Update by Darren Monahan, Operations Guy and Rose Gomez, Associate Producer
As you may have seen in our previous backer update, Update #88: Final Sprint and… Release Date!, we’ve announced our launch date. Spoiler Alert: It’s March 26th, 2015! Our physical goods have all now been finalized and produced, save the final discs themselves, so we’re getting ready to package everything up.
Physical Backer? Read me!
We believe the old school experience is to have all of your physical goods on or near the day a game is launched. You should be able to take out your Collector’s Edition Guidebook, unfold your cloth map, roll out your new mousepad, and enjoy it all at the same time you are playing the game.
We believe you feel the same way we do! In order for us to have the best chance possible of getting everything completed by manufacturing and shipped so you have your rewards by or near our launch date, we have to resolve a conflict that has arisen between our promise of a DRM free game, and the realities of how long manufacturing takes.
The realities of manufacturing require us to have a final game disc *now* in order to get it into the box with everything else. The game today isn’t the final game you’d play on March 26th. We’re continuing to fix bugs, make improvements, and polish the game.
“So… what are you trying to say here? Does this mean some kind of delay you’re prepping me for?”
Not at all. What we’re more concerned about is the non-final build being leaked before you, the backers, are able to play it. It’s an unfortunate part of our business; many games get leaked after they leave the developers hands.
If it’s leaked early, it hurts everyone, both in the short and long term. It hurts you, the backers, who have waited with immense patience for the game, and you should be the first folks to get to play it. It hurts those who play an incomplete version of the game; that hurts us as a developer, which in turn hurts us as a business, and what may become of future projects.
Normally for our other games, like South Park: The Stick of Truth, we package up a pre-load version that makes installation faster. Then, once it went live, any changes we made since that pre-load version and the final 1.0 version were patched onto your computer automatically. If we required every user of a physical disc version to use an auto-patch system, we feel we would fail on our promise of a true DRM free game.
So here is our conundrum. We have a real conflict between delivering a fully working DRM-free disc and meeting our manufacturing requirements to get you your physical rewards as near to March 26th as we can. This is a real concern, again, if a version of the game that really isn’t the final version is leaked onto the internet. The pledges backers like you put in to the game are not only at risk, it just plain sucks if lots of other people are playing the game you funded before you do. Obviously, we want the game to sell well enough so we can make more of them too, and an early leak of the disc concerns us enough that we’d like to share these concerns with you too and see what you think.
So, what can we do?
There are two things we feel we could do that would help mitigate these concerns:
We ship everything out except the game disc, which we then ship to you after finalizing the 1.0 version. Wait a minute, Darren. That sounds crazy. You’re going to ship me a game with NO DISC inside at first?!
Here’s why we think that’s good: Anyone who pledged to a physical reward tier will get a digital copy. You’ll be able to get a Steam or GOG.com key on our site and play the game at the same time as everyone else. You’d be able to take out your Collector’s Guidebook, your cloth map, your mousepad and enjoy all of it at the same you’re playing Pillars of Eternity.
Alternatively, we delay shipping everything out to you once we have the final 1.0 version ready. For some parts of the world, this could mean a delay of some real significance. Not just a week or two, but multiple weeks after it’s released.
While it’s rather unorthodox, we really prefer option #1, even though it is going to cost us more in shipping costs. We just think it will be more fun for everyone to be able to enjoy all of the game and its add-ons at the same time. However, you’ve backed this game, so we want to hear what you think.
Please share your thoughts on our official poll thread here.
What about me, the digital backer?
For those of you who are digital backers, you would not be affected by this at all – you’ll still get the choice of a Steam or GOG.com key on March 26th.
For anyone planning to buy the physical retail version (not the physical backer version), that one uses Steam, so it would also be patched up after connecting to Steam.
We’ll announce the results in a backer update next week.
We have started to get final versions of our backer rewards and we wanted to share some of our favorites with you.
Pillars of Eternity Collector's Book
As we've announced previously, we partnered with Dark Horse to bring you the Pillars of Eternity Collector's Book. Where the Prima Strategy Guide will be your go-to companion for all your walkthrough and strategy needs, the Collector's Book is there to satisfy the most hardcore lore enthusiasts. Whether your pledge included a physical copy or a digital copy, the Collector's Book is something we're sure you'll be happy with. We're very proud of it and we think Dark Horse did an amazing job bringing it to life. We'd like to share a sneak preview with you here.
The content of the book covers everything you would want to know about the world of Eora. Among the many informative chapters, you'll find detailed information on the people and gods, as well as the history of the Eastern Reach and recent events. There's even a detailed bestiary explaining the origins and habits of Eora's creatures.
Taken from the back of the book: "The Wheel of Berath spins endlessly, passing the souls of the vanquished through pillars of adra, the veins of the world, and giving them new life when they emerge again. With every journey's completion, another unfurls. With every danger averted, a new calamity looms. This is the world of Eora, where all life begins and ends at the Pillars of Eternity.
Pillars of Eternity Guidebook: Volume One paints in vivid detail the gods, monsters, cultures, factions, places, and histories of Pillars of Eternity - a definitive guide covering everything you need to know about this rich new setting, assembled by the acclaimed storytellers of Obsidian Entertainment."
Of the many digital-only backer rewards you'll be receiving, we'd like to present to you a few pages from the Almanac of the Eastern Reach, 2823 ai: For Colonists, Explorer, and Curiosity-Seekers. Inspired by classic games like Ultima V, we designed the Almanac as if it were written from within the game world. Our almanac happens to be penned by members of the Hand Occult.
Another lore heavy item, the Almanac contains a wealth of information. Folklore, major settlements and landmarks, local cultures, languages and expressions, a calendar of events, historical rainfall and planting dates and more can all be found within its pages.
One of our studio traditions is having cloth patches made for our games - largely perpetrated by Josh Sawyer himself. It seemed fitting to include patches as a reward for the Kickstarter.
Both the standard and elite patches are a very high quality. They're sew-on patches, and are extremely sturdy. They should stand up wonderfully to being sewn onto bags, jackets, and more. These are backer only items and come with tiers $140 and above.
Last update we mentioned that we'd be showing off the game at PAX South. If you missed the live stream and want to check out the presentation, head on over to Twitch.tv and enjoy. (And you can see Adam sporting another one of our backer rewards - the Pillars of Eternity t-shirt by J!NX clothing!)
Backer Beta: Now on Linux!
As of our last Backer Beta update we have released the Linux build. If you are a Linux user and have access to the Backer Beta you should give it a shot. Make sure to report any Linux issues you find in our official Backer Beta forums.