stories Have Multiple Endings in Pillars of Eternity

Choice and consequence is an element the folks at Obsidian describe as a core feature of Pillars of Eternity, and in the latest developer update, we get a good idea of the far-reaching ramifications our choices will have.

Lead Narrative Designer Eric Fenstermaker provides the latest news on the crowdfunded RPG, revealing that each companion we bring along for the ride in Pillars of Eternity will have their own individual story arc. Each of those companion stories will have multiple end points, and which ending that story falls upon will be directly determined by player choices.

“It’s common in most types of fiction for major characters (or the protagonist at the very least) to follow an arc, in which their character begins a certain way and ends up being changed by the events of the story, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse,” Fenstermaker¬† states. “But for a video game, that’s not really taking advantage of the medium. This is a story about the player’s character, told by the player’s actions. It stands to reason that the ways in which a companion would change should be dependent on what the player does.”

Terrific addition. We’ve seen companion story arcs with multiple endings before, most notably in Mass Effect and Obsidian’s own Fallout: New Vegas. Knowing choices have real impacts on followers has a huge impact on the role playing experience.

Also of note in the latest Pillars update, Fenstermaker explains Obsidian’s new spin on the undead. This is the point where I’d normally offer a neat synopsis, but I think Fenstermaker does a fine job with his full explanation:

Let’s say you are a wealthy noble who would like to cheat death. There are a variety of options at your disposal, but this offer from a shady animancer sounds the most painless. All he is going to do is bind your soul to your body, so that way when you die, your soul stays put and you still retain all your motor control.

Sign me up, you say. Suck on this, death! The animancer sets up some bizarre tools and machines, has you hold onto some copper wires, and before you know it the whole thing is over. He leaves and takes his fee. A few years later you die in a horrific skiing accident. Not to worry! Your soul isn’t going anywhere. You are living large, my friend. But here’s the thing. Your soul isn’t going anywhere, but your body is. It starts to decompose. Slowly at first. A maggot here, a maggot there. And you are starting to get weird cravings, kind of like a pregnant woman, but instead of peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, you could really go for some human flesh.

So you eat some guys. And lo and behold, the decomposition stops! You’re cured! Except that after a while, you start to rot again. Over time, you find that eating folks and absorbing the essence from their flesh is the only way to stop decomposition. But after a while you run out of neighbor kids and it gets harder and harder to track down a meal. Flesh is dropping off in chunks. And it feels like your IQ has fallen a few points, like that time you used to live next to that industrial solvent factory. In time, your mind goes as well as your body. You become feral, then near-vegetative, then purely mechanical – your body nothing more than a fleshless marionette.

Yeah, I think I’m going to enjoy Pillars of Eternity.

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