Baldur's Gate and its sequel are regarded by two of the best role-playing games of all time. Developed by BioWare and published by Interplay, the game introduced the Dungeons & Dragons 'Forgotten Realms' setting to gamers, along with its ruleset.
Despite its success, Interplay did not release Baldur's Gate 3, focusing instead on action spinoffs like Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance.
Black Isle Studios, Interplay's internal RPG development studio, was developing a game titled Project Jefferson, or The Black Hound, before most of its developers left the company during a period of financial turmoil at the publisher to found Obsidian Entertainment.
One of those developers was Josh Sawyer, who in a recent interview with PCGamesN revealed what actually happened with The Black Hound.
Sawyer said that the game was never conceived as a sequel to Baldur's Gate, and that it only used the brand due to contractual obligations by Interplay. It would have been Baldur's Gate 3 only in name. The choice was to either use Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale in the title.
Sawyer says that while there were similarities between those games and The Black Hound, it wasn't intended to be a continuation of either series.
As for Pillars of Eternity being a spiritual successor to those games, Obsidian Entertainment carried over certain elements that were originally developed for The Black Hound.
"There are some mechanical things that we carried over," said Sawyer. "For example, the reputation system that tracks different personality types and has people react differently to the certain personality that you gave your character, that was something that we initially conceived for Jefferson."
He added that the name of the inn in the first town was a tribute to the game, but everything else in Pillars of Eternity is original, aside from drawing obvious inspiration from the Forgotten Realms setting, anyway.
"The story is very different from what we were doing with Baldur’s Gate 3. And really none of the characters came over. It was its own thing, although obviously we tried to evoke the feeling of the Forgotten Realms, and the Dalelands, specifically."
Pillars of Eternity's first expansion, The White March, is now out on Steam.