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Essays 03 June 2021, 20:00

author: Karol Laska

Best RPG Series That Aren't Coming Back Any Time Soon

Many RPGs deserved proper follow-ups, yet they have been sitting on the shelf with poor prospects for the future for years. Here is a sad reminder of the great role-playing games that are unlikely to be revived any time soon.

{/ramkaczerwona}

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

  1. RPG type: isometric
  2. Released in: 2001
  3. Developer: Troika Games

Doesn't the Arcanum subtitle sound graceful? Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura... The game itself lives up to the refined and pleasing sound of the title. It coincides with the RPG landscape of that time, touching upon a very interesting plot motif, which is the war between the old and the new, the conflict between magic, fading into oblivion and slowly replaced by technology.

The Troika Games studio responsible for this production realized that they had done a great job, but by no means did they want to stop. They planned a sequel – a 3D version, inspired by such hits as Half-Life and Deus Ex. And while it all sounded very ambitious and extremely tasty, reality proved ruthless again and the company went bankrupt. Nevertheless, Arcanum still deserves a place in our memory and we encourage you to have a look at this production, because it is a classic RPG paradise. However, as far as the future of the series is concerned... there's just no future and it's hard to argue with this.

Pillars of Eternity III: Deadfire

  1. RPG type: isometric, Baldur-inspired
  2. Released in: 2018
  3. Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

While the isometric RPGs we've already covered can undeniably be considered genre classics and a certain quality benchmark, it's hardly a revelation to say that throughout the remainder of the 21st century, video games have drifted away from the standards set by these titles. The isometric projection was replaced by third or first-person perspectives, and all Baldur-like productions were deemed archaic. This new trend has been in place for years and it kept dividing the players until 2015, the year which turned out to be the key turning point for the roleplayers thanks to the release of Pillars of Eternity. It not only saved Obsidian Entertainment (which dealt with severe structural and financial problems at that time), but also showed that the market still allows some space for isometric RPGs created in accordance with the "old school ideas".

The enthusiasm of the developers (as well as that of the whole industry) was fully justified, so following the "carpe diem" maxim, the second instalment was published: Deadfire. Let's be honest – it didn't differ much from the previous game in terms of quality, although it did in fact aim at a slightly different atmosphere – a typical medieval fantasy was replaced with a characteristic pirate entourage. Nevertheless, it sold much worse, and who knows, maybe what led to this was an artistic decision (or just players quickly getting tired of that formula – not at all unlikely).

Therefore, it seems very unlikely that anyone will decide to work on a third part – especially since the studio is clearly focusing on first-person titles now. In 2019, the retro-futuristic The Outer Worlds received a very warm welcome. Avowed is supposed to be the last Obsidian project, and promotional materials make it look like a Skyrim sequel that has never come into being. Who would think about Pillars of Eternity III at a time like this?

Tyranny

  1. RPG type: isometric, Baldur-inspired
  2. Released in: 2016
  3. Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Tyranny was a game developed by Obsidian Entertainment. Even before the release of Pillars of Eternity II, Tyranny saw the light of day in somewhat "wild" circumstances, because hardly anyone really expected its release at that time, although the project had been in the pipeline for years. But why was it released so quickly, only a year and a half after the first PoE? The market abhors a vacuum. Obsidian smelled blood and decided that if it wanted to stay in the spotlight, they needed to be a prolific studio.

Did it pay off? Not necessarily, because the mechanics presented by the developers seemed unfinished, and the whole gameplay could get you bored after a while. Nevertheless, Tyranny defended itself with a solid storyline based on an interesting concept that involves controlling a character with sinister tendencies. This is hardly a norm in modern RPGs since even choosing the abrasive dialogue options in some games doesn't change the fact that we're striving to save the world.

Therefore, we would like to get some more. A more polished second instalment could offer much more compelling gameplay with an equally compelling story, but given the sales performance of Tyranny and then Pillars of Eternity II, it doesn't make much sense to hope for a sequel. In addition, let us keep in mind the current priorities of the studio, which is The Outer Worlds and Avowed.

Karol Laska

Karol Laska

His adventure with journalism began with a personal blog, the name of which is no longer worth quoting. Then he interpreted Iranian dramas and the Joker, writing for cinematography journal, which, sadly, no longer exists. His writing credentials include a degree in film studies, but his thesis was strictly devoted to video games. He has been writing for Gamepressure since March 2020, first writing a lot about movies, then in the newsroom, and eventually, he became a specialist in everything. He currently edits and writes articles and features. A long-time enthusiast of the most bizarre indie games and arthouse cinema. He idolizes surrealism and postmodernism. He appreciates the power of absurdity. Which is probably why he also tried soccer refereeing for 2 years (with so-so results). He tends to over-philosophize, so watch out.

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Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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Two Worlds II

Two Worlds II

Tyranny

Tyranny

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Icewind Dale II

Icewind Dale II

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

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