The Irvine-based developer was founded in 2003 by a number of key people that have defined the RPG genre during the 90s, with games such as Baldur's Gate, Fallout, and Icewind Dale.
Over the last two decades, Obsidian has delivered many beloved classics of the genre, including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Fallout: New Vegas.
They are also the main factor credited for the renaissance of classic RPGs in the previous decade, as they have revived the isometric cRPG genre with Pillars of Eternity, which was funded via Kickstarter in 2012, and released in 2015.
The Pillars of Eternity was a huge success, and a sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, was released in May 2018.
And now, backed by Microsoft, who bought them in 2018, they are making another game set in the world of Pillars of Eternity, but of a much bigger scale and ambitions.
Let's check out everything that we currently know about Avowed.
Is this Pillars of Eternity 3? Avowed's story and setting
While this is not a direct sequel to Pillars of Eternity, both PoE games and Avowed are set in the same world of Eora.
The gods are really important in the Pillars of Eternity universe, and we've seen in the Avowed trailer some familiar gods (the banner seen in the Avowed trailer is related to Woedica).
Woedica is also known as "Oathbinder", and she is the one responsible for shaping the world of Eora, but other gods conspired against her and killed her as she was becoming too powerful.
Given that Woedica is one of the deities of particular importance in the Empire of Aedyr, that might be the location of Avowed or at least one of the locations. Currently, a popular rumour swirling around is that Avowed is a prequel to Pillars of Eternity games, set in a distant past.
Observant Redditors were able to decipher the runes engraved on the sword in the trailer, and according to u/taclane, the sword's name is Oathbinder, further proof that Woedica will be an essential aspect of the story.
Unlike Pillars of Eternity games, Avowed will not be an isometric cRPG; rather, it will be a first-person RPG.
Other than that, we don't have many details about the gameplay. There are rumours that the game will be rather similar to Skyrim, and some job listings posted by Obsidian in 2019 might give us more clues about combat.
They mention things like "experience developing first-person ranged combat" and "experience animating first-person and third-person melee combat." There are also mentions of "branching dialogue" and "day/night cycles", but these are more or less standard things you would expect in RPGs.
Some players think that the combat seen in the teaser trailer looks rather similar to the spellcasting system seen in Arx Fatalis, where players use controls to drawn runes in mid-air in order to cast a spell, but this is just speculation.
Avowed release date and platforms
The exact release date is but speculation at this point, but our guess is that we can expect Avowed to be released in late 2023.
When it comes to platforms, Avowed is coming to Xbox Series X|S and PC, as well as Xbox Game Pass on Day 1.
As with all first-party Microsoft studios, the game will not be released on PlayStation 5 or other consoles.
Avowed leaks and rumours
Given that we have very little information about the game at this point, a number of people claiming to be Obsidian/Microsoft insiders have posted their supposed "inside" information about the current state of the game.
A member of the Resetera forum that goes by the name Sponger, who claims to be a well-informed Microsoft insider, posted these details about the game back in 2020:
- Fully open-world, much much larger than Skyrim (very differently "larger", more proper word would be “denser” and “more contrasted” at the same time)
- Primarily set in The Living Lands region of Eora (not sure if it’ll go like that as explicit later on, but that was a starting point)
- Big focus on world-reactivity, lighting and next-gen AI systems and physics (special focus on physics with magic systems - have no clue what would that mean)
- Realtime weather system (don’t have full details, but fog is very important as a real-time element, rivers will have specific microphysics systems regarding this)
- Very advanced character creation tool (didn’t get more info)
- Mod support (for now, PC is/will be very dominant as a creation tool, but I’ll be playable fully on Xbox)
- A very large number of fractions but a very different approach than with Skyrim
- You’ll be able to have companions (different than Outer Worlds)
- Story set: fight against the incoming threat of tyranny (independent from previous stories)
- The game has bosses planned, and some of them are very, very large
- Gods will have a special say in the game
- Great focus on iconic landmarks, statues and buildings
- Two large cities planned with many smaller ones with a strong focus on contrasting wild-areas, rivers, mountains and desolated areas (yes, you’ll be able to swim)
- Fully respecting POE creatures lore with new additions
- Dynamic presentation of dialogue
- For now the idea is to keep the “you can kill everyone in the game” option
- Around 100 people are on the project for 2y (a smaller number for 7m of preproduction), in total 2y 7m
- Full production is already a thing
- The team will still grow
- Target date: late 2022/early 2023
Of course, take everything listed here with a huge grain of salt, as it's all just a rumour, coming from someone who can not prove from where did he get this information.
And for now, that's about everything we know about Avowed. It's not much, but it's more than enough to keep us excited about the next AAA RPG coming from the experts when it comes to crafting excellent RPG games.
Don't forget to check out our general video games section for industry news, guides, and much more.