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Obsidian Considering a Kickstart

On a note related to the story above, a tweet from Friday by Obsidian's Chris Avellone asks about interest in a Kickstarter project, pointing to their blog as where to register interest. Apparently this was quite high, as a follow-up tweet says they needed to reconfigure their blog to handle 1000 hits per second following the query (thanks Develop). Word is:

All of Double Fine’s success from Kickstarter has been inspiring.

I GUESS PEOPLE LOVE THOSE CLASSIC ADVENTURE GAMES AFTER ALL.*

The idea of player-supported funding is... well, it’s proof certain genres aren’t dead and sequels may have more legs than they seem. And the idea of not having to argue that with a publisher is appealing.

Out of curiosity, if Obsidian did Kickstart a project, what would you want to see funded? (You can respond in comments or to @ChrisAvellone on Twitter, whichever you prefer.)

* I only use all caps for sarcasm and shouting. And for the Think Tank in Old World Blues for comedy value.

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53. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 20, 2012, 23:57 Paranoid Jack
 
PHJF wrote on Feb 13, 2012, 23:18:
Resurrect Van Buren

I'd go for that in half a heartbeat. Though I'm guessing Interplay owned it before it was canceled then kept the incomplete game when they cut the funding. Later selling it to Bethesda with the Fallout IP. It would be great if Bethesda gave them the right to polish it up and release it. Though it has about as much chance as a snowball in Hell.

But I would pre-pay to see it funded. No doubt.
 
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52. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 15, 2012, 08:00 Prez
 
I liked Alpha Protocol as well. Could have used a few months more in the oven, sure, but it was thoroughly enjoyable for me.

As far as the "donation vs. pre-order" debate, I'd say look at it as a donation. When you donate to a candidate's political campaign, there's no guarantee that he or she will perform as well as you like, or even get elected to start with. It's a calculated risk that you may never get what you wanted when you donated the money, but worth it to those who do. Kickstart funding is sort of like that in my view.
 
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51. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 20:45 Acleacius
 
Wowbagger_TIP wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 17:15:
Jerykk wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 01:24:
As for Alpha Protocol, I'm really not seeing why people think it's so buggy. Compared to the other games you and I have mentioned, it was relatively polished. It also had the best implementation of choice & consequence I've ever seen, in addition to a genuinely engaging conversation system where you actually have to pay attention to what the NPC is saying.
I just wanted to chime in to agree whole-heartedly with this assessment of Alpha Protocol. It had some bugs, but nothing terrible. I loved it though, and played through it three times in a row. Give me more of that!
Count me in too, Alpha Protocol was amazing and would defiantly play AP 2.

The 'dialog wit consequence' possibilities were insane. I have never payed attention to Achievements until I played AP, they actually had real effects as did the bonuses from love/hate. That's right folks you even got bonuses if a team member hated you.
 
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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50. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 17:15 Wowbagger_TIP
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 01:24:
As for Alpha Protocol, I'm really not seeing why people think it's so buggy. Compared to the other games you and I have mentioned, it was relatively polished. It also had the best implementation of choice & consequence I've ever seen, in addition to a genuinely engaging conversation system where you actually have to pay attention to what the NPC is saying.
I just wanted to chime in to agree whole-heartedly with this assessment of Alpha Protocol. It had some bugs, but nothing terrible. I loved it though, and played through it three times in a row. Give me more of that!
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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49. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 11:48 Alamar
 
Dev wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 07:25:
InBlack wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 04:10:
(Sorry even though Im not an advocate of mainstream capitalism, I think its a pretty stupid idea to donate money to someone who can use that capital with no liability and obligation to return any investment)
I think a lot of people don't understand what kickstarter is about. Its NOT a donation! Nearly all the kickstarter projects I've looked at give you a copy of the work in question after its done for a certain level of funding. $15 on double fine gets you a copy of the game and the documentary. Its basically a pre-order. It's been the same for the other things I've kickstarted such as Stardrive ($10 for a copy of a game that looks like it will be similar to master of orion).

There IS an obligation, and in fact its laid out in a project's kickstarter page. They almost always have a estimated time of completion too. I don't think they are free to use the funding for WTF ever they want either, they need to use it on whatever project they are kickstarting.

For double fine, they are estimating 6-8 months of completion time for this project.

I'm not seeing liability or obligation in your response... Sure, you use the word... But other than 'bad press' (and the inability to do another kickstarter project), what do funded projects that don't go to completion do? They've spent all the kickstarter capital, but for whatever reasons (developers constantly go over budget - one of the main reasons they need publishers), they run out, what happens?

In this case, I would assume Double Fine would just finish the project, as would any other 'well known' company, for fear of the bad PR, unless of course, they file for bankruptcy : )

Edit: I see that I should read the whole thread first... But as for it following someone's career... Sure, if they have a big enough name... Though I'll admit, I don't look at names as much as others... I remember when the gaming industry was desparately trying to celebritize some game developer names, and obviously it has worked... Me? I don't know the name Tim Schaefer or Ron Gilbert, but I've played, and even enjoyed, some of the games mentioned in these threads : )

-Alamar

This comment was edited on Feb 14, 2012, 11:56.
 
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48. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 10:41 Verno
 
I'd throw some cash in for Obsidian doing a futuristic RPG a la Blade Runner or something like that.  
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Playing: Infamous Second Son
Watching: Midsomer Murders, Dominion, The Knick
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47. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 09:39 Acleacius
 
I din't care which type you make but it better be funny Avellone or were coming for your caps key, then let's see you try to shout!  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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46. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 09:25 Silicon Avatar
 
Bhruic wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 07:57:
Or, to put it more succinctly, once they have your money, to whom are they accountable?

You, but realistically if somebody cheats then the money is probably just plain gone.

Kickstarter doesn't monitor anything as far as I know. All they do is hook contributors up with people who need money. In return you get whatever the project promises after it has been completed. If you don't get your stuff you sue or you write off your loss and learn a lesson. If the project doesn't reach its funding goal then nothing happens.

I think Kickstarter has been around a while so if there were huge scams on it I think it would have gone around the internet by now.
 
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45. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 09:13 wtf_man
 
panbient wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 08:18:
Obsidian doesn't sound like it has a project in mind, it's just seeing $$$EASY FUNDING!!!$$$ and trolling for dollars and design documents. Or at least that's the impression these kind of press releases all over the net imply in my eyes.

While that may be so (about the Easy Funding)... they aren't asking for money nor starting a kickstarter until they have a project in mind.

They are asking the community what THEY want... then, I guess they'll try to make whatever turns out to be a popular and feasible request. In that context, I think it's kind of a cool opportunity to get a bigger named studio to make something that the community wants instead of something they wanted to make.

We'll just have to see what, if anything, they kickstart. If it's something cool... I'll throw in some cash. Although their games have been buggy... I've enjoyed them for the most part.
 
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44. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 08:22 Dev
 
Bhruic wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 07:57:
Or, to put it more succinctly, once they have your money, to whom are they accountable?
Basically to their peers and anyone who gave them money.

For instance, if Tim Shaefer and double fine doesn't deliver, they likely will have issues in the future from getting publishers interested and getting fans to pledge. No publisher is going to want to fund a person or company that can't deliver in a reasonable timeframe.

All that word of mouth from a successfully funded project would turn negative if someone doesn't deliver. Anything else that person would do in their career would be tainted by that, everything they talked about online they'd have people posting about how they lied and didn't deliver. Most of the projects have names, pictures/video of the person in question, and all have a location (city and state).

People could easily go after them in small claims court (I wouldn't for $10, but for $1000? Yeah I would).

Its possible, but its highly unlikely. After all, ONLY projects that have been FULLY funded actually get the money. If a project is just crap thrown onto a page, its unlikely that it would get fully funded. If a project represents someone's dream, why wouldn't they pursue it once they got funding? I think the main possible concern would be over someone trying to deliberately cheat the system just for the money. But thats part of the purpose of posting a video and detailed description of the project. You can see if they actually have an idea they've spent some time on that they are excited about and thats worth backing, or if its just some stuff on a page.

Example of a kickstarter project from some random browsing:

What's your thought when you see this page? Mine is that it looks someone's school project, and they have very little details and the video isn't someone excited about the project and laying out plans, but instead just a few mins of playing whatever that is. Looking at just the kickstarter page it feels very impersonal. Even if this is a worthy project, its not presented very well compared to others. If I was going to fund a project between the double fine and that one, I'd go for the double fine one just because of how its presented even if I knew nothing about Tim.

Edit: The project has since been canceled by the creator before the time was up so I removed the link.

This comment was edited on Feb 19, 2012, 15:16.
 
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43. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 08:20 Bhruic
 
Would you give money to Will Wright sight-unseen?
1) Spore
3) He has enough publisher clout to do whatever he wants whenever he wants

Way to contradict yourself in your own post. Wright was pretty clear about the game he wanted to make. That game was not the Spore that came out. The Spore that came out is the way it is because EA wanted the game more "accessible" (ie, dumbed down).

I wouldn't give money to any dev sight-unseen, but I would definitely be interested in seeing what he could come up with unshackled by any publisher interference.
 
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42. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 08:18 panbient
 
Maybe it's just me but I seem to see a rather substantial fundamental difference in how these two companies (Obsidian and Double Fine) are approaching the whole Kickstart initiative.

DF actually has a project in mind, they're not specifying what it is yet but they had something envisioned, they just needed money.

Obsidian doesn't sound like it has a project in mind, it's just seeing $$$EASY FUNDING!!!$$$ and trolling for dollars and design documents. Or at least that's the impression these kind of press releases all over the net imply in my eyes.

Having said that Mask of the Betrayer stands as one of the best RPG games I've ever played. Mix in that level of story with the tactical combat system from Temple of Elemental Evil and I'd be a very happy D&D nerd for the foreseeable future.
 
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41. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 08:16 Beamer
 
Mad Max RW wrote on Feb 13, 2012, 21:37:
With all this kickstart crap where's Will Wright and Warren Spector?

Would you give money to Will Wright sight-unseen?
1) Spore
2) He's already wealthy enough to finance his own work
3) He has enough publisher clout to do whatever he wants whenever he wants


A Will Wright kickstarted project would be taking advantage of the model to create buzz/hype, and I don't think people would respond all that well to it.
 
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40. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 07:57 Bhruic
 
Or, to put it more succinctly, once they have your money, to whom are they accountable?  
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39. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 07:35 InBlack
 
So what happens if a developer goes bankrupt (for whatever reason) or repeatedly misses their ETAs for projects that have been kickstarted?  
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38. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 07:25 Dev
 
InBlack wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 04:10:
(Sorry even though Im not an advocate of mainstream capitalism, I think its a pretty stupid idea to donate money to someone who can use that capital with no liability and obligation to return any investment)
I think a lot of people don't understand what kickstarter is about. Its NOT a donation! Nearly all the kickstarter projects I've looked at give you a copy of the work in question after its done for a certain level of funding. $15 on double fine gets you a copy of the game and the documentary. Its basically a pre-order. It's been the same for the other things I've kickstarted such as Stardrive ($10 for a copy of a game that looks like it will be similar to master of orion).

There IS an obligation, and in fact its laid out in a project's kickstarter page. They almost always have a estimated time of completion too. I don't think they are free to use the funding for WTF ever they want either, they need to use it on whatever project they are kickstarting.

For double fine, they are estimating 6-8 months of completion time for this project.
 
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37. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 07:24 Cutter
 
I asked Chris for a new CRPG maker ala NWW. Just an open D20 system where you can plug in your game of choice - D&D, Pathfinder, Paranoia, et al. and let the players create PWs that were larger than NWN - say 100-300 people like a MUD. They can make money doing licensing agreements, content packs, adventures, and everyone else can make whatever the hell they want. Now that would pwn.
 
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36. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 06:44 Dev
 
Sepharo wrote on Feb 13, 2012, 22:29:
Creston wrote on Feb 13, 2012, 22:10:
Amen to your rules, but IS it a pre-purchase? I wasn't under the impression that paying to the kickstart project gave you a copy once said game was finished?

It doesn't have to be but in the case of Double Fine's it is. For the $15 minimum you get the game.
Most of the kick-starters give you something in return. Often its a copy of the game. It's actually RARE that you don't get anything. I looked an an iOS game where you didn't get it, because they said they needed the sales when the game released to go up on apple's charts. Instead they were giving things like DLC for the game.

ALSO, and everyone forgets this, the $15 for double fine includes access to the documentary process. I think the monthly documentary and access to the devs is fairly unique on a project of this scale.


This comment was edited on Feb 14, 2012, 07:25.
 
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35. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 06:19 Bhruic
 

I just want to lol at obsidian riding on more coattails.

I think your analogy is wrong. Or, if apt, then whoever has on the coat isn't moving anywhere. Obsidian's games are generally buggy, true, but they almost always surpass the original edition of the game (I won't go over the list, Jerykk has already done that). The only game they've made that I haven't liked is Alpha Protocol, but that was mainly because of a gamebreaking bug (the mouse controls).
 
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34. Re: Obsidian Considering a Kickstart Feb 14, 2012, 06:15 Prez
 
bozu wrote on Feb 14, 2012, 04:01:
and, to the guy that said double fine hasn't had a hit lately, I suggest you go check the metacritic scores for iron brigade, stacking, once upon a monster, and happy action theater. they're 82, 84, 79, and 81. Pretty damn respectable, actually.

High scores don't categorize a game as a "hit". High sales do. Psychonauts was brilliant but was anything but a hit.
 
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