Obsidian Entertainment has several plates spinning these days, between planning the next Outer Worlds, development on Grounded and work on Avowed, but the game that has me most interested in the recently leaked Pentiment, an Xbox exclusive being helmed by Josh Sawyer.
Recently revealed by Jeff Grubb on his GiantBomb program, Grubbsnaxx, Pentiment is an indie-sized Xbox exclusive that Sawyer has been working on for a while. Sawyer is one of the design leads at Obsidian and is best known as the director of Fallout: New Vegas and the Pillars of Eternity series.
Windows Central’s Jez Corden notes that “Pentiment” as defined by a dictionary refers to “an underlying image in a painting, especially one that has become visible when the top layer of paint has turned transparent with age,” and hints at the game’s core premise in which you act as a 16th century investigator looking to uncover the truth behind a gruesome murder.
Sawyer’s secret project has been known for some time, having confirmed on Twitter that his next project would not be Pillars of Eternity 3. Regarding such a sequel, Sawyer clarified it was a matter of internal willpower and interest following a tough development rather than the game’s less than hoped for critical and commercial success that is keeping it from happening.
Between Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed, Obsidian has a pretty full slate with regards to big games, but smaller projects are also on the agenda, with at least one unannounced project that might see a newly minted creative lead from among the studio’s existing ranks.
Pentiment will, according to Grubb, take its cues from the likes of Disco Elysium while emphasizing the branching narrative design that Sawyer and his team implemented in Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire. Before the name ‘Pentiment’ was surfaced, it was known that this game would have an emphasis on non-combat conflict resolution, where building a case and establishing suspects is at its core.
And that… sounds a lot like Disco Elysium, in a good way! The critically acclaimed RPG was a zero combat experience that was full of personality and character and some hypnotic prose, even if its messaging felt a little murky and confused, but seeing more games like it wouldn’t be unwelcome from RPG fans looking for more audacious experiments in design.
The game is reportedly being built by a small team of around 12 people and is eyeing for a 2022 release, and is likely to be console exclusive for Xbox if it isnt exclusive to the Microsoft Store entirely.