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Obsidian Kickstarter

The teasing on the Obsidian Entertainment Website has culminated in the announcement of a Kickstarter for Project Eternity (working title), "an isometric, party-based RPG set in a new fantasy world," which they say "pays homage to the great Infinity Engine games of years past: Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment." Here's word on the project, which is will on the way to its $1.1 million goal:

Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back… and that’s why we’re here - we need your help to make it a reality!

Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment.

Combat uses a tactical real-time with pause system - positioning your party and coordinating attacks and abilities is one of the keys to success. The world map is dotted with unique locations and wilderness ripe for exploration and questing. You’ll create your own character and collect companions along the way – taking him or her not just through this story, but, with your continued support, through future adventures. You will engage in dialogues that are deep, and offer many choices to determine the fate of you and your party. …and you'll experience a story that explores mature themes and presents you with complex, difficult choices to shape how your story plays out.

We are excited at this chance to create something new, yet reminiscent of those great games and we want you to be a part of it as well.

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122 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 4.
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62. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 18:16 killer_roach
 
Yakubs wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 18:10:
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:28:
The thing is though that publishers know how to measure risk and demand. Gamers don't, which is why they'll back just about any stupid idea if it's hyped enough.

It's not quite exploiting gamers, but it's taking advantage of their naivety. A lot can happen between now and when the game ships in 2 years.

Sorry, man, but you don't understand anything about business or economics or you wouldn't say something as ignorant as this.

A little background: publishers are big, even huge corporations, frequently a public company or just a piece of another public company.

When Obsidian, or anyone else, shows up at a publisher meeting with a game idea like this, the publisher doesn't reject it because they don't think it'll make money. They reject games like this because they don't think it'll make ENOUGH money. That's the crucial difference that you're not understanding.

Companies are analyzed based on their return on investment (among other things). There's simply no chance that Obsidian's game is going to sell 5mm+ (audience is too small) and spawn a lucrative franchise (Obsidian wants creative control, and will want to keep the license). Plus, 1.1mm is pocket change for these publishers. Activision Blizzard thinks in terms of BILLIONS, not millions.

So, all this adds up to the following incentive: big publishers want to publish big games. They'd rather fund a game for $50mm that has the chance to earn $250mm PLUS spawn a franchise than a game for $1mm that has the chance to earn $2-3mm, at best. It's simply not an efficient allocation of their funds.

You're half right. You're forgetting about return on investment. The raw numbers are one thing, but a studio that can make a game on a small budget in a limited timeframe and get a good return out of it would likely attract publisher attention.

...the problem for publishers is that there aren't many developers who are proven to work well with low-seven-figure budgets in a 12-18 month cycle, so the publisher sees a fair bit of downside risk, a modest bit of upside risk... and passes.

Unfortunately, it creates a vicious cycle - nobody can do it because nobody's succeeded at it, but nobody's succeeded at it because nobody's tried it.
 
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61. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 18:12 nin
 
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

Did you think double fine was repugnant? IMO removing the publisher from the equation is the best part of these KS.


 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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60. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 18:10 Yakubs
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:28:
The thing is though that publishers know how to measure risk and demand. Gamers don't, which is why they'll back just about any stupid idea if it's hyped enough.

It's not quite exploiting gamers, but it's taking advantage of their naivety. A lot can happen between now and when the game ships in 2 years.

Sorry, man, but you don't understand anything about business or economics or you wouldn't say something as ignorant as this.

A little background: publishers are big, even huge corporations, frequently a public company or just a piece of another public company.

When Obsidian, or anyone else, shows up at a publisher meeting with a game idea like this, the publisher doesn't reject it because they don't think it'll make money. They reject games like this because they don't think it'll make ENOUGH money. That's the crucial difference that you're not understanding.

Companies are analyzed based on their return on investment (among other things). There's simply no chance that Obsidian's game is going to sell 5mm+ (audience is too small) and spawn a lucrative franchise (Obsidian wants creative control, and will want to keep the license). Plus, 1.1mm is pocket change for these publishers. Activision Blizzard thinks in terms of BILLIONS, not millions.

So, all this adds up to the following incentive: big publishers want to publish big games. They'd rather fund a game for $50mm that has the chance to earn $250mm PLUS spawn a franchise than a game for $1mm that has the chance to earn $2-3mm, at best. It's simply not an efficient allocation of their funds.
 
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59. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 18:02 PHJF
 
Obsidian may well be the developer I'd most want to see not restricted by a publisher. Not enough to buy into this whole kickstarter thing, but still.  
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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58. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:58 Paranoid Jack
 
I knew they would be finding their way to Kickstarter. I'm so very glad they are too. They can now turn to the players to help them fund a game that publishers won't touch. Face it most publishers/retailers don't/won't touch an old school RPG with adult themes. I think most of us understand this is a good thing.. a damn good thing.

I just can't decide how much to pledge. $100 was the sweet spot for me with Wasteland 2 but with Project Eternity it just doesn't get you as much. So for me it is apparent they are shooting for a much higher close than W2 was hoping for.

Off Topic if you don't already own all these amazing older games...

GoG.Com has some classics on Promo!
 
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57. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:51 Jivaro
 
Prez wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:24:
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant?

I don't - not when the developers can't get their publisher to fund a game like this any other way. And its success could get publishers to change their stance on that. It has the potential to be a huge when.

My first reaction was similar to yours Virge, but upon giving it some thought...I find myself thinking more along what Prez is saying. If a developer, any developer, wants to make something and they can't get the so-called "AAA" publishers to do it, to me, that sounds like exactly what Kickstarter is for. I mean, what else are they supposed to do? The money for development has to come from somewhere.
 
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56. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:50 Cutter
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

Well over 10,000 people so far disagree with you.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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55. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:43 Julio
 
I'll wait for a bit more info before pledging. Too bad its not turn based or I would not be able to hold off.

I'd rather see developers work through Kickstarter than Ubi or EA. Great to keep my money away from Ubi/EA, and put it towards the type of games I want to play, not what they pick.

Just noticed this is not DRM free (i.e. Steam DRM looks like so far). If its not DRM free (and non-Steam), then no kickstarter for me.

This comment was edited on Sep 14, 2012, 17:51.
 
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54. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:42 Beelzebud
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

Did you say the same about Inxile and their Wasteland 2 kickstarter? Or Double Fine and their kickstarter?
 
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53. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:42 Tumbler
 
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant?

I can't remember ever wanting to spend upwards of $100 on a game that has been made by publishers. On kickstarter it just seems like something that is normal. I can't express how much better it feels to be a customer via kickstarter than it does to be a customer via the developer/publisher/retailer model.

When the potential audience expands to the point that a lot more money is going to be made they don't pocket it and shave off content to sell as dlc, they add more content to the game. (stretch goals) They offer physical boxed products that I want to own. They offer t-shirts I want to own.

And every step of the way you're literally a keyboard away from the developers. There is no marketing machine carefully handing out clips, there is no publisher pushing for "more profitable features", it's just guys (&gals) making games.

It's beautiful. It's nice to be closer to the artists rather than feeling like you're getting fucked by the retailers. I want to see larger studios go this route. I think there is FAR more funding available than people realize. I think gamers want to be closer to the studio's and the ability to tailor a game to your desire is an awesome idea I hope others expand on. Planetary Annihilation offered to make you your own custom commander for $1000...I was REALLY tempted to get my own commander! What if the $100 level allowed everyone in that pool to vote on some exclusive items for that group (and above).

I think the pay your own price idea here can grow into some amazing options for fans.

This comment was edited on Sep 14, 2012, 17:48.
 
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
Kickstarter "Game Developer"!
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52. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:41 killer_roach
 
Draugr wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:29:
It's almost like they find publishers to be as annoying as we perceive them to be.

Basically. I think publishers in a lot of cases are a necessary evil, but they have been strategically short-sighted. Kickstarter campaigns seem to be bringing back the idea of a mid-budget gaming title as a desirable entertainment property, something that had been completely disregarded in recent years (even as Microsoft and Sony try to encourage development in this area for their online stores - a large number of their titles are either indies or first-party publishing).

Even if it doesn't change how publishers work in a fundamental sense, there's something to be said for showing them that not every financially successful title has to be a high-risk, high-reward AAA blockbuster, and that if you can cater to a specific audience, a mid-market product can be every bit as successful in relative terms. (If you think of publishers as an analog to VC firms, some may still stick with bankrolling AAA titles, but others may start looking at development ideas like those featured on Kickstarter as a way to diversify their business and provide them protection from a major release going bust.)
 
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51. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:40 ASeven
 
Creston wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:33:
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

I'm sure that if you put them in touch with a publisher who will fund their PC-only, turn-based, party-based, isometric RPG, they will be HAPPY to scrap the Kickstarter and do it the old-fashioned way.

Go ahead and make some calls. We'll wait.

This.

Me, I hope more big devs go this way and say fuck off to publishers. Obsidian going this way is actually pretty big and I wonder if some publishers are now realizing the potential of big dev houses going to kickstarter and probably being more successful there, in terms of delivering game quality and in terms of sales after release.

I rather have an awesome game with good production then an awesome production but a mediocre game.
 
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50. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:33 Creston
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

I'm sure that if you put them in touch with a publisher who will fund their PC-only, turn-based, party-based, isometric RPG, they will be HAPPY to scrap the Kickstarter and do it the old-fashioned way.

Go ahead and make some calls. We'll wait.

Creston
 
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49. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:32 Mashiki Amiketo
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.
Apparently. Because this allows them to fully skip VC's and publishers, giving them the ability to do what *they* want to the game, and finish it on their time table instead of having a gigantic clusterfuck like KoTOR2(where Lucas Arts was breathing down their neck). When you're beholden to a publisher and publishers deadlines on funding, things get cut because they say *ship it, ship it now full of bug ridden holes you monkey shit head*.
 
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there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
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48. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:32 finga
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.
And what publishers do you think they *haven't* already pitched this to and gotten rejected on?
 
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47. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:29 Draugr
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.

It's almost like they find publishers to be as annoying as we perceive them to be.

I don't see how kickstarter campaigns and Panhandling are similar. There is risk certainly but provided everything goes well you'll see a return. Whether or not your happy with it though, that's another matter entirely.
 
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46. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:28 ViRGE
 
John wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:23:
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.
Maybe they want to make the game how they and we want without a publisher telling them how to do it and how quick to finish it.
The thing is though that publishers know how to measure risk and demand. Gamers don't, which is why they'll back just about any stupid idea if it's hyped enough.

It's not quite exploiting gamers, but it's taking advantage of their naivety. A lot can happen between now and when the game ships in 2 years.
 
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45. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:28 Cram
 
$35 for me. Sucker for soundtracks to games like these, always seem to love them.

First official kickstarter for me too, I tried pledging $50 to OCRemix's kickstarter for the Final Fantasy VI Soundtrack but they ran into legal problems and the kickstarter was shut down. Apparently they've settled their issues with Square and will have another one soon.
 
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44. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:24 Prez
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant?

I don't - not when the developers can't get their publisher to fund a game like this any other way. And its success could get publishers to change their stance on that. It has the potential to be a huge win.

This comment was edited on Sep 14, 2012, 18:00.
 
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43. Re: Obsidian Kickstarter Sep 14, 2012, 17:23 John
 
ViRGE wrote on Sep 14, 2012, 17:20:
Am I the only one that finds Obsidian using Kickstarter to be a bit repugnant? They're an established developer - they should be going to a publisher and doing it right, not hitting up gamers for money before they've even begun. It's like a millionaire panhandling.
Maybe they want to make the game how they and we want without a publisher telling them how to do it and how quick to finish it.
 
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122 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 4.
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