Plane Sailing: Project Eternity Is Funded, & Then Some

By Alec Meer on September 17th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

What’s a Project Eternity? Don’t ask me, I’ve been away for a week. Apparently it’s terribly exciting though. So exciting that developers Obsidian have managed to talk the general public into giving them some $1.4 million to make their brand new fantasy RPG, handily exceeded the $1.1 million they were after and achieving it within a mere three days. Obsidian are very happy about this (it happened “quicker than anyone expected” say they), and are now talking about stretch goals. These include 1) promising to reduce the bug count to a mere 17,891 in the event they reach $11m 2) turning it into Alpha Protocol 2 if they reach $22m 3) no, no I’m just affectionately joshing, don’t get angry.

Already on the cards is a new playable race and attendant character creation options, plus a new companion, with more of that sort of thing plus Mac and Linux support promised if the cash mountain continues to grow. $2.4m will mean it will be released without DRM, which I guess means I can grumpily write PROJECT ETERNITY TO INCLUDE DRM now but come back and change this post later if the stretch goal is reached. IMPORTANT UPDATE: they’re actually only thinking about what to do about DRM, it’s not actually tied to stretch goals or confirmed or anything yet.

There’s all sorts of other in-game stuff scattered across the stretch goals, such as player housing at $2.0m and a new faction at $2.2m. I would imagine those funding goals will be cheerfully met without issue, if the current rate of exhilarated money-throwing continues, but it does seem a mite sad to be partitioning the game’s design so much even before it’s in active development. And, indeed, to be affixing pricetags to features, which sounds a bit like a conceptual microtransaction thing. “Add $200,000 for gnolls”. Still, brave new world and all that.

More stretch goals are promised, and you can see a man from Obisidian being very happy about the game’s take-up here.

Earnest bit: I’m very excited that this game is happening, and very keen to see what Obsidian can achieve unfettered by the demands of publishers, licenses and sequels.

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212 Comments »

  1. Lewie Procter says:

    Seems to me a bit of a not good thing to decide to put DRM on your game and then say “If we get enough money we’ll remove the DRM”.

    • Cerius says:

      DRM is not tied to a stretch goal Lewie. They are saying they look into it. Not “if we have enough money we’ll look into it”. Alec made a little mistake there.

      • undu says:

        I see no justification to release it with drm, after all players paid for the game to be created, give them more control over the game, not less.

        • Cerius says:

          I think they mean they will look into releasing it on Steam without Steam’s DRM.

          Which I think some other games did before.

          • atticus says:

            That’s what I thought as well. I guess a lot of people don’t necessarily think of Steam as DRM anymore, but there were a few negative comments about the game being a tied to Steam, so…

            From what I’ve read, this will be a title “in progress” well after release, so perhaps some kind of in-game updater tied to a license key or something like that will be DRM enough.

          • Javier-de-Ass says:

            pretty sure it means releasing it somewhere else without steam involved?

            initially they also wrote they are looking into other places to distribute it as well, I think. can’t be bothered to look it up. but think so. think so.

        • lordfrikk says:

          I prefer all my games to be on Steam, so for me it’s preferable even before no DRM. Yeah, I am weird like that.

        • Ansob says:

          Steam is DRM. Releasing a separate build that isn’t on Steam would require a little bit of repackaging or a lot of development (depending), thus cost money.

          • Premium User Badge

            Llewyn says:

            Sigh. Steamworks DRM is DRM, Steam is a distribution platform. A game cannot use Steamworks DRM without being distributed on Steam, but it can be distributed on Steam without using Steamworks DRM.

            Steam is not DRM.

          • Utnac says:

            But if your game is only available on steam, Steamworks or not then Steam is the DRM.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Llewyn:

            Making use of the Steam overlay mandatory where it shouldn’t is DRM.
            Even if it wasn’t, the distinction you’re making would be mostly hollow: Steam being the platform that enforces Steamworks, it gets to wear the brunt of the rejection.

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            Llewyn says:

            Selling things through a single online store is not DRM. Or are you people seriously claiming that a DRM-free sale through, say, Gamersgate also counts as enforced DRM?

            @Emeraude: I don’t follow you about the overlay.

          • nofing says:

            Steam overlay is not mandatory for all games, it’s only mandatory for Steamworks games.
            Just go to your SteamApps/common folder and start a non-Steamworks game from there (for example Bastion) and it will start up without any Steam “features”

          • Henson says:

            Okay, I’ve tried testing this on my compy. If I try launching Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, Hitman: Blood Money, or Mount & Blade (all non-Steamworks games) from the steamapps/common folder, it prompts steam to launch. I don’t see how I can run games like these without steam being active as well.

            Also, from what I’ve looked up, Bastion actually is a Steamworks game. Don’t know how you were able to launch it steam-free.

          • 2Ben says:

            Steam indeed is not DRM. Take VVVVV for example, you can run the .exe without any problem, Stean or no Steam.
            Take Dungeons of Dredmor, which even comes with a linux .sh, that obviously runs without any Steam DRM.
            The list goes on…

          • Premium User Badge

            Llewyn says:

            @Henson: But all of those are, when sold through Steam, Steamworks games. I think you might be confusing them with things like Civ V & Fallout NV which are also Steamworks games when sold in retail boxes.

          • kud13 says:

            only game I launch w/o Steam with no issues is UFO. and that’s launched through DosBox

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            Chuckaluphagus says:

            As nofing says, games can be sold and installed through Steam that don’t require Steam in order to run. Off the top of my head, Bastion, Dungeons of Dredmor, Ben There Dan That and Time Gentlemen, Please can all be played by navigating to their install folders and just double-clicking on the executable.

            Any classic games like X-COM that utilize Dosbox are also DRM-free.

            Publishers can choose to sell games via Steam without using the Steam DRM mechanisms at all.

          • Emeraude says:

            Let’s put it that way: will: people getting the boxed copy of the game be able to install it without installing Steam ?

          • InternetBatman says:

            They’re using the Dungeon Siege III Engine (Onyx?) which already has steamworks built in, so removing it would take a bit of time/cash.

          • Emeraude says:

            which already has steamworks built in

            Is this officially know or are you deducing this from the games that run on it for now ? (Been looking for tech news on the Onyx Engine since it was announced to no avail.)

          • InternetBatman says:

            Just guessing from Dungeon Siege III using Steam’s Cloudsaves. That’s a bit more integrated than just achievements or whatever.

    • Nick says:

      Yes it would be. Only they didn’t do that..

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Ah yes, it’s not tied to a stretch goal. Let’s hope they are successful in looking to to remove the DRM that they have added to the game.

      • Unaco says:

        What DRM?

      • NotGodot says:

        The DRM isn’t built into the game. It’s built into the distribution. Releasing without Steamworks DRM means releasing on different distribution platforms, including ones that Obsidian hasn’t had any real business relationship with before like GoG. So obviously there is going to be more work involved in releasing a version that isn’t bound to Steamworks DRM, you twit.

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      Phinor says:

      On the other hand this is the first project I backed because none of the previous games I was really interested in promised me a Steam key. If I put money into a project and only get a DRM free version, I will end up buying the game from Steam anyway thus pretty much paying twice for a single copy.

      Now obviously backing a project isn’t just about getting something, it is supposed to be about making the project reality. But still, who are we kidding here, a lot of us does it also for the rewards.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        As others have pointed out, you can get DRM-free games on steam.

      • dahools says:

        Why would you pay twice for it? Just and it to steam library once you have installed it, all the steam overlay, steam screenshot taker, friend chat etc will work fine.

        I play guild wars 2 through steam, so i doubt you would have a problem with it. Steam just starts the launcher then puts its overlay on top. I find no difference to playing GW2 than any other game in my steam library when launching it via steam.

        perhaps inviting into servers for multiplayer games will be off, but i don’t think project eternity is going to be that sort of game anyway.

        • Premium User Badge

          Phinor says:

          Shortcut just isn’t the same as having the game on Steam. It mostly functions the same but most of the community features are missing, easy install/delete options are missing, it doesn’t track your playing time or achievements and Steam has a bad habit of losing shortcuts every once in a while. Re-install Steam or Windows and you lose all of them unless you manually backup files etc.

          So in the end, I’d just buy it again on Steam.

          • dahools says:

            each to their own i suppose, i’m not a fan of hour tracking it just makes me realise how much of my life i’ve spent sat on my comp playing, and achievements unless rewarding in game (i.e unlocking something) don’t mean much to me. I remember playing Battlefield 3 loading into a map for literally the last 3 seconds before it changed, then going straight to the load screen and it giving me badges and points for my contribution? I was thinking my how things have changed, and how shit the series had gone, after a few maps i swiftly uninstalled. . .

            waste of 30 quid.

            The other stuff . . . start -control panel- uninstall is hardly a deal breaker for me.

    • 2late2die says:

      To be fair though, the DRM in question is Steam, which while technically DRM is still way way better than pretty much any other DRM system. In any case, it’d be nice to see a completely independent version of the game, but I’ll be playing through Steam anyway.

    • Lemming says:

      If Steam is DRM, then rig it up to my gonads because it is really not that big a deal. And before ANYONE rolls out the fucking usual:

      OFFLINE MODE WORKS. ITS ALSO 2012.

      I played on games on Steam last night with my router OFF. “Could not connect to the internet. Would you like to use use offline mode?” Why, Yes. yes I would. Thanks!

      • Kaira- says:

        >OFFLINE MODE WORKS

        Like it has always worked, eh? Also, I don’t see what the year has to do with supporting DRM, if anything we should be getting away from it.

        • Lemming says:

          No it hasn’t always worked, but it was found to be a Windows issue that Steam eventually had to work around. The 2012 reference was because it’s worked for a long time. The ‘offline mode doesn’t work’ argument became irrelevant over a year ago.

          • Kaira- says:

            It may seem that your sarcasm detector needs work. Offline mode still doesn’t work 100% reliably, as I’ve got to experience myself.

          • tobecooper says:

            It doesn’t work for me, too. But we’re clearly doing something wrong, Kaira, because it’s been fixed!

        • pupsikaso says:

          Since when has Steam’s off-line mode started working? I was without internet 2 days ago and steam did not work in offline mode.

      • razorramone says:

        I’m on windows vista and have never had a problem with Steam offline mode, for the 4 years i’ve been using it. The only time won’t work is if I lose my connection in the middle of an update, it will insist I first go online and finish the update.

        As for the game: Looking forward to it, but i’m getting a little tired of all the stretch goals on kickstarter, how about just set the goal higher for the “complete” game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    >>>if the cash mountain continues to grow. $2.4m will mean it will be released without DRM

    There’s some misunderstanding here, as far as I can see. Their page says: “2.4 million and beyond! Coming Soon!”

    The next paragraph, which isn’t talking about stretch goals mentions the drm:

    “We’ve been listening to your feedback, and have the following announcements:
    DRM Free: We are looking into it! Please check back for updates…”

  3. Bob says:

    “These include 1) promising to reduce the bug count to a mere 17,891 in the event they reach $11m 2)”
    Hehehe! That would be something I’d pay to see. Maybe the phrase: How Obsidian of them; would disappear from the internet.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Ahh yes, that well known internet catchphrase. Which exists once.

      On the entire internet.

      In that post.

      Where you made it up.

  4. Chris says:

    The great thing about this method of funding the development of a game is it cuts publishers out of the process.

    Developers can pitch the game THEY want to make, and gamers can fund the games they wish to play.

    And both developers and gamers can say a collective “FUCK YOU” to the serried ranks of sinister besuited philistines, who can get jobs elsewhere, or go suck an car’s exhaust, or jump off a tall building, or become investment bankers.

    • b0rsuk says:

      Quite.

      I like what Chris Avellone said: “We have to answer to gamers *anyway*.”

    • thestage says:

      I don’t know what to tell you if you don’t think collective-transactions, feature partitioning, pitches involving exact dollar amounts pulled from thin air, et al. aren’t 100% pulled from the playbook of publishers.

      now that the publishers are out of the way, they can do whatever they want! so long as they have the money, meet development goals in the face of an authoritative body, come up with a model that locks features and content behind pay-walls, produce exactly what the funders are looking for, kow-tow to strict demographics, etc.! and better even than any of that, the financial risk has been shuffled off to another entity–kind of like the publishing model!

      now that we’re Riding this Wave of Revolution, I got an even BIGGER idea: to get rid of all that greed in the corporate sector, to take back the means of production and truly empower the people in the face of the megalithic entities out to destroy them, I propose we transfer ownership of the producers of everything to the masses! here’s how it works: you pay some money to the people making the Things, and then you “own” a part of them, and they are beholden to you! they have to do things the way you see it! and get this, you can ever transfer your ownership share to other people, in a true market of the people! with the advent of this ‘stock market,’ all of our problems will vanish. eat that, fat cat.

      the only difference between publishers and crowd-sourcing is one of them tells you that you are important. and hell, that’s two things you like: the importance of yourself, and being told things. find the irony.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Good points, buried in bitterness.

        • thestage says:

          if my pure awesome always tasted great you’d end up with an insulin pump and a defib

      • tetracycloide says:

        You seem to be completely ignoring the biggest difference between publishers and crowdfunding, in crowdfunding the ‘funders’ and ‘consumers’ are the same and because they are the same the things you list as ‘the same’ as the publisher model aren’t actually the same at all. Even though the phrasing can be identical the meaning has changed. For example: they don’t have to use a paywall at all because they don’t have to pay anyone back later for money they’re borrowing now. The investors are the consumers so they only thing they need at the end is a product which is different from needing a product that makes enough money to pay back your investors. It also doesn’t matter that they have to produce exactly what the funders are looking for for the same reason: the funders expect a product at the end as compensation for their investment not a RoI and the product they expect is at least similar to the one being pitched. It’s limiting in the sense that you can’t just make sweeping adjust to your vision as you develop but it’s liberating in the sense that you don’t have to pay anyone back. You’re also wrong about the financial risks being shuffled off to the backers, did you even read the ToS on kickstarter? They’re legally obligated to provide the promised rewards or a refund. Sure, there are ways to get out of that legally but they’re not cost free.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lars Westergren says:

        > now that the publishers are out of the way, they can do whatever they want! so long as they have the money,

        Yes, unless you are expecting people to work for free for you amusement, money is generally involved in most things.

        > meet development goals in the face of an authoritative body,

        What authorative body? Themselves?

        > come up with a model that locks features and content behind pay-walls,

        These are not features created yet, so they aren’t “locked away”. They don’t exist. Creating them cost money.

        But even if they were “locked away” – Oh no, a company wanting money in exchange for a good? The horror, you should go to the UN court of human rights about this atrocity.

        > produce exactly what the funders are looking for, kow-tow to strict demographics, etc.!

        When Obsidian discussed the possibility of a Kickstarter earlier this year, they said that “single player RPGs with a strong narrative is what we are good at, the game will be that no matter what. Now, what else would you like to see?”
        If you don’t like what they are striving for, you don’t have to pledge anything. Are you implying that they are populist sellouts or something? If so, wouldn’t they announce something a bit more Call of Duty-ish, or a free-to-play online game?

        > and better even than any of that, the financial risk has been shuffled off to another entity–kind of like the publishing model!

        Do you really think putting a whole team on a several year project is free of risk for a company? The people could be put on other, more commercially popular products. They are probably using up some of their own saved up money.

        All in all it just feels like a incoherent rant against capitalism.

        • tetracycloide says:

          I’d say you can go so far as to drop the ‘feels like’ the third and longest paragraph literally is an incoherent rant against capitalism.

      • Jenks says:

        “…produce exactly what the funders are looking for, kow-tow to strict demographics…”

        Thank God.

  5. Hunchback says:

    Gotta give it to them, the introduction video is really damn well made.

    Seeing the creative history of these guys, i hope they manage to produce something as awesome as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Arcanum…

  6. Premium User Badge

    Yachmenev says:

    Unneccessary joke about bugs, but since I was told not go get angry, I guess I shouldn´t be that.

    :) <- smiley

    • Optimaximal says:

      I’m sure everyone accepts Obsidian’s games are buggy for a reason, but surely the point is ‘they launch games that can be quite buggy’…

      Heck, I bet every member of staff would begrudgingly agree.

      • Keeper_Deven says:

        Indeed. This is from the $140 level pledge at the Kickstarter page: ‘Game patches are a tradition at Obsidian, and we want to share that tradition with you!’

        But they promise: ‘I think you’ll find that this game will get tested very well. We control the testing this time around and we are not going to ship until the game is solid.’

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    “Looking into” DRM-free? Surely you don’t need to look into it, since DRM-free is an absence and absences don’t need any effort to not-fill? I guess they mean in a legal sense or something.

    • Cerius says:

      Depends on what platforms you distribute the game. I know that previous games had the “looking into DRM free” as well.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      To me, they said “We will be updating everyone on DRM very soon. We are not trying to be cagey or anything – so you know. In part it’s a logistical question, which we want to have figured out.”

      I assume this is being sent en masse.

      I don’t really know what that means regarding “logistical question”, but perhaps that means they’re having to figure out if that means DRM for no one at all, or no DRM for backers, or what. For example, they could try to watermark the versions being provided to backers, or give them infinitely reusable cd-key equivalents, hoping that it will be enough to delay the piracy wave on release.

      In any event, I will wait and see. If the release goes entirely DRM free, I may double my contribution. If there’s any form of real DRM on the version backers get, my contribution will go to zero.

      • Cerius says:

        logistical = plattforms they will distribute it in this case makes the most sense

        • Delusibeta says:

          Aye, I’d wager the reason they haven’t announced “we’ll be releasing a DRM free version” yet is that they want someone else to handle the cost of serving the downloads (and putting the server back up after it falls over on release date) and thus I would not be surprised if they’re currently negotiating with GOG to do exactly that.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think the default online distribution system is Steam, with other platforms as and when agreements can be reached.

      “It’ll be on Steam. Oh, and other places when we get around to talking to people.”

      • Ragnar says:

        Right. And they’ve worked with Steam before. Any non-Steam distribution is going to be something new, and they (quite reasonably) need to look into just what distribution on GoG or whatever would entail before committing to it.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Makariel says:

    I know it’s early for a Monday and reading is tricky sometimes, but the DRM or lack thereof has nothing to do with the stretch goals.

  9. HexagonalBolts says:

    I think their stretch goals are a little on the dull side… Does it really take $200,000 for someone to make a little room where the NPCs in your party go? I guess the extra money will just mean extra polish. I thought that planetary annihilation got the stretch goals just right.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      Actually no, I think Planetary Annihilation is underselling themselves.

      only 200k for a meta game, that ties in perfectly with the rest of it? thats cheap.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        That goal was $300k beyond the previous goal, not $200k.

        But I still tend to agree with you that it seems like a smallish amount for that, but then the whole thing seems to be running on a tight budget.

    • atticus says:

      I agree that they could have elaborated more on what they mean by each goal.

      Player housing could be, as you put it, a little room where the NPC’s in your party go, but it could also mean a variety of different possibilities tied to race and class, and also a bunch of new quests tied to it.

      Hopefully they’ll give more detailed descriptions and specifications soon.

    • Premium User Badge

      FunktionJCB says:

      People take stretch goals too literally. As they said already, it’s not as if it costs $200.000 to add housing to the game, these are basically incentives for people to pledge, because people expect to see additional goals.

      The game is still in early concept stages, so a lot of things can change, including the number of locations/companions/(…).
      What they can do, and what they promised to do with additional funds, is to have more people making the game, and add more content. What exactly, I’m sure not even they know, it’s something that they will have to work out as they develop the title.

      To quote some info J.E. Sawyer posted elsewhere:
      «The problem inherent with this is that we’re still very early in development. Designing systems takes time. I would rather be general and risk some frustration than be specific at this stage in the process.»

      That’s why the stretch goals are so “generic”, they were posted because people expect Kickstarter campaigns to have some, but again since the content they would make with $1.1 million was never fully defined, it’s very subjective to say what they will add to the game with more funds, because even they don’t know it yet. :D

      Since they don’t have much to show, due to the game’s early planning stages, they probably would be better focusing on showing some interviews with the team as updates, to show who they are and what they have done, definitely their greatest strength.

    • Yosharian says:

      Yay for people that don’t understand how games are developed.

      • HexagonalBolts says:

        Yosharian you are why I hate internet discussion forums, but cheers for the informative comments everyone else

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > Does it really take $200,000 for someone to make a little room where the NPCs in your party go?

      Edit: Missed which goal you were talking about.

      Well, if you look at the Stronghold of Neverwinter Nights 2, it had a lot of extra questlines, money you could pour into it, defences you could upgrade, merchants and others to recruit…

      Alpha:Protocol had trophies or memorabilia from the events in the game appear in the safehouse as the game progressed.

      I’m sure they will tie the “housing” of Project Infinity into the gameworld and plotline with their usual thematic complexity, not just slap a building onto the map and call it a day. This costs money.

      • Ragnar says:

        There’s also the complexity inherent in designing content. For example, say you need to design the outside of a player house.

        What people think happens:
        1) Graphics artist designs a player house. Done.

        What may actually happen:
        1) Concept artist makes a black & white concept outline.
        2) 2D artist colors the aproved concept outline.
        3) 3D artist makes a 3D model based on the colored concept.

    • Deano2099 says:

      I like that they’re not that well planned out, seem a big vague, and only go up to 2.2 million at the moment. It suggests to me that they set the original target at what they needed to make the actual game they want to make, which is why it was so high.

      With the likes of Broken Sword and Planetary Annihilation, you got the impression that all the stretch goals were planned in advance, that they’d asked the minimum amount possible to make *something* to guarantee they’d stay in business, and the actual real goal was much higher.

      Obsidian seem genuinely shocked they hit the target so quickly, and seem to be scrambling for what else they could add to given an incentive to people to keep giving them money. I like that.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I don’t know, a lot of them seem more realistic than the offer the sun and the moon approach that other developers give. JE Sawyer said that he would really like to do a stronghold instead of player housing, but it takes a lot of work to integrate properly. By itself, porting their engine to Mac and Linux (which will be good for them in the long run), will probably take a lot of time.

  10. Zanchito says:

    I liked Alpha Protocol quite a lot!

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      So do I!

      No other game properly reacts to your character being a total creep (I’m looking at YOU Mass Effect)

    • povu says:

      Me too. The shooting was a bit clunky and the stealthy approach was often not viable because of forced combat encounters, cheating AI with regards to detecting you, and linear level design, but the dialogue and choices were nice. Even if it was hard to tell what you were going to say sometimes.

      A flawed gem for sure.

      • Ragnar says:

        So it sounds like if you set the difficulty to easy so that the combat won’t get in your way, you’re left with a good Role Playing game where you can actually play a role.

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      I didn’t know what to expect from Alpha Protocol, since I’d heard a lot of conflicting rumour, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also loved how I could give the guy a goatee and glasses and that made him look a bit like me (if I was a buff super-spy). :D

    • Buemba says:

      Me too. I’d love to see a sequel someday that fixed the unremarkable shooting and featured maps with more entrypoints and options for stealth. AP has probably my favorite implementation of the dialogue wheel and I really felt like my choices were having a profound influence in the story, unlike most games.

    • NarcoSleepy says:

      I rather liked Alpha Protocol as well. It certainly did not deserve the huge helpings of hate heaped on it. (read that 10 times fast)

  11. Worcanna says:

    Jokes aside, what are the chances that the game will be 1/ feature complete and 2/ at least playable by the people who buy it without fan interaction within a month. I understand why people flock to Obsidian, the black isle tie and the feeling of great things in the past is great but could they maybe finish and fix a game. Once. Ever. :( That would be great and maybe id not feel like i’ve wasted my money so much. *sighs*

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      > but could they maybe finish and fix a game. Once. Ever. :(

      I don’t know how many times this has to be refuted. Dungeon Siege 3 was a finished, polished, almost completely bug-free game which they delivered on time.

    • Droniac says:

      Once. Ever. Really?

      I count five. With Dungeon Siege 3 (unfortunately their least enjoyable game) and NWN 2: Mask of the Betrayer (an amazing RPG) being near flawless releases. And then NWN 2, NWN 2: Storms of Zehir, and Fallout: New Vegas all having received massive post-launch support.

      That leaves just Alpha Protocol and Knights of the Old Republic 2.
      The former is enjoyable despite being a total mess.
      The latter needs community mods to be at its best form, but even without those still trashes its critically acclaimed predecessor in every regard, especially on PC.

      Something tells me it’s more than nostalgia that makes people like Obsidian games.

      • malkav11 says:

        KOTOR 2 was literally released ahead of schedule by the publisher. We’ll never know if it would have been complete and polished with the originally agreed upon amount of time, but there is absolutely no way kicking it out the door months early helped. And FWIW, I didn’t find Alpha Protocol to be “a mess” at all. I had maybe two bugs: one mission claimed I’d killed people I shouldn’t have (which I did not), and if I reloaded off the same save several times in a row the game would lock up. The latter was concerning but ultimately I solved it by just letting the game ride – I was reloading to try and fix my choices and consequences, not because I was dying a lot. And that’s not in the spirit of the game, really.

        • Ragnar says:

          I’ve heard that Alpha Protocol’s combat, and things having to do with the combat, were a complete mess. Bad AI, pathing issues, etc. Which isn’t to say that you couldn’t enjoy the game, just that you needed to disregard the combat to do so.

          FWIW, I didn’t encounter any bugs in KOTOR 2. It may have been unfinished, but it was playable.

  12. Cytrom says:

    And now we got ‘Macrotransactions’ in games too… yaay.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Explain how this has anything to do with microtransactions?

  13. povu says:

    I know some people are thinking ‘hey now that they don’t have a publisher pushing them to release the game they won’t have to release a buggy game early’ but on the other hand, if the Kickstarter money runs out they’ve got nobody to ask for more money to polish the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Well, that’s not strictly true. Nothing about kickstarter prevents them from asking for more money later. Of course, it’s unclear how a second round of kickstarting would fare. It may well be that a publisher might be willing to put forth a significant investment for a “nearly certain thing”, and the stuidio might be in a better bargaining position, making the kickstarter not in vain.

    • Emeraude says:

      Yeah. I’m a bit worried on that one.

      This is the probably the only shot Obsidian will get at proving once and for all how much of their past problems were due to publisher meddling rather their own doing, and to finally get a solid IP to own and ultimately flourish from.

      They’re going to have to do it on string budget, within a very limited time frame, and for an audience of opinionated fans who each individually know exactly what they want, but can’t collectively see eye to eye.

      The pressure must be unbearable.

    • Ragnar says:

      They don’t ask the publisher for Q&A money. Generally, the publisher handles Q&A, no asking required. If you’re under the assumption that the publisher will take care of Q&A, you don’t devote time and resources to it.

      Now, they’re responsible for Q&A along with development, and thus can budget time and resources for Q&A.

      Making a game for a publisher is a contractual obligation. You want the game to be 1) on time, 2) within budget, and 3) a quality product. Industry vets will say that a well managed game will only be two out of three, and that when dealing with a new publisher, #1 and #2 are more important. Without a publisher mandating a release date, they can focus on #2 and #3.

  14. foop says:

    I think “Add $200,000 for gnolls” should be mandatory for every Kickstarter. Even for people trying to Kickstart a range of condiments.

  15. SlyTheSly says:

    I really do NOT like this “stretch goals” fashion…
    Give me a well made game and don’t take too long to deliver it, that’s all I’m asking. If making the game is actually cheaper that you expected, or if you got much more money than you were asking, well good for you ! It does not MEAN you HAVE to spend it now, or spend time adding new features.
    I don’t need people to overwork, I don’t need hiring dozens of employees to add features, if a feature is good then put it in the game ANYWAY, it it is not, drop it.

    • povu says:

      “It does not MEAN you HAVE to spend it now”

      Does it? People are putting money in kickstarting this project, you’d think they can’t just put extra cash in the bank for future projects.

      That’s the strange thing with kickstarter I’ve always wondered. What if you want to kickstart a project, but you get more than you could possibly spend on it?

      • SlyTheSly says:

        Well, you could call it “benefits”, no ? In some way, you’re buying the game too, even if it’s not made yet. It could be like when you’re having a house built, for example (just imagine you paid 100% of the construction fee before it begins).

        But anyway we all know Obsidian. First tey should use this “extra” money to release a CLEAN game.
        They can also use the extra money to give a bonus to people working on it, just saying…

        • Emeraude says:

          Well, you could call it “benefits”, no ?

          My understanding is that no, you couldn’t. That money is a donation whose express purpose happens to be the completion of the project defined on the Kickstarter page.
          As such, yes, I do think there should be a mechanism to enforce a maximum to donations to prevent promise creep (not that Kickstarter has any incentive to put that into play, given they get a commission in percentage of the total money raised – that and the rarity of the case).

          That being said, I don’t really like the fact that, in the mind of a portion of the backing community, the stretch goals are becoming an expected standard (as soon as this project hit its goal, people started clamoring for them). Not all projects give themselves well to that kind of prospection.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Kickstarter would likely happily turn off donations once a project reached it’s goal, if it wasn’t for the fact that that would lead loads of people complaining that a product got funded too quickly and they missed out on the goodies. Once a product reaches the goal, you’re not funding it by backing it any more. It’ll happen without you. Just wait and buy it when it comes out. If you don’t want to for whatever reason, that’s your issue.

          • Emeraude says:

            “Kickstarter would likely happily turn off donations once a project reached it’s goal, if it wasn’t for the fact that that would lead loads of people complaining that a product got funded too quickly and they missed out on the goodies.”

            The thing is it’s not Kickstarter’s place to refuse donations. All the company would have to do is make available the tools for the creators of projects to do so if deemed necessary.

            Again, they have no incentive to do so, and it’s in no way anything but an edge case anyway.

          • suibhne says:

            Deano, why do you think KS would “happily” turn off funding past achievement of goals? That makes no sense – they’d be turning off their entire revenue model. KS wants everyone to give as much money as possible, because this funds KS on a percentage basis.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            “That money is a donation whose express purpose happens to be the completion of the project defined on the Kickstarter page.”

            Yeah but don’t be naive, they are pocketing this money. It’s mostly salary, so yeah, if they make way more than they need their salaries just got way bigger.

          • Ragnar says:

            I don’t think that’s the case here at all. Particularly not in a game studio.

            First, I believe the funding amount they listed is literally the minimum they would need to make the game. Back in 2010, an experienced dev would be given $1-3 million by the publisher to make a game. It’s now 2012, and costs have risen significantly.

            Second, they design the scope of the game based on the budget. The larger the budget, the larger the scope of the game, the higher the perceived quality by the gamers. Investing as much money as they can into making Project Eternity a success would benefit them more, in the long run, then pocketing the difference now.

            Third, even if they did come in under budget, any left-over money would be stacked away in a bank account to help the studio survive dry periods between projects, or to allow them to finance future projects themselves.

            No one goes into making games for the “big bucks”.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Well no. If a product has reached its goal on Kickstarter and has no stretch goals, as far as I’m concerned it’s just fine for the developer to pocket the rest of the cash.

        If a product is past it’s goal, has no stretch goals, and you’re funding it, then you’re the idiot. The only reason you’d possibly do that is if you wanted one of the rewards quite a bit (common with games, as it’s often a way to get the game cheaper than on release). But at that point you’re not kickstarting anything, you’re buying a product.

      • wodin says:

        It’s called profit…fucking hell these people aren’t making these games for fun you know..

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          There would probably still be some (rather small if digitally distributed) variable costs, so I’d just call it ‘a sale’.

    • Ragnar says:

      The funding amount is the minimum required to make the game. Any money contributed after that helps them make a better game. The better the game, the greater the sales. The greater the sales, the more they have in profits since they were able to crowd-fund the development and thus aren’t paying back the dev. So the more money they pour into development now, the more money they stand to make after release.

      The stretch goals are there just to give backers a reason to contribute more.

  16. pakoito says:

    Needs documentary/tech posts like Double Fine Adventure/Project Red. Seeing stuff from the other side and being able to follow tech/art progress is what sold me the game.

    I have started looking into Moai myself.

  17. Javier-de-Ass says:

    would love Alpha Protocol 2

  18. Hoaxfish says:

    I’m getting a tiny bit annoyed by some of the backer comments… especially the ones who are making the mistake of getting Bioware games (or Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls, or even Blizzard’s Diablo) confused with Obsidian/Troika/Black Isle games.

    The peak of this is the requests for “romance” (I’m guessing from fans of modern Bioware), and co-op (mostly in reference to NWN).

    I suspect it’s because a number of them have never actually played any of the games the actual people involved are known for.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      hehe. reminds me of the wasteland2 forums/kickstarter comments

    • MSJ says:

      Neverwinter Nights 2 and Alpha Protocol both had romance subplots. Mask of The Betrayer had some pretty good ones, as I recall.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Yes, but I question the priority some people put on it, especially when they appear to rate how good of an RPG it is by the number of people (and other things) you can “romance” (if, when, who, what, and how!).

        When it feels like you’re reading someone’s sexual fantasy as a “just my suggestion” it’s a little too far in for me.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          To be fair, a game where you could romance a rowing boat could be quite interesting.

      • Ragnar says:

        There was romance in Planescape: Torment too.

        There’s a difference between romance and a dating sim. Maybe what you’re seeing is not people who want Bioware romances, but instead people who want Obsidian romances? People who believe that there’s a place for romance in RPGs, but it should be done right, and trust Obsidian to do so?

    • malkav11 says:

      Torment’s the only Infinity Engine game that didn’t support coop, as far as I know. So it’s not like these are unprecedented. That said, I didn’t think coop was particularly well integrated into those games and I’d rather they concentrate their efforts on making a good singleplayer game because those only require -me- to be interested, not me and 1+ friends.

    • Droniac says:

      To be fair, both romance and co-op have featured in a majority of Obsidian’s games (4 out of 7 for both). So you can’t really attribute requests for such features to people confusing Obsidian for another studio. It does say Obsidian on the kickstarter page, not Troika/Black Isle.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        It’s not so much that I’m assuming a misidentification because of some vague requests, but literally “like you did in BG2″ (“you” the developer, not the player), “like in NWN” type sentences that pop up occasionally.

        Some of it can simply be attributed to referencing related games that the person has played (rather than games from the back-catalog that they have not), to anchor their suggestion in an existing example, but a lot of it strikes me as completely the opposite philosophy that Obsidian+ put out (e.g. people asking for Skyrim-like open worlds, where Obsidian+ games are generally much tighter on plots in a similar vein to CD Projekt).

    • Wizardry says:

      Yes, I agree. Romances were shit in Treasures of the Savage Frontier, they were shit in Baldur’s Gate II and they were shit in all cRPGs that have had them since then. I don’t know why romances have gained such prominence within cRPGs, since they are effectively the same thing as romancing other people’s characters in a pen and paper campaign. I only know two people who attempted to do this in my pen and paper days, and both of them failed to get an invite to later sessions. It’s beyond creepy.

      There are plenty of Japanese dating sims out there for lonely individuals looking for some pixelated loving though, so the absence of romances in cRPGs won’t exactly deprive them of companionship.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        For some people, it gives greater depth to the characters. Makes them more well rounded. You obviously don’t agree, and that’s fine. But thinking that the romances actually add to the game is also fine.

        Of course, you don’t need to chase after the relationships in these games. Plenty of dialogue options, so the presence of romances in cRPGs won’t exactly deprive you of everything else the game has.

  19. Deadly Habit says:

    Why did you have to joke about Alpha Protocol 2… I was preparing to rob a bank!

  20. yazman says:

    I don’t get it. Where’s all this talk about DRM coming from? DRM isn’t even mentioned anywhere on the Kickstarter page or in its FAQ.

    • Emeraude says:

      I think the problem just comes from the fact that Obsidian did not flat out announce the game DRM free, which gave many people pause, and then upon inquiry from backers on the subject, just answered with that sibylline “DRM Free: We are looking into it!” line, which I guess actually raised more concerns than it calmed people.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It is, they say they’re looking at it being DRM free.

    • kud13 says:

      They said it’s on Steam. So, people are asking for a DRM-free version.

  21. Emeraude says:

    I think what they need right now is release a vision document – something that presents the world and, even more importantly, the specific problems (gameplay or story wise) they wish to tackle with that project., give people reasons to want the game they’re making for itself specifically, and not because of its lineage.

    Personally feel incredibly compelled by the very first lines of their original video. That thematic alone sold me on the project.

  22. Maxheadroom says:

    Sounds neat. Here’s hoping we get so see a gameplay trailer featuring awkward digitised sex scenes and generic rawk music sometime soon

  23. D3xter says:

    They’d probably have 2+ Million now if they didn’t right up screw up both the “stretch goals” and the updates like they did xD

  24. Caiman says:

    What I don’t get is why they apparently came up with the stretch goals in a rush after the goal was hit in a day. Presumably Obsidian are aware of the level of demand for this kind of thing or they would’t have created the Kickstarter anyway, so why not spend an extra half day or more before you launch thinking out the stretch goals perfectly. For them to hit the goal was a no brainer, even if it went faster than they cared to admit.

    Of course, after blaming bugs and unfinished products on publisher interference in the past, we all expect Project Eternity to be… well, not bug free because that would be a tall order for an ambitious RPG, but at least not broken or incomplete.

    • Emeraude says:

      Actually, If Sawyer’s comments on SA are to be believed, they only though they had a “50% chance” to succeed in reaching their goal. And I can, sadly, totally believe that. As such I do find it plausible they are taken by surprise by how fast they did it.

  25. InternetBatman says:

    I’m a backer, and I still think they could be doing better with the kickstarter. They should be more transparent about DRM, talk about the player race and class combinations that you’ll get as stretch goals, pick out a new $5000 pledge, have stretch goals that extend beyond 2.4 million, be doing a ton of interviews, and release their internal tool set for the game (which as an internal tool doesn’t have to be nearly as polished as NWN).

    I believe they were caught flatfooted by their own success when they need to be working. Opinion about Obsidian is so polarized, and it’s telling that the ratio of backers day to day is lower right now than other similarly high profile projects.

    Just get a community manager on the kickstarter, talk more, if the DRM they are talking about is Steamworks, say so.

    • Cerius says:

      The Kickstarter started friday.

      Friday.

      It’s been three days.

      Which were the weekend.

      Despite popular belief the people at Obsidian are not magicans.

      • D3xter says:

        Nothing to do with Magicians, but proper planning. Even if they didn’t expect the first goal to be hit so fast they should have had Updates and further goals etc. ready to go (at least up to 3 Million) before they did the KickStarter.

        Just look at Planetary Annihilation, they had a professional campaign with everything thought out just in case before they started, including pictures etc. showing the progress and Updates: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/659943965/planetary-annihilation-a-next-generation-rts

        Instead apparently Obsidian was caught with their pants down, posted a short “Thank you” and had like two people make up “stretch goals” on a Saturday because they didn’t expect to hit 1.1 Million so fast.

        Not only that, but they’ve even managed to somewhat lower the enthusiasm of people with some of the goals, since they make the project seem somewhat limited.

        If they had handled this better they’d be sitting at 2 Million+, but instead to this moment they’ve only managed to somewhat confuse people and we don’t even know if it’ll be a Fantasy or “Steampunkish” setting or really any details other than “like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment”.

        • Cerius says:

          They wouldn’t sit at 2 Million at all. That’s not how any kickstarter, even DoubleFine’s worked so far.

          And again, it’s the weekend. It’s probably a sure thing that they didn’t plan to reveal related things on a sunday. We have NO IDEA what they have planned to show us. Do you really think they have suddenly no plan anymore.

          No.

          • D3xter says:

            They would, just compare it with Wasteland 2:
            http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity/#chart-daily
            http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2#chart-daily

            They’ve had a much stronger start with almost double the number of backers and incredible hype due to people waiting for the announcement, making a lot more money the first and second days but suddenly dropped below Wasteland 2 levels right when the disappointing/uninspiring Update(s) came out which are plain text, don’t say anything about the game and rather make it seem somewhat simple in scope, and they need to do something about that and tell people more about their plans / be better at updating and communicating if they want to fix that.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Wasteland 2 went: First day funding, 84% of that, 64% of that, 45%, and then it reached a maintenance level that stayed relatively close to 40k. If they had that pattern they’d be at 1.6m at the start of today.

            Shadowrun Returns went: first day, 72%, 46%, 66%, then reached maintenance of 40K. If the followed that they’d have started today with 1.54m.

            Project Eternity went first day, 68%, 40%, and they began with more famous names on board and a far more successful recent group of recent releases than the other two combined. It started today with 1.38m.

          • Cerius says:

            Yeah…. no

            You’re kinda completly forgetting that all of these started at different times of the day and in comparison to Obsidian’s game weren’t really hyped up before the kickstarter.

            Not to mention that a kickstarter that has a much higher pledge amount in the beginning naturally drops percentual more than a kickstarter that didn’t make as much.

        • Deano2099 says:

          Or maybe, just maybe, they’re not that bothered about wringing as many pennies out of people’s pockets for the project as humanely possible? Maybe they just asked for the money they wanted to make the game as designed and don’t want to weigh it down with a ton of extra shit just to have stretch goals. Maybe they’re content to be able to afford to pay themselves and their staff a decent wage for long enough to make the game they want.

          And maybe then they’ll make another Kickstarter for a new game once it’s done.

          That people are criticising a company for not trying to get as much money as possible is horrid. The only reason a lot of Kickstarters do so well with stretch goals is that they par back the project to the minimum they could possibly need to do something, then set the target for the ‘actual’ game as they’d like to realise it as a huge stretch goal. Obsidian just asked for what they needed for the damn game. Like you’re meant to.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I’m criticizing their openness, engagement, and efficiency, and only using the percentages as a metric of the effectiveness of their kickstarter. I was a backer and am proud of it; I think they’ll make a dynamite game. The Kickstarter could be better though.

            Three races and five classes is not a huge amount for an RPG. That’s humans, dwarves, elves for the races. Fighters, wizards, clerics, paladins, and rogues subbing any class for paladin are the classes. That is not a ton of customization compared to the games they’re invoking (besides Planescape), and the games they’ve made in the past. NWN 2 had 12 base classes, and the first 4e book was criticized for only having 8. I’m not saying that this game needs nearly as many classes, but 5 is not very many. The fact that they were so quick to add them is possibly evidence that the game would not be as completed/expansive as they might like without them.

            If you’re gonna do something, do it well. I’m not complaining that they’re not getting enough money. I’m saying that they would and should have more to work with if they updated and were more engaged with their kickstarter; we all would benefit from that. Is it so wrong to suggest that they post a congratulations / thank you within an hour of breaking a stretch goal (unless it’s in the middle of the night)?

            Finally, despite how tempting kickstarter is as a storefront, it really shouldn’t be one. It’s unfair to customers to use it regularly, and it’s an unreliable money raising tool. crowdfunding should remain a last resort method, not a first.

          • Ragnar says:

            I agree with you that they could be doing a better job on the kickstarter. But your class argument is unfounded. For Planescape, Icewind Dale, and NWN they were handed the classes by the D&D licenses.

            Now they’re doing their own IP, thus creating their own classes, and I would hope they’re going to make more interesting classes than fighter, mage, thief, cleric, paladin.

            Though, honestly, I could care less about the classes. The things that were the most memorable about Planescape were the writing, story, characters, interactions, and the setting, and those are the things I hope they focus on.

  26. noodlecake says:

    This, to me, just proves how people don’t like originality or innovation in their games. I read the original article about this being kickstarted and it just sounds like they are making a game that is a clone of the most overdone PC genre of the 90′s. Why not just buy the new edition of Baldur’s Gate and spend money funding something new? I have more respect for whoever developed Dragon Age 2 because at least they tried a load of new ideas rather than sticking with what they knew was a safe bet.

    • Emeraude says:

      That or people like originality and innovations in their games, but still want some older forms to endure and refine over time ?

      Not ALL game released can be innovative game changers that revolutionize the market.
      There is also something to be said of the quality of a robust traditional product – especially when said tradition has left on the wayside for the best part of a decade.

    • InternetBatman says:

      How would Baldur’s Gate Extended Edition be more new than new IP? It’s a remake. Also, there were just five infinity engine ATB games: Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale 2. That’s not exactly overproduced.

      After that ATB isometric games were Arcanum, NWN plus two expansions, and NWN 2 plus two expansions, then Dragon Age and expansion. That’s one and a half of these games per year, which is pretty small for an entire genre, especially since NWN wasn’t even party based.

      Finally, you’re mistaking changing genres to innovation and originality. Action RPGs are not better than ATB games or turn-based games, merely different ways of solving the same problem.

      • noodlecake says:

        Really? It seems like a lot considering they play almost identically. I hope they do something modern and interesting with this. There are also loads of other games that are similar like Avadon and the millions of Avernum games. I dunno. When I play games I want to see that the developers are trying to do something interesting and unique with their games (Like FTL) or at least taking a lot of pre-existing elements and marrying them together in an interesting way with a distinct visual style like Darksiders 2.

        This just seems pointless to me. If somebody brought out a game that played and looked very similar to Final Fantasy VII I wouldn’t buy it because, even though I really loved that game, it feels incredibly dated now. And if I did want to play it it would be better to just play the original than some game that copies every convention.

        That being said I could be completely wrong and they could just be pretending that this is a generic 90′s PC RPG clone and then actually inject some kind of unique twist that makes it a bit more distinct.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Avadon and Avernum are turn based. The difference in genres is fairly large.

      • noodlecake says:

        I like a lot of RPGs. Turn based or otherwise. Final Fantasy VII plays a lot differently to X even though it’s just based on a very similar combat model.

        I’m not saying I think it will definitely be bland and boring. I’m saying that there is nothing there to suggest that there are any unique ideas there and personally it worries me that this is getting so much more funding than lots of games made by developers who are willing to take some risks conceptually.

        • Ragnar says:

          I have to ask, did you ever play Planscape: Torment? Because I can’t think of a game with more personality, or that felt more unique. What game has characters that are more unique and interesting than Planescape, let alone more interesting and involved character interactions?

          I’m funding this project because I want a spiritual successor to Planescape. I want a game that has as much personality, and is equally unique and interesting. I couldn’t care less about what combat system they decide to use.

    • D3xter says:

      So sorry, I guess you missed the likes of Castle Story, Faster Than Light, Code Hero, Banner Saga etc. getting funded then?

      Dragon Age 2 was a piece of EA garbage, there hasn’t been a good isometric RPG in almost 10 years with lots of people asking for them over and over again (similarly with Adventures) and instead getting “Button Awesome” because “the market has moved on”. They are very well creating a new game and frankly I just wanna scream at you because what you are saying deeply offends me…

      • noodlecake says:

        I love Faster Than Light. It’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. It didn’t raise anywhere near this much though BECAUSE it was original. Can you explain to me what you think this game will do that will set it apart from the the games that it is copying?

        Also Dragon Age 2 tried to do a lot of new stuff. It had a unique story that doesn’t follow the typical fantasy conventions like the original did. Very unique combat that DA:O didn’t have. Better voice acting than DA:O. I think people hated that for the same reason that they funded this. I’m not saying it was better than the original (it definitely wasn’t) but they tried to do a lot of new stuff with it and as an artist I appreciate that. I also get the feeling the developers were under a lot of pressure to get it out in a limited amount of time by the publishers.

        I find it unusual that you are offended by the notion that rehashing old ideas isn’t original.

        • Premium User Badge

          Oozo says:

          Obviously, I can only speak for myself. But from where I am standing, you are getting only part of the picture. That is to say: I didn’t back it because I want innovative gameplay. That’s simply not what Obsidian do, and it’s better for them to play to their strenghts, isn’t it?

          What they do, at the best of times (which would be Torment and Mask of The Betrayer, IMHO), is write an interesting story, tweak a setting in interesting ways and put interersting characters in it. It’s not like we do get a lot of that in this genre, is it?
          (And I might agree that I hoped it’s not a Medievial Fantasy-setting, but as a commenter said last time: They could work wonders with the Forgotten Realms and the Star Wars-license, so let’s cut them some slack.)

          But it’s not like I did not back other projects with more interesting gameplay, too. The two are not mutually exlusive, you know? And while I certainly would be very, very happy if somebody came along with ideas that shake up the somewhat stale RPG traditions – seems like, of all things, the Japanese are trying their hands at this recently -, I wouldn’t expect it from Obsidian.

          Why exactly is it so wrong to only expect them to deliver a good story? You can innovate or deliver quality on that front, too.

          PS The reason I disliked “Dragon Age 2″ is not because it tried something new. It was because it got me excited by claiming it wanted to do something new, and then delivering a poor execution of it. As I said, YMMV.

          • noodlecake says:

            They didn’t really deliver a very good story on NWN. It was pretty conventional cheesy high fantasy. DA:2 did that much better too… And The Witcher 2 more or less blew every PC RPG game ever made out of the water while still managing to be unique. You can have a good story with a good game. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • Premium User Badge

            Oozo says:

            For Neverwinter Nights, the base game, that is correct. “Mask of The Betrayer”, though, was a very, very different beast. In my book, they did deliver some of the most interesting stories in the genre, which makes up for the routine stuff they churn out from time to time. (The two I have mentioned – haven’t played KOTR 2, but from what I’ve heard, it seems to be pretty decent, too.)

            Could be that the quality or at least the degree of surprising elements depends on how short the leash around their neck is on a project. This time, they are very excited about not having any leash at all. They can do whatever they want. I tend to think that this is a good sign, so I gave them my money.

            I can see that you prefer focussing on the bad examples, though. Who knows, maybe in the end of the day, you’ll be right and I’ll be 20 dollars short. But, you know, that ‘s a risk I’m more than willing to take.

          • noodlecake says:

            I’ve read into it a little bit. It sounds like they are going for the morally ambiguous choice which could be fun. And there’s nothing that says that the game will be completely conventional. It might be that they are using the lure of a generic isometric RPG to tempt people in but then they might cheekily make something really special and different within that framework. It’s a little early to make a solid opinion yet, I guess.

        • D3xter says:

          Maybe because it was in the “earlier” days of KickStarter in relation to the Double Fine Adventure, the developer didn’t have a proven track record and people realize that a project such as this needs a lot more money to get made?
          I’m not sure why you’d even have wanted it to get funded beyond what it did if it was so perfect, it was also for some time #1 Seller on Steam and is still #2, so I don’t think they are suffering from a lack of money.

          I also don’t give a fuck if it does anything “differently”, people have been clamoring for new isometric story-based RPGs like Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape, Arcanum etc. for over 10 years. Instead they got told by mainstream publishers that there “isn’t a market” for it and they shoved utter, disgusting crap like Dragon Age 2 down peoples throats.
          The only thing that game tried to do was testing how far they can go recycling environments and set pieces before people get pissed off, redesigning their monsters/races in the worst possible way and having one of the most boring and unbalanced combat systems and difficulty ever created. No wonder since it was developed in short over a year to “bank” on the success of Dragon Age: Origins.

          We also won’t know what “new” stuff Project: Eternity will bring to the table until they tell us.
          For now there isn’t even a proper game name and they’ve only dropped bits and pieces, like apparently there were guns/muskets in this concept art from their video: http://www.abload.de/img/project-eternstlr2.png
          And Sawyer has been spreading thin information over the Web himself like: http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/109480-je-sawyer-on-project-eternity-social-round-up.html

          I can’t talk a lot about the details of the world yet, but let me explain this one a little more. [Godhammer Citadel] is a bit of a misnomer. It wasn’t a god who was killed, but a (possibly?) possessed saint. And the saint wasn’t “hammered”. He was killed with a bomb. Like… yeah, a really big bomb.
          Okay, that’s all until I have time to do a proper update.

          That’s also their main problem right now I think, communication. Fargo managed it a lot better to make it clear to people what kind of game he is going to design, and I guess a big part of that was “sequel to Wasteland”. Obsidian has been rather cryptic so far.

          • noodlecake says:

            “I also don’t give a fuck if it does anything “differently”, people have been clamoring for new isometric story-based RPGs like Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Planescape, Arcanum etc. for over 10 years.”

            Then what’s the point? Dragon Age: Origins and Neverwinter Nights do everything those games do but with a different viewing perspective. I don’t understand why the camera angle or whether something is 2D or 3D in a game is so important.

            “The only thing that game tried to do was testing how far they can go recycling environments and set pieces before people get pissed off, redesigning their monsters/races in the worst possible way and having one of the most boring and unbalanced combat systems and difficulty ever created. No wonder since it was developed in short over a year to “bank” on the success of Dragon Age: Origins.”

            Story wise it did a lot of new things. Rather than having every fantasy story of “unknown and unvoiced character rises to become the hero that saves the world”, they placed you as a rich noble trying to re-establish his/her influence and make a lot of money in the process. I thought that was pretty interesting. The faster paced combat was fun. DA:Origins was amazing but after 50 hours of grindingly slow repetitive combat I couldn’t make it to the end. Obviously the rehashed scenes were a bit shit but I am a glass half full kinda guy. My dad’s been a 3d artist for various games companies over the past 20 years so I am familiar with the pressure that developers are under by publishers to get stuff done. I think DA2 was very good considering the amount of time they had and I enjoyed it for it’s merits despite its flaws.

          • D3xter says:

            Uhm, have you looked at a NWN Screenshot lately and compared it to Planescape or Baldur’s Gate 2 using WideScreen Mod? Besides the games weren’t anywhere similar. One is a great SinglePlayer Adventure spanning hundreds of hours of content and story and the other is a Dungeon Builder Module mainly used for Multiplayer.

            I guess Dragon Age: Origins tried (I think – they filled it with all sorts of other crap too) and was a commercial success, but it ain’t really anywhere comparable.

            We’ve seen all the wonderful Advancements they’ve taken with Dragon Age II, bringing the great storyline of grinding for 100 gold in an MMO for the first half of the game to a SinglePlayer game near you… then throwing in a few incoherent and rather nonsensical plot elements and creating a derpy game.

            And yeah, the “fast-paced Awesome-Button” combat was TOTALLY fun, not having to use any tactics or even switch between characters for the largest part of the game and beyond that making tactical positioning utterly pointless by ninja-enemies dropping from mid-air…

            This pretty much sums up both the effort put into and the quality of the game: http://kaonazhie.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/this-looks-very-good.jpg

          • noodlecake says:

            You weren’t “grinding for 50 gold”. It was a way of allowing you to choose which quests you undertook to reach your goal. Much like quests where you have to find four objects to get to the next but (like the second chapter of The Witcher 2).

            I don’t know why I’m defending DA:2. It’s not even one of my favourite games. I just enjoyed it and felt like most of the bile thrown at it was from people who would be happy to just have the same game made over and over with a different story and more abilities but then scorn all the mainstream FPS games for bringing out the same game with a different story and more abilities.

          • noodlecake says:

            I don’t get the image link.

            It more or less says that they understand that the art sucked in Origins so they worked extra hard to make everything look distinct in the second one… Which can only be a good thing, surely. The art style in Origins did suck. They are right.

        • Nick says:

          Unique story? Hahahahahahahahaha.

          Unique combat? What?

          • noodlecake says:

            Wow! Well thought out comment there. Name some games that have similar stories and combat to DA2.

          • noodlecake says:

            Being that DA:Origins, Baldur’s Gate and NWN stuck to every fantasy convention possible.

      • MistyMike says:

        Well, there was this thing called Drakensang which fits the bill. Everyone forgets about that.

        • Emeraude says:

          The manipulation and layering of narrative elements was inexistent in it though.

  27. MistyMike says:

    So a dev announces ‘We’ll make a game that is like a mix of Baldur’s, Icewind and Torment’. And the Internet says: ‘Ok, here’s a million dollars’.

    Can’t these people see that making promises is easy and just anybody can make them? Isn’t handing out cash without even a single screenshot or piece of information what the game will actually be about somewhat imprudent. Obsidian happens to have a somewhat sketchy track record after all, their best titles recently being action-rpgs like Alpha Protocol, and not something ‘old-school’.

    The forgetful Internet tribe doesn’t apparently recall that the company already made a ‘real-time-with-pause’, recruitable-party isometric RPG a few years back. It was called Neverwinter Nights 2 and was utterly uninspired and forgettable. How come people are so easy to believe that the outcome will be different this time?

    • D3xter says:

      As Black Isle:

      1997 – Fallout
      1998 – Fallout 2
      1999 – Planescape: Torment
      2000 – Icewind Dale
      2001 – Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter / Trials of the Luremaster
      2002 – Icewind Dale II (2002)
      2004 – Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II (most people were over at Obsidian at this point)

      As Obsidian:

      2004 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords
      2006 – Neverwinter Nights 2
      2007 – Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer
      2008 – Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
      2010 – Alpha Protocol
      2010 – Fallout: New Vegas
      2011 – Dungeon Siege III
      2013 – South Park: The Stick of Truth

      I think that rather speaks for itself, aside from Dungeon Siege III and maybe somewhat Storm of Zehir they’ve released (albeit often somewhat flawed due to publisher interferrence) gems over and over again.
      I’m pretty sure that speaks for itself. They got their million just by namedropping Chris Avellone, Tim Cain and Sawyer as well as some of the games they worked on, now they need to show some more though.

      PS: NWN2 was great, levels and levels above NWN by BioWare and Mask of the Betrayer was brilliant and possibly one of their best games.

      If they manage to fail delivering now with full creative control, no publisher to look over their shoulder and not being beholden to an IP or ruleset like Dungeons & Dragons or Star Wars I guess people will finally find out how competent they are, no pressure.

      • noodlecake says:

        I got NWN2 late as it was too bloody demanding on my PC! By the time I had it Dragon Age: Origins was already out and looked much nicer and didn’t make my PC want to break. I had a lot of fun with the original NWN. I loved how open to modding it was. I think more games should take inspiration from that. I loved how there were loads of modded servers you could join that were liker distinct little mmos. You got so much value for your money with those games.

        • D3xter says:

          NWN was saved by the Modding kit and all the Mods people were making yeah.
          But the main campaign was rather shit. NWN2 (and especially MoTB) were a lot better.

        • meatshit says:

          NWN2′s main campaign is nothing to write home about, but Mask of the Betrayer is one of the best RPG campaigns ever made. It’s a damn shame no one seems to know about it, because it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Planescape: Torment.

      • MistyMike says:

        Black Isle is not the same company as Obsidian, even if it shares some key employees like Avellone or Urquhart.

        Fallout One was developed internally at Interplay with Tim Cain as lead and had nothing to do with anything.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Well Tim Cain is on this project.

          • Premium User Badge

            FunktionJCB says:

            He sure is. After Troika closed doors, and the genre suffered a huge decline in quality, it’s great to see Tim Cain working again with people like Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer and Feargus Urquhart, all under the same roof.

            Unlike “the old days”, where there were always a number of interesting companies around, nowadays Obsidian is one of the very few developers whose output is yet to disappoint me, and so I’m always looking forward to whatever they do next. Funnily enough, Double Fine is another one. :)

          • InternetBatman says:

            This and exactly this. I’ve only been disappointed by Dungeon Siege and I even enjoyed that way more than the first two.

      • Vander says:

        To be honest, i cannot stand the camera of NWN2, especially in interiors. Reduced my enjoyement of the game by a lot.

        • skyturnedred says:

          I just reinstalled NWN2 a few days ago. Spent hours making my character, then quit after 10 minutes because of the horrible camera. Should try to learn it’s quirks again and power through, as I still haven’t finished it and I really want to finish the original campaing before diving in to MOTB.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        NWN2 is still reasonably well known as a thing, maybe not as much as NWN…. which had such longevity because of the toolset and the unintended persistent worlds

        ninja’d: comment about Fallout being Interplay & Troika

    • Premium User Badge

      FunktionJCB says:

      It’s not any developer making a promise, but a collective that includes pretty much the best of the best developers from this particular genre, including recent-addition Tim Cain (the man behind Fallout, and my particular favorite RPG of all time, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura).

      And the “forgetful Internet tribe”, as you call it in patronizing terms, are probably well aware of the track record of the developer, who is one of the very few companies currently doing proper western RPGs.

      You certainly have your opinion, but personally I own all titles that Obsidian released so far, and I rather enjoyed all of them (yes, including Dungeon Siege III which IMO is a fine action-RPG, as long as you play with a controller, which I certainly enjoyed far more than, say, Diablo III).

      I gladly backed this campaign, even before reading any details or watching the campaign’s video, because the decades of enjoyment these people brought me has earned them my full support.

      Also, Obsidian surely has seen better days (with a number of recently canceled projects forcing them to let go a number of people), and as someone who enjoys their work and would hate to see them disappear, I wish this campaign is a huge success for them.
      I just wish Kickstarter was around when Troika Games was forced to close its doors… :(

    • Emeraude says:

      “The shame ! The abomination ! People took a risk I am not willing to take !”

      There wasn’t anymore to show for Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 or Shadowrun Returns. Nothing but a promise. People looked at the track record of the developers making that promise, and decided the risk of losing around 40-45$ per head was worth taking for what they estimated a decent chance of seeing those project succeed.

      I don’t see what’s to be found reprehensible or irrational in the behaviour.

      • MistyMike says:

        It encourages devs to think of easy & populist crowdfunding pitches and then leaves them with a pile of money and little idea what to do with it.

        • InternetBatman says:

          But in this case the devs keep on saying the same thing that they have for years. “These are the types of games we want to make, we used to do a very good job making them, publishers won’t give us the money to make them now.”

          • MistyMike says:

            But moving out of the comfort zone may yield some interesting results (Alpha Protocol). Chasing the phantoms of past glories is likely to result in a stale product.

          • Dark Nexus says:

            So don’t back it. Problem solved!

            Though it seems like 36,825 (and counting) other people want to see this game made. They either think it won’t be stale, or think that it will still be worth the money even if it is stale.

          • InternetBatman says:

            The problem is that Obsidian isn’t a big enough company to experiment and stay afloat, and their talent is pretty concentrated for a very specific type of game. So it’s kinda like asking a mural artist to do a portrait or vice versa. Sure they will definitely come up with some interesting things, but their most experimental games or games farthest from comfort zone, Storm of Zehir (Merchant RPG), Dungeon Siege III (aRPG), and Alpha Protocol (guns, stealth, and conversation), have also been their worst (and lowest metascore which publishers care about).

        • Anabasis says:

          What do you think pitching a game to a publisher entails? Do you think a publisher is really going to take a risk on a project they don’t think will sell? At least with this digital demagogy Oblivion knows it’ll be making a game for which there’s a niche audience rather than playing some sort of guessing game where a publisher’s marketing department slaughters a chicken and reads the guts to see what’s “hot” in video games these days (full disclosure I know little to nothing about marketing). Also I’m not sure why you think Alpha Protocol was a move out of the “comfort zone;” while it may have been a pretty fresh setting for an RPG, the story struck me as a fairly typical (if well-constructed) Tom Clancyesque spy thriller.

    • doho7744 says:

      The guy that wants to market a salt shotgun to kill bugs get almost 600 thousand thru Kickstarter, that I question. Developers that have been responsible for some of my favorite games thru the years, I throw money at my monitor in hopes that it gets to them faster.

    • Anabasis says:

      Dude, again? Why are you so upset that people are excited about this?

  28. Premium User Badge

    Naum says:

    So, there’s two new playable races and classes, two companions, an extensive addition to the story, Mac and player housing before Linux support? Grr. Very messed up priorities.

    • Emeraude says:

      Messed up how ? Even as someone who would enjoy Linux support, I do prioritize more and better content over it.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Those were probably thrown up as interim measures, since this game will very likely get more than 2.2m.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Yes, it sucks that Obsidian aren’t going to make exactly the same game with exactly the same priorities you would want. They’re probably doing it to spite you specifically.

      • Premium User Badge

        Naum says:

        Probably, yes. Then again, the whole games industry is currently making a concerted effort to remove me from the surface of this planet by not adhering to the eternal rules I have laid out in order to lead mankind to a greater future, so that’s only a minor gripe.

        Without any sarcasm, I get the feeling you took my comment a bit too seriously. I voiced my opinion that Linux support should be a higher priority — perhaps in a slightly-more-pointed-than-necessary fashion –, which doesn’t mean I expect anyone to agree. Nor am I particularly mad at Obsidian, given that they’re not exactly the first to make a Win/Mac exclusive.

    • MistyMike says:

      Agreed. Stuff like the number of player races & classes, the existence of housing etc should be rather part of internal game structure and balance from day one, not depend on the fortunes and whims of crowdfunders.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Player races and classes require more than just design, they need artwork, animation, special dialog options, and tons and tons of playtesting. I can’t think of a part of the game that would be more money dependent. Even D&D, which just does playtesting and a little artwork can’t release all the classes in a system at once (although how many books they actually need is another matter).

        There’s a reason every expansion for NWN and NWN 2 always released new races and classes. They’re cool but they need time and money to develop.

      • Premium User Badge

        FunktionJCB says:

        Good thing you don’t have to worry about that, considering you don’t like the developer’s output, or the crowd funding idea…

        • MistyMike says:

          Where did you get the idea I didn’t like their output? I wouldn’t bother commenting here if that was the case. The crowdfunding idea on the other hand… :>

          • D3xter says:

            I’m not sure if you quite get that the scope and kind of a project is directly proportional to the amount of funds it gets. People won’t work and design features for free.

          • Premium User Badge

            FunktionJCB says:

            Sorry if I misunderstood your prior comments, where you mentioned «Obsidian happens to have a somewhat sketchy track record after all», or «The forgetful Internet tribe doesn’t apparently recall that the company already made a ‘real-time-with-pause’, recruitable-party isometric RPG a few years back. It was called Neverwinter Nights 2 and was utterly uninspired and forgettable. How come people are so easy to believe that the outcome will be different this time?».

            It really didn’t sound like you liked their games at all. :)

            But regarding your dislike for the crowdfunding option, you have to take into consideration that no publisher seems to be willing to fund new RPG IPs, the main reason why most of Obsidian’s output has been sequels. In fact, considering they had 3-4 cancelled projects in recent years, I would argue that not many seem to be willing to fund any of their projects at all, and things haven’t’ really been easy for them in that regard.
            It’s a bit of a blank check to fund a game without much to show, sure, and I’m certain some people disagree (like you) with this funding channel, but the consistent quality of the output of these people (both as Obsidian or prior) is reason enough for me to “pre-order” a project of theirs without much info. If we were talking about a team without a solid track record unlike Obsidian, I would be a lot more apprehensive (in fact, I still don’t understand how many people throw $100 or more at some Kickstarter game projects from developers that are yet to ship a single product, have barely anything to show, and have no gameplay demo available; that, to me, is a huge and risky blank check, and most probably will end up going wrong), but their output has earn them my appreciation, and considering the number of people pledging I’m sure more feel the same.
            I should note my main reason for backing this campaign is because of who they are and what they did, and not really because this will be an “old-school” title.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        So you’re saying they should have targeted $2.2m from the start, with the added risk of not being fully funded that would bring? That the game somehow would become complete crap without player housing, or X+3 companions available instead of X?

  29. Ghoulie says:

    They seriously need a visual representation of their stretch goals.
    It really made me eager and constantly check up how far they were with Planetary Annihilation.

  30. Hoaxfish says:

    Another update has snuck in and crashed their forums.

    the kickstarter update (number 3) has partial info, a video, and an image of a eskimo dwarf ranger type deal

    There’s a helpful repost of the information from their (currently crashed) forums on GOG: http://www.gog.com/en/forum/general/obsidian_kickstarter/post383

  31. Emeraude says:

    Avellone says the game will in all probability not be able to use the Onyx Engine.

    https://twitter.com/ChrisAvellone/status/247804807514054656

    Interesting.

  32. Premium User Badge

    equatorian says:

    >press capslock
    >GIVES OBSIDIAN ALL OF WALLET

    If they do this NEXT month instead of this month, I could actually give two wallets or three. Alas, ALAS.