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Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year

There's an Interview with Obsidian on CVG talking with Feargus Urquhart about "life after South Park" that discusses a range of topics, including whether they are still an RPG studio, plans for more AAA development, IPs they would enjoy working with, and more. As noted on Joystiq (thanks nin), Feargus also gives a sense for when they might try their next Kickstarter campaign:

We are working on what that is. I think we've come up with what it's going to be. We have to still firm up some details, but my hope is that we'll get one going before the end of the year.

I think we've got a good idea. I'm not going to share anything, but a few times in my career I have these things where I say, "hey, that's a cool idea!" and I've generally been right. So I think this one's going to be a cool thing.

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26. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 16:51 nin
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 16:33:
[No, they don't work for min wage, I'm sure they are paid well, but it all goes to the expense of making the game. They don't have millions in profit after making it.

I was about to say, I make over 3 times the minimum wage of my state, and I fucking promise you I'm not rolling in it...

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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25. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 16:47 Jerykk
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 11:28:
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy. They can easily find work to bring money in. It might not be what they want it exactly but it'll make them more than enough to do what they want. Which is what businesses are supposed to do. Otherwise it constitutes Moral Hazard. If you think those who can easily afford to bankroll their own projects but choose not to isn't sleazy then you have a very skewed moral compass.

Why would Obsidian be rolling in dough after South Park? If anything, they probably lost money on South Park because it was delayed so many times. It's not uncommon for devs to have to cover their own costs if their projects have gone far beyond the original contractual deadlines and South Park certainly fits that criteria. As for royalties, I highly doubt they've seen any. Most publishers won't offer royalties until they've completely recouped their expenses on the project. Throw in the licensing fees for the IP, the switch in publishers and the prolonged development period and you likely have a zero royalty situation. They might see some money in a few years if the game continues to sell well but I wouldn't count on it.

Your posts show no understanding of how game development actually works.
 
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24. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 16:33 jdreyer
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 15:23:
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 14:49:
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 11:28:
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy.

Really? How much do they have? Source?


Yeah, you're right, nin. I'm sure they did it for minimum wage only.
Rolleyes

Are you being intentionally obtuse, or do actually believe what you post? Here, let me fix what you wrote.
Obsidian is South Park Studios and Ubisoft are rolling in dough after South Park now
Obsidian is a contractor. They get paid for their work, period. They don't share in the profits. Given the long dev cycle and rework this game saw, I'm sure they blew out their budget several times and had to go to Matt and Trey for more money. In fact, they laid off South Park devs in 2012 for lack of funds. No, they don't work for min wage, I'm sure they are paid well, but it all goes to the expense of making the game. They don't have millions in profit after making it.
 
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23. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 15:57 nin
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 15:23:
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 14:49:
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 11:28:
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy.

Really? How much do they have? Source?


Yeah, you're right, nin. I'm sure they did it for minimum wage only.
Rolleyes

No, really, how much? If you're going to make that claim, then back it up.


 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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22. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 15:23 Cutter
 
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 14:49:
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 11:28:
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy.

Really? How much do they have? Source?


Yeah, you're right, nin. I'm sure they did it for minimum wage only.
Rolleyes
 
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21. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 14:49 nin
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 11:28:
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy.

Really? How much do they have? Source?

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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20. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 13:34 HorrorScope
 
No problem letting the market speak.
 
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19. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 12:51 Prez
 
If there's any company that should be looking at crowdsourcing, it's Obsidian.

That's the way I see it too. I disagree with Cutter and CJ.
 
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18. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 11:28 Cutter
 
Obsidian is rolling in dough after South Park now, so yes, it's warranted to call them sleazy. They can easily find work to bring money in. It might not be what they want it exactly but it'll make them more than enough to do what they want. Which is what businesses are supposed to do. Otherwise it constitutes Moral Hazard. If you think those who can easily afford to bankroll their own projects but choose not to isn't sleazy then you have a very skewed moral compass.
 
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"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's dead… Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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17. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 06:25 Qbex .
 
I'm eager to hear what they'll pitch for KS. That's the beauty of it, I'm happy to chip in if that means to get some niche, original or otherwise interesting game out of it. Arcanum style, steampunk, modern times, "Aliens" homage or even proper cyberpunk crpg one would be awesome. If that's just another fantasy crpg than less so.  
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16. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 04:53 Jerykk
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 04:38:
jdreyer wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 03:04:
And you can be sure that in addition to the KS funds, they added whatever extra they had lying around. This is a passion project. They'll be lucky to cover that, especially in an era where no one wants to pay more than $5 for a game. It might be years before they make a profit, and you can guarantee it won't enough to fund their next game. Whatever they're doing next, if it's not mass market and publisher funded, they'll need to KS it.

This is bullshit, dude. Obsidian fully intends to establish Infinity engine v2.0 with PoE. Passion project my ass (OK, maybe a little but seriously...). They are hoping to capitalize on it big time by either making sequels or spin-offs themselves or licensing the engine to 3rd parties. They want all of the BG, Icewind Dale, PST multi-million $$$ action and then some. PoE is the showcase and if all goes well they'll make some major dough by laying the groundwork with PoE.

Good for them though that their "we're on bread and water, have a shirt to spare?" PR seems to be working on some people. They are going to need that kind of spin, too, when they return for second takings on KS.

You are aware that PoE uses Unity, right? An engine they are licensing themselves? I'm pretty sure they'd have trouble licensing it out to other developers. The reason they chose Unity instead of their own proprietary engine (Onyx) is because Unity is cheap, easy to use and has a great store where you can buy code and assets (cheaply) that save you a significant amount of time. Pretty much the exact opposite of creating their own engine for licensing purposes.

As for sequels and spin-offs... really? PoE is an untested IP. It may flop when it comes out. Obsidian would have to be moronic to assume that the game is going to sell millions and become a huge IP that would actually justify sequels and spin-offs.

Easy as pie to answer that one: Abandon the project and the business model since it didn't work out for them.

Except it did work out for them. They made enough money to fund the project and keep their people employed. That's a success for any studio. That said, a single successful Kickstarter doesn't guarantee a long-term revenue stream substantial enough to keep the studio afloat. Like I said before, if PoE has sold well enough by the time they finish their next project, maybe they won't need Kickstarter anymore. But that's at least two years away.

Obsidian have always been mercenaries. They'll get work for the team whether it's a Star Wars, Southpark, Fallout, Dungeon Siege or whatever RPG. Besides their teams always seem to be fluctuating a lot with a lot of crossover where e.g. dev A works on game A, B and C on and off depending on the phase of development that game A, B or C is in.

All independent studios are mercenaries. That hasn't stopped them from being shut down left and right because there isn't enough work to go around. As was stated in the interview, fewer and fewer publishers are signing projects with external developers. Almost all of the big games are handled internally, whether it's God of War, Halo, GTA, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Elder Scrolls, Watch_Dogs, etc.

This comment was edited on Apr 26, 2014, 05:01.
 
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15. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 04:47 CJ_Parker
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 04:25:
That logic is terribly flawed. Let's say that Obsidian did as you suggested. They finish PoE and release it. What if it sells poorly? What if the backers were the only ones interested in it?

Easy as pie to answer that one: Abandon the project and the business model since it didn't work out for them.

Now Obsidian is screwed because they have no revenue and nothing for the PoE devs to work on.

Obsidian have always been mercenaries. They'll get work for the team whether it's a Star Wars, Southpark, Fallout, Dungeon Siege or whatever RPG. Besides their teams always seem to be fluctuating a lot with a lot of crossover where e.g. dev A works on game A, B and C on and off depending on the phase of development that game A, B or C is in.
 
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14. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 04:38 CJ_Parker
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 03:04:
And you can be sure that in addition to the KS funds, they added whatever extra they had lying around. This is a passion project. They'll be lucky to cover that, especially in an era where no one wants to pay more than $5 for a game. It might be years before they make a profit, and you can guarantee it won't enough to fund their next game. Whatever they're doing next, if it's not mass market and publisher funded, they'll need to KS it.

This is bullshit, dude. Obsidian fully intends to establish Infinity engine v2.0 with PoE. Passion project my ass (OK, maybe a little but seriously...). They are hoping to capitalize on it big time by either making sequels or spin-offs themselves or licensing the engine to 3rd parties. They want all of the BG, Icewind Dale, PST multi-million $$$ action and then some. PoE is the showcase and if all goes well they'll make some major dough by laying the groundwork with PoE.

Good for them though that their "we're on bread and water, have a shirt to spare?" PR seems to be working on some people. They are going to need that kind of spin, too, when they return for second takings on KS.
 
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13. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 04:25 Jerykk
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:10:
No man, not gonna' freak. I simply choose not to back those who can easily fund their own projects and feel others should do the same. Plenty of people doing crowdfunding who actually really need the money. I find this very sleazy.

"Easily funds their own projects"? What makes you think Obsidian can easily fund their own projects? Do you think they're rolling in cash or something? Getting royalties from publishers is a very rare thing indeed, especially with rising budgets and other arbitrary criteria like Metacritic scores. In truth, most independent studios barely hang on from project to project. One canceled project is all it takes to shut down a studio these days. See TimeGate for a recent example of that. Human Head is probably going to shut down within the year after losing Prey 2. The fact that they've picked up TimeGate's scraps (Minimum) is a testament to their desperation.

Game development isn't cheap. $4 million might seem like a lot but it really isn't, even for a 2D, isometric CRPG. Sure, there are smaller indies making RPGs but those typically consist of tiny teams (1-3 people) willing to survive on cup ramen for years. If you want to provide a decent wage and benefits to a team of 10-20 people for over a year, that $4 million is going to disappear very quickly, especially in California (Obsidian's location) where the cost of living is high.

I'm often surprised by how little some people know about the games industry and development in general. So many flawed assumptions and baseless criticisms.

CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:48:
Agree with Cutter. Obsidian has used Kickstarter to fund PoE. That's fine but it needs to become self-sustaining from there on out. The whole point of KS should not be to raise money and burn it on a project with zero return on investment but to raise money and build a working business model from it.
Having to return to KS for more monies is a clear sign of incompetent leadership, poor budgeting and a profound lack of foresight.

I backed PoE but I'm sure as fuck not backing any other shit made by Obsidian. They need to create the new game from the income generated by PoE. Remember how all of this was supposed to be NOT like the publisher model? Here's a quick memo for starters: I'm not a cow. Don't try to milk me. Make your own milk. We fed you the clover. Now grow and prosper on your own.

That logic is terribly flawed. Let's say that Obsidian did as you suggested. They finish PoE and release it. What if it sells poorly? What if the backers were the only ones interested in it? Now Obsidian is screwed because they have no revenue and nothing for the PoE devs to work on. Even if it sells decently, Obsidian can't really afford to wait and see if it will make enough money to fund their next game. Employees need to get paid even if they aren't working on anything.

No, starting another Kickstarter project towards the end of PoE is exactly the right thing to do. If it succeeds, they'll have enough money to keep people working and they can immediately roll over devs who are finished with PoE. If PoE has sold well enough by the time their next project is finished, maybe they won't need Kickstarter again. But independent developers really can't afford to take a wait-and-see approach. They have to be pro-active and secure projects as quickly as possible.

This comment was edited on Apr 26, 2014, 04:39.
 
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12. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 03:06 NKD
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:10:
No man, not gonna' freak. I simply choose not to back those who can easily fund their own projects and feel others should do the same. Plenty of people doing crowdfunding who actually really need the money. I find this very sleazy.


If they could "easily fund their own projects" Obsidian probably wouldn't be stuck perpetually releasing buggy unfinished games on the timetable dictated by their publisher. Obsidian has been bitchslapped time and time again by the traditional publisher-developer relationship. If there's any company that should be looking at crowdsourcing, it's Obsidian.

You're one of the stupidest piles of dogshit walking this earth Cutter. You bitch time and time again about triple-A developers shipping underwhelming titles and asking full price. Whine whine whine. That's all you fucking do. But then you immediately turn around and bitch some more when some of the best existing talent in the industry wants to experiment with shedding the traditional publisher model.

Quote from Feargus: "OH I'M SORRY, WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO TRY SOMETHING NEW BECAUSE CUTTER DOESN'T APPROVE OF THE FACT THAT OUR STUDIO ISN'T BASED IN HIS MOTHER'S BASEMENT.

WE'VE HAD JOBS THAT DIDNT INVOLVE DELIVERING PIZZA SO WE'RE FOREVER BANNED FROM CHANGING OUR BUSINESS MODEL!"

What the fuck do you want them to do nimrod? Just stop making games? Resign themselves to be forever the bitch of some publisher like Sega and release some sequels to Alpha Protocol that never receive a single patch or bugfix?

jdreyer wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 03:04:
No, actually separate independent projects IS EXACTLY WHAT KICKSTARTER IS FOR. It's not to provide loans to start up companies. And it's immaterial if those projects are done by the same studio. PoE is by design, a nostalgic non-mass market product that will sell okay, but won't make them millions and millions of dollars over their cost.

That's exactly fucking right. Kickstarter is for getting a project launched. It may not even make that much of a profit. This is why we can't have anything nice. People finally start making some niche titles again, and everyone just shifts gears and bitches that the niche titles aren't profitable enough to indefinitely sustain more projects.

Holy fucking shit do these people even read what they post? You can't have it both ways. You can't have these smaller budget games tailored to a niche audience and expect the traditional business model to take off from there.

Is that what we really want? You want to Kickstart some company so they can just get in bed with some other publisher for the next fucking project?

This comment was edited on Apr 26, 2014, 03:12.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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11. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 03:04 jdreyer
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:48:
Agree with Cutter. Obsidian has used Kickstarter to fund PoE. That's fine but it needs to become self-sustaining from there on out. The whole point of KS should not be to raise money and burn it on a project with zero return on investment but to raise money and build a working business model from it.
Having to return to KS for more monies is a clear sign of incompetent leadership, poor budgeting and a profound lack of foresight.

I backed PoE but I'm sure as fuck not backing any other shit made by Obsidian. They need to create the new game from the income generated by PoE. Remember how all of this was supposed to be NOT like the publisher model? Here's a quick memo for starters: I'm not a cow. Don't try to milk me. Make your own milk. We fed you the clover. Now grow and prosper on your own.

No, actually separate independent projects IS EXACTLY WHAT KICKSTARTER IS FOR. It's not to provide loans to start up companies. And it's immaterial if those projects are done by the same studio. PoE is by design, a nostalgic non-mass market product that will sell okay, but won't make them millions and millions of dollars over their cost.

And you can be sure that in addition to the KS funds, they added whatever extra they had lying around. This is a passion project. They'll be lucky to cover that, especially in an era where no one wants to pay more than $5 for a game. It might be years before they make a profit, and you can guarantee it won't enough to fund their next game. Whatever they're doing next, if it's not mass market and publisher funded, they'll need to KS it.
 
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10. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 02:53 jdreyer
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:10:
No man, not gonna' freak. I simply choose not to back those who can easily fund their own projects and feel others should do the same. Plenty of people doing crowdfunding who actually really need the money. I find this very sleazy.

And I find people who call others sleazy without cause sleazy. Why do you think that Obsidian is rolling in cash? AAA game development is extremely expensive, and unless you're self-publishing and/or wildly successful (i.e. Blizzard) you basically live game to game and rely on publishers and other venture capitalists to fund you. NO ONE WOULD FUND Project Eternity, which is why they crowd funded it. Even then we're getting an A game, not an AAA game.

Obsidian is still making games the old-fashioned, publisher-funded way: South Park and Armored Warfare. If they had tried to crowd fund South Park, I would agree with you that it was sleazy. However, they're Kickstarting original IP of the kinds of games that don't get made anymore. The kind of games that no one else will fund, except game fans.

Fund it or not, it's your money, but your logic for not funding is flawed.
 
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9. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 02:29 El Pit
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 26, 2014, 01:10:
No man, not gonna' freak. I simply choose not to back those who can easily fund their own projects and feel others should do the same. Plenty of people doing crowdfunding who actually really need the money. I find this very sleazy.


My approach to this is: the people will fund what they like, so give them the choice. To me, it doesn't matter whether a part-time cab driver wants to develop his 8-bit sidescrolling dream game or Activision wants to fund another Call of Doodie game. Let them ask the gamers, and the gamers will open their wallets or show them the finger. That's why it's got nothing to do with cows: in this case, I, the cow, can decide whether I want to offer them some milk or not. If it's the wrong cheese, I won't.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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8. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 01:48 CJ_Parker
 
Agree with Cutter. Obsidian has used Kickstarter to fund PoE. That's fine but it needs to become self-sustaining from there on out. The whole point of KS should not be to raise money and burn it on a project with zero return on investment but to raise money and build a working business model from it.
Having to return to KS for more monies is a clear sign of incompetent leadership, poor budgeting and a profound lack of foresight.

I backed PoE but I'm sure as fuck not backing any other shit made by Obsidian. They need to create the new game from the income generated by PoE. Remember how all of this was supposed to be NOT like the publisher model? Here's a quick memo for starters: I'm not a cow. Don't try to milk me. Make your own milk. We fed you the clover. Now grow and prosper on your own.
 
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7. Re: Obsidian: New Kickstarter Hopefully This Year Apr 26, 2014, 01:10 Cutter
 
No man, not gonna' freak. I simply choose not to back those who can easily fund their own projects and feel others should do the same. Plenty of people doing crowdfunding who actually really need the money. I find this very sleazy.

 
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