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Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series

An interview on GamesIndustry International talks with Chris Avellone of Obsidian Entertainment about their recent Kickstarter for Project Eternity, and how they managed to attract a record-setting four-plus million dollars in funding. As noted by VG247, this conversation includes indications they hope this role-playing game will become a multimedia franchise:

Our hope with Eternity is that it's just the first in a series of installments, and then obviously we want to do the full expansion packs, and then extra content, just because we know we really enjoyed doing that for Fallout: New Vegas. We'd want to continue adding new content to the world. The first game is only one moderately sized nation in a much, much, much bigger world where a lot of other things are going on. There's plenty more room for games in that universe and that's what we'd like to do.

It's kind of nice because not all of that has to be done in the games; we can go out and look for graphic novel tie-ins and novel tie-ins and stuff. It is kind of cool to be able to pursue that on our own without having to go through a publisher, or accept the fact that whatever franchise we're with already has the avenues all covered. It's such a nice feeling.

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46. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 22, 2012, 08:25 John
 
The track record is pretty good IMO. Sure they had a couple games that weren't the greatest but many others were. I enjoyed Planescape: Torment and the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games and this is what PE will mostly resemble.

Yes, pessimism means you see the worst instead of the good they have done.
 
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45. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 22, 2012, 01:24 Asmo
 
John wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 20:08:
There are too many pessimistic folks around here..

Pessimism infers that I have a tendency to see the worst. I think, given the track record, it's realistic to be a bit concerned.
 
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44. Re: More Big Picture Details Oct 21, 2012, 20:19 HorrorScope
 
Prez wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 13:59:
One thing at a time - let's first make
a great game worthy of a series, m'kay?

^This. Obsidian has plenty of ghosts in its closet. Lets first see if it was them or their publishers making those mistakes first.
 
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43. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 20:15 Jerykk
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 22:26:
Jerykk wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 21:32:
I'm apparently one of the few people who enjoyed AP.

No, you might have been one of the few people who didn't run into serious bugs in the game. The game premise and consequence system may have all been great, but the control system was horrible. I was never able to completely eliminate the problems it had, although I was able to limit them to some degree. But it was an extremely common problem that they never fixed.

That was the crux of my problem with Obsidian. They make some stellar games that often end up with serious flaws that never get fixed properly. I don't mind so much if a game has some bugs as long as they are committed to fixing them, but unfortunately, they weren't.

I'm not sure how the situation will be here, since they should get the majority of profits, and since the game is paid for ahead of time, that should mean they have enough money to commit to fixing the inevitable bugs, but they don't really have a good track record. Hopefully that's because of publisher funding (or lack thereof).

Post-release support is entirely dependent on publishers, especially on multiplatform releases where patches have to go through expensive certification processes. If a publisher doesn't approve a patch, the developers aren't allowed to make one. With PE, Obsidian can do whatever they want so if there's a bug that needs fixing, they can immediately fix it.

It's usually far worse than that for content creators in BOTH industries. Actually if they got $7 per game, they probably are doing OUTSTANDING. Out of a $60 retail console game, something like $15 (perhaps as high as $20) is profit to a publisher. So if they are getting half of what publisher is, thats a good deal.

Unless a game sells extremely well, developers won't see a penny after its release because publishers don't start offering royalties until a game has broken even, which is pretty rare. That's the problem with the traditional publisher model. Devs get paid during development but once they're done, that's it. There's no long-term revenue for them. That means many devs basically survive from project to project and if they can't sign any projects, they're screwed because they have no alternate revenue sources. That's why we're seeing more developers getting into the F2P and mobile spaces, where they own their IP and make money from every sale.

This comment was edited on Oct 21, 2012, 20:21.
 
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42. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 20:08 John
 
Asmo wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 18:52:
My major concern is that PE will end up like TOEE and other titles that the collective staff of Obsidian have had a hand in. Dumped on the market with deep bugs and very little support.
Well my pledge tier includes beta access to the game so I'll test it out and let Obsidian know of any bugs I may find. There are too many pessimistic folks around here..
 
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41. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 18:52 Asmo
 
Obsidian titles, for me, have always been ambitious and mostly enjoyable but deeply flawed.

FO:NV for example, I loved the shit out of that game but then found out a save game bug introduced at about the '60 hours played' mark meant that I was completely unable to finish the game at about 120 hours played... And this was after I had taken all the recommended precautions regarding save games to prevent corruption.

Alpha Protocol, as mentioned, was a great game irt gameplay, but was a tragic mess irt stability etc.

My major concern is that PE will end up like TOEE and other titles that the collective staff of Obsidian have had a hand in. Dumped on the market with deep bugs and very little support.
 
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40. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 16:23 Dev
 
Denthor wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 04:49:
Sho wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 03:34:
Everybody here seems to be forgetting that if you do a game for a publisher, _the publisher gets to keep a lot of the money coming in_. While Kickstarter gets their share on this, a lot of these 4.2 million are money in the bank for Obsidian, and when they eventually complete and sell the game, they can do so on their own, without sharing with a publisher. Keep that in mind when you compare it to traditional budgets!

Yeah, I wish I remembered who said this (correct me if i'm wrong) but i believe it was as little as $7 out of $60 going back to the developers. Which, imo, is pretty insane (heard music industry is worse as little as 50c an album). I'm not sure if digital distribution has changed those numbers (highly unlikely i guess) but i hope they make a good deal of money off this and it allows more 'niche' games to flourish and helps alleviate the risk a bit for devs.

I would love an industry where the majority of the money goes back to the people who created the product in the first place rather than some faceless middle man who's only desire is to make money off others work.
It's usually far worse than that for content creators in BOTH industries. Actually if they got $7 per game, they probably are doing OUTSTANDING. Out of a $60 retail console game, something like $15 (perhaps as high as $20) is profit to a publisher. So if they are getting half of what publisher is, thats a good deal.

Dev studios (since they are frequently one game away from bankruptcy and desperate) sometimes end up signing contracts to do a game for a flat amount, no royalties.

Music industry is crazy bad. Unless you sell many MILLIONS (just 1 or 2 million aint nearly enough) of an album, publishers will screw you over so hard, that you actually owe THEM money. Many bands, selling merch at concert tours is one of the few way they actually make money.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100712/23482610186.shtml

As a side note, beth makes about twice as much per PC digital copy of skyrim sold at $60 as they do on a retail console copy at that price (because of packaging and license fees). Which is why they still make PC versions. Even when PC sells far less than console, they are still doing quite well profit wise on PC.
 
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39. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 15:27 Optional Nickname!
 
Like the famous Wildean Quote, “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy”, video game costs have risen to Hollywood proportions due to the proportional involvement of Hollywood in video games.

Therefore if you want to save money, exorcise Hollywood from your development. That said, please have Sheena Easton in a speaking role in P:E.

2nd comment: Will anyone other than Obsidian have final say in game content? Is Hollywood footing part of the bill? Who other than Kickstarters have made financial commitments?

 
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38. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 14:14 Tumbler
 
Series!? You mean you want to make another one already!? NO!!! I want a scifi, future type cyber punk ish type adventure game first! Make this game awesome, then go make an rpg set in the future so I can have my awesome game next!  
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
Kickstarter "Game Developer"!
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37. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 11:50 John
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 09:23:
It is the nature of the "game". It takes money to make money.
Or just a Kickstarter to make money!
 
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36. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 09:23 Mr. Tact
 
Denthor wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 04:49:
I would love an industry where the majority of the money goes back to the people who created the product in the first place rather than some faceless middle man who's only desire is to make money off others work.
It is the nature of the "game". It takes money to make money.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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35. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 07:06 Acleacius
 
Denthor wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 04:49:
Sho wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 03:34:
Everybody here seems to be forgetting that if you do a game for a publisher, _the publisher gets to keep a lot of the money coming in_. While Kickstarter gets their share on this, a lot of these 4.2 million are money in the bank for Obsidian, and when they eventually complete and sell the game, they can do so on their own, without sharing with a publisher. Keep that in mind when you compare it to traditional budgets!

Yeah, I wish I remembered who said this (correct me if i'm wrong) but i believe it was as little as $7 out of $60 going back to the developers. Which, imo, is pretty insane (heard music industry is worse as little as 50c an album). I'm not sure if digital distribution has changed those numbers (highly unlikely i guess) but i hope they make a good deal of money off this and it allows more 'niche' games to flourish and helps alleviate the risk a bit for devs.

I would love an industry where the majority of the money goes back to the people who created the product in the first place rather than some faceless middle man who's only desire is to make money off others work.
It's worst than that, publishers steal the IP.
 
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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34. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 07:04 Acleacius
 
TychoCelchuuu wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 03:01:
Prez wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 00:06:
I'm apparently one of the few people who enjoyed AP.

I thought it was REALLY good. Until Deus Ex Human Revolution it was the best choice and consequence FPS since the original Deus Ex imo.
I've played Alpha Protocol 3 times and haven't seen anything near all of the content. Your choices in AP matter way more than in DX3. Not that DX3 is awful. But AP is in another league.
Yeah, I really liked DX3 but there's really no comparison to choice and consequence with AP. I got a big shock trying to replay DX3 after Dishonored, gameplay is much smoother in Dishonored.
 
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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33. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 04:49 Denthor
 
Sho wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 03:34:
Everybody here seems to be forgetting that if you do a game for a publisher, _the publisher gets to keep a lot of the money coming in_. While Kickstarter gets their share on this, a lot of these 4.2 million are money in the bank for Obsidian, and when they eventually complete and sell the game, they can do so on their own, without sharing with a publisher. Keep that in mind when you compare it to traditional budgets!

Yeah, I wish I remembered who said this (correct me if i'm wrong) but i believe it was as little as $7 out of $60 going back to the developers. Which, imo, is pretty insane (heard music industry is worse as little as 50c an album). I'm not sure if digital distribution has changed those numbers (highly unlikely i guess) but i hope they make a good deal of money off this and it allows more 'niche' games to flourish and helps alleviate the risk a bit for devs.

I would love an industry where the majority of the money goes back to the people who created the product in the first place rather than some faceless middle man who's only desire is to make money off others work.
 
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32. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 03:34 Sho
 
Everybody here seems to be forgetting that if you do a game for a publisher, _the publisher gets to keep a lot of the money coming in_. While Kickstarter gets their share on this, a lot of these 4.2 million are money in the bank for Obsidian, and when they eventually complete and sell the game, they can do so on their own, without sharing with a publisher. Keep that in mind when you compare it to traditional budgets!  
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31. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 03:01 TychoCelchuuu
 
Prez wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 00:06:
I'm apparently one of the few people who enjoyed AP.

I thought it was REALLY good. Until Deus Ex Human Revolution it was the best choice and consequence FPS since the original Deus Ex imo.
I've played Alpha Protocol 3 times and haven't seen anything near all of the content. Your choices in AP matter way more than in DX3. Not that DX3 is awful. But AP is in another league.
 
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30. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 02:43 RollinThundr
 
Creston wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 02:32:
RollinThundr wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 23:32:
Agreed, sure LucasArts rushed them with Kotor 2, I get that, but when you sign a contract to deliver in XX amount of months, be able to do so.

Same with AP, Sega's not exactly rolling in the money these days and I always thought that was kinda a odd paring with them as a publisher on that type of game anyway.

For as good as a game FO:NV turned out to be it was pretty bugtastic at launch as well. Seems to be a running theme with Obsidian imo.

Avellone has said (in last week's AMA) that the blame for Kotor2 falls squarely on Obsidian, not on LA. They tried to bite off more than they could chew and they failed.

Apparently Dungeon Siege 3 actually was pretty solid out the gate, and they said they changed their internal QA procedures right before that. So hopefully things will run better this time around. I do think that if there are big issues, they will just get patched. They don't have to wait for a publisher to come up with money to pay for it. (plus they don't have to deal with MS and Sony's certification process.)

Creston

Hadn't read that Creston, interesting that they took responsibility for Kotor 2 being pretty much unfinished. I give them credit for owning up to that.

I had forgotten they did DS3, wasn't a terrible game even though I thought the controls were pretty awful. I had a bit of fun with that one considering I got it very cheap during one of the steam sales a while back.

I hope PE ends up being fantastic for the record.
 
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29. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 02:32 Creston
 
RollinThundr wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 23:32:
Agreed, sure LucasArts rushed them with Kotor 2, I get that, but when you sign a contract to deliver in XX amount of months, be able to do so.

Same with AP, Sega's not exactly rolling in the money these days and I always thought that was kinda a odd paring with them as a publisher on that type of game anyway.

For as good as a game FO:NV turned out to be it was pretty bugtastic at launch as well. Seems to be a running theme with Obsidian imo.

Avellone has said (in last week's AMA) that the blame for Kotor2 falls squarely on Obsidian, not on LA. They tried to bite off more than they could chew and they failed.

Apparently Dungeon Siege 3 actually was pretty solid out the gate, and they said they changed their internal QA procedures right before that. So hopefully things will run better this time around. I do think that if there are big issues, they will just get patched. They don't have to wait for a publisher to come up with money to pay for it. (plus they don't have to deal with MS and Sony's certification process.)

Creston
 
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28. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 02:28 Creston
 
mellis wrote on Oct 20, 2012, 21:34:
It still bothers me how little $4 million is for developing a AAA game. Obsidian is not a small developer, their burn rate must be substantial.

You're assuming the entire studio is working on Project Eternity, which is not the case. They've said that the added funding will allow them to shift people over TO PE from other games, but obviously it will be a fairly small team working on it (20-30 people maybe.) Beside PE, Obsidian is working on the South Park game, and an as yet unannounced game.


Their staffing levels certainly appear sufficient (based on the team photo) to actually get a AAA title out the door, but $4 million is going to disappear in no-time. Some analyst was recently quoted as saying that it costs $20-30 *million* to produce an -->average<-- AAA title. Granted that's likely to include cross-platform ports, but even so - $4 million is a long way shy of even half that number.

I don't need an AAA game. I need an enjoyable RPG with a deep storyline, cool characters and manageable combat. It requires no cutscenes, no voice-overs (other than flavor), no 3D world, etc. It also requires little to no marketing, since they're making it for the people who've already paid for it. Finally, it doesn't have to pay for the salary of the 600 dipshits employed at the publisher, 580 of whom have the word "Director" in their fucking title.

I think 4 million can make quite a nice game.

A high profile developer - I'm pretty sure it was one who made games for LucasArts in the distant past - commented that (And again, I can't find the damned link) that PC only Monkey Island 3 or maybe Grim Fandango cost in the region of $13 million to make. Those are not recent games and that's a lot of money, a lot more than $4 million...

Jerykk already showed that Grim Fandago cost 3 million, but in any case, that's a very different style of game. Grim Fandango actually had incredible production values for its time.

People who chipped in (myself included) have Baldurs Gate/Planescape esque expectations - I wonder how realistic they *actually* are.

Well, that's what they said they're making. And they seem pretty damn convinced that they CAN make it for that money. They've also said that they were hesitant to ask for 1.1 million at the start, but they didn't want to ask less, because they couldn't do it for less. So they figured "better be honest about it, that way if it doesn't make funding, we're not promising things we can't do."

So if they say they can do it for 1.1 million, and they've now got 4 million, I think we'll actually get a pretty cool Baldur's Gate-style game.

Creston
 
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27. Re: Obsidian Hopes Project Eternity is a Series Oct 21, 2012, 01:38 jomisab
 
Xil wrote on Oct 21, 2012, 01:06:
I am sort of getting more question marks with this, they keep going on about the expanstion packs and such while the game is not out yet and then this comment:

The first game is only one moderately sized nation in a much, much, much bigger world where a lot of other things are going on. There's plenty more room for games in that universe and that's what we'd like to do.

make me worried a bit that we gone end up with a small game which has the 14-15 lvl dungeon the city and that is about it.... lets hope I am wrong

At least we'll have all the stretch goal stuff, so a Stronghold and a 2nd "big" city etc.
 
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