Nearly 10 years after it came out, Obsidian’s isometric RPG Pillars of Eternity gets a surprise update

Baldur’s Gate 3 is the big, world-changing isometric party-based RPG that everyone’s still talking about, but I’ve always felt that Pillars of Eternity is the game that really first started turning that engine over. The OG Infinity Engine vibes were strong, but it stood well on its own merits too: We called it “a deep, rich, and wonderfully written RPG that lives up to the towering legacy of the games that inspired it” in our 92% review

That was in 2015, mind, nearly a full decade ago, which is why it comes as a little bit of a surprise that developer Obsidian has released a brand new patch for the game that’s now available in the Pillars of Eternity beta branch on Steam.

The patch doesn’t add any new content but it does fix a large number of bugs and gameplay issues. There aren’t any full-scale game breakers in the list of fixes, but stuff like unexpected T-poses, troubles with audio triggers, slowness when skipping intros, and inaccessible areas in various scenes have all been cleared up.

One thing you won’t see in the patch are any of the new features added to the sequel, Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire. In response to one fan who asked for a turn-based mode, which was added to Pillars 2 in a post-launch update, Obsidian design director Josh Sawyer (via GamesRadar) suggested that tech limitations mean it’s not going to happen.

(Image credit: Josh Sawyer (Twitter))

So why is a nearly 10-year-old RPG getting a new patch? It’s possible that with Avowed, Obsidian’s upcoming first-person RPG set in the world of Pillars of Eternity, set to come out this year, the studio wants to make sure everything is tuned and tightened for newcomers who want to see where it all started. It’s also possible developers got bored over the holidays, although… well, no, that’s probably not it.

A few optimists put forward the hope that the patch might signal that the wheels are turning on Pillars of Eternity 3. Sawyer said last year that he’d like to do a third game, but only if he had a Baldur’s Gate 3-size budget to do it. He also said during a GDC roundtable that the first two Pillars games are “the most compromised” he’s ever worked on because crowdfunding backers wanted a very specific Infinity Engine-style experience, “and now I have a bunch of new ideas for how differently I would do it if I were doing it on my own”—that is, without being beholden to other people’s ideas or expectations.

Pillars of Eternity 3 doesn’t seem like quite the long shot it did even just a year ago. Baldur’s Gate 3 demonstrated emphatically that there’s still life left in the old genre, and with Obsidian now at least theoretically having access to Microsoft money, anything seems possible—after Avowed, of course.

Pillars is also apparently a favorite of a very important person on the Microsoft gaming front: Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently shared his Xbox Year in Review stats, revealing that he’s got 124 hours in the game, putting in the top 5% of the game’s most active players. 

Every minute was worth it. So fun to see this year’s Xbox Year in Review and look back at all the games I played in 2023. Let’s see your #XboxYearinReview 12, 2023

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To see the new Pillars of Eternity patch in action, right-click on the Pillars entry in your Steam library, select “Properties,” and then head to the “Betas” menu. Under “Beta participation,” choose “public_beta,” wait for the game to update, and you’re set. The full patch notes are below.


We have updated to Unity Version 2019.4.11.


Fixed areas that could not be navigated in numerous scenes.The lake in Cayron’s Scar should no longer be unintentionally traversable when submerged.

Visual and Audio:

Fixed multiple cases where characters might T-Pose briefly at the beginning of a cutscene.Fixed an issue where paperdolls in character creation and inventory screens might appear blurry.Overwhelming Wave should more reliably play its visual effects.Fixed VFX issues with the Woodskin spell rotating or attaching incorrectly.Symbols western chamber of Lle a Rhemen should now properly light up when expected.Fixed redundant horn audio playing after the battle of Yenwood.Fixed an issue where attempting to open locked containers could play multiple voice lines at once.Fixed a handful of cases where dialogue audio wouldn’t play when certain nodes were re-triggered.

Quests and Dialogue:

Ready the Cannons side quest should now properly update its objectives.Dialogue from Buried Secrets quest should no longer allow the player to demand their payment more than once.Fixed an issue where multiple barked lines in Gilded Vale could overlap excessively.Fixed an issue where Eder’s bark lines in the Temple of Eothas may end abruptly.Fixed a case where Calisca could trigger the wrong bark line near the camp inside Cilant Lîs.

Combat and Mechanics:

Earth Blights should no longer sometimes detach from their selection circles when dominated.Scroll of Ray of Fire should now appear correctly and more accurately match the behavior of the Ray of Fire spell.Fixed a case where manually resolving stronghold combat could sometimes yield no rewards.Fixed a case where prone characters might try to move while prone, resulting in sliding behavior.Concelhaut’s Draining Missiles should no longer occasionally show 0.0 damage in the combat log.Weapon Specialization: Peasant should now reliably add its damage to unarmed attacks.Fixed some cases where the Halt spell might confuse enemy AI, causing them to repeatedly interrupt and re-attempt their own actions.Removed errant untargetable Xaurip that could sometimes appear in Dyrford Crossing.Fixed a case where Sleafhota might teleport to an alternate location mid-dialogue before attacking the player.Attacking Osrya directly will now reliably engage with her revenant and skeleton minions.Fixed a case where all survival camping bonuses might appear after spending only a single skill rank on Survival.

User Interface and Interaction:

Fixed a UI issue where chants could sometimes clip beyond their scrolling frame.Fixed a case where the damage type icon on the character sheet might not position correctly.Fixed some cases where assigning companions to multiple stronghold missions at once might cause UI issues.Quick loading with the crafting or enchanting UI open should no longer result in a permanent black screen.Fixed a typo in the description of Animal Companions.Fixed an issue where highlighting certain parts of a defeated enemy would not allow you to loot them.Doors in some scenes that were difficult to interact with have had their collision revised and should now be more reliable.Fixed a case where the final pressure plate in the Temple of Woedica would not appear.Examining the wall trophy inside of Elm’s Reach should now be possible.Skipping intros when first starting the client should now be more responsive.

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