This thread is based on a response wrote for the "POLL - What game do you think is better Witcher 3 vs Deadfire" thread, which was locked before I could submit.
This thread's is NOT based on that thread, but what became the heart of my response. (Hint in the title.)
It's nigh impossible to compare in most respects, better to contrast; So I'll say this:
Someone would have made something akin to TW3 eventually. If it wasn't for a timely crisis at Obsidian, a timely renaissance surge of alternative funding in the form of crowd sourcing, the right composition of infinity-like veterans at Obsidian, and a throbbing lust for a genre only dead for a lack of publisher perception. Then we would would have never seen something quite like Pillars birthed. To get something like Deadfire was miraculous.
That we can compare the two is a testament to both, each required vision and passion to delve into unexplored territory. Each required just the right pool of talent and orchestration of resources to pull off. Since The Witcher games rely so much on action and when compared to other action games in the top of their class, like Bloodborne, the new God of War, or Horizon Zero Dawn; I'd say The Witcher 3 has a worse weakness (compared to Deadfire) given the type of product that it is. In many ways both Pillars of Eternity and Deadfire are bigger leaps forward for their respective genre's although having one's genre essentially be dead for over a decade helps. Deadfire is a perfect example of not going backwards to go forwards, but going forwards from where things were left off. It's clear The Witcher manages mass appeal better, and I don't think it sacrificed it's design to achieve that. As someone who does however have the passion for a more niche title like Pillars, I have this sense that Deadfire will age better, at least for me.
There is a timelessness captured in this style of game, it's apparent going all the way back to the original Baldur's Gate. If anything in those original games hasn't aged well, it's the D&D 2e ruleset. While, no ruleset will ever be perfect, what Josh has done with Pillars has not only been refreshing, but is in the spirit of progress. By making a ruleset that is for a crpg first, not a ttrpg, we get something with a life of it's own. No longer are infinity-likes merely digitized D&D campaigns. Further, the type of prose enabled by Pillars is far more akin to literature which already ages like wine, and the series does not shirk this opportunity. Deadfire convinces me that the possibilities of it's medium a far from being tapped out, and the ceiling is higher than we think. I hope Obsidian finds a growing audience to not only sustain these ventures, but to pursue the limits.
So the response is a bit of an ode to Pillars. How would you capture Pillars of Eternity's place amongst both it's own genre, and other RPGs at large? Where does it's value lie to you? What might it's future be? How might genre's core pillars be pushed forward, expanded, or what new one's might be added?
I think Tyranny and Deadfire are useful measures as to just how far and different these games push things, but they are just a start of what could be. My post isn't a full answer to these questions, but I'm more interested in what the community thinks and feels.