Most Able: Fallout’s Tim Cain Joins Obsidian

RPG devs must all have beards, remember

Good, in fact excellent, tidings for those who find themselves able to enjoy Fallouts both old and new, and for anyone who lived through the 90s heyday of PC RPGs. Tim Cain, the main brain behind the original Fallout and later co-founder of the much-missed Troika, has fetched up at Obsidian. Until this July, he was at Carbine, working since 2005 on what turned out to be Wildstar, but today we discover that he’s now Senior Programmer at the Fallout: New Vegas/ KOTOR 2 devs. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE.

This originated via a Facebook spot by a member of the Obisidan forums, but has since been verified by a glance at LinkedIn.

Obviously, we don’t have a clue whether or not he’ll work on a Fallout game – that’s going to be up to Bethesda – but hopefully it spells good things for Obisidan’s ever-valiant but uneven roleplaying output. And it means he’s now working with the likes of Chris Avellone and Feargus Urquhart, as well as fellow Fallout co-creator Chris Jones, which makes for quite the RPG supergroup.

Interesting to note that Cain’s title is Senior Programmer, given his Carbine title was Design Director. Going back to his roots, perhaps?

The only known Obsidian game in development at the moment is an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel Of Time, but hopefully they’re experimenting with something original too. They’ve worked with other people’s properties for almost their entire existence, bar the divisive Alpha Protocol: I’d love to see them bust out entirely and spectacularly on their own at last.

Thanks, João.


  1. Juan Carlo says:

    Obsidian might be my favorite RPG developer working today. Sure their games are usually buggy as hell, but they have more ambition than most and they usually end up being patched up eventually.

    Anyhow, this is good news.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’ll take bad graphics, buggy code, and a great story, over shiny graphics, functional code, and a generic story.

      Though, I guess there is still a lower limit on just how far I’m willing to accept “bad” and “buggy”.

    • Symitri says:


      I concur though, I was far more willing to tolerate playing Fallout: NV in spite of it crashing every 30 minutes to an hour than I was RAGE even after I got it all flowing smoothly.

    • Cinnamon says:

      That idea that it doesn’t matter about the rest of the game as long as the story and characters are good is about the most self destructive thing about Obsidian in my opinion. They benefit from having someone like Josh Sawyer there worrying about other things.

      • iridescence says:

        I enjoyed the gameplay a lot in Fallout:NV and NWN2. Even Alpha Protocol wasn’t that bad in the gameplay department, given that I don’t really like shooters in general and I find it tolerable at least. Obsidian games typical have a lot of bugs but that’s not the same as saying they don’t care about gameplay.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t think “doesn’t matter” is quite the idea… that people are willing to overlook those flaws in favour of what is essentially rarer.

      After all, we could just go an read a book if it was just about story and nothing else mattered.

    • Cinnamon says:

      You are a special, rare sort of gamer to enjoy Obsidian games when they are bad and egg them on to make more bad games. But you are not unique, there are plenty more like you at RPG Codex.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Do you want to define “bad”?

      There are plenty of games released now which have neither good story, nor are free of bugs, nor have particular interesting graphics.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Why do I have to define bad? You are the one who said you were willing to accept bad and buggy games up to a point without either fully defining bad or the point where the games are too bad.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I said bad graphics, not just “bad” as an apparently all-encompassing value labelled on the entire output of a single company.

      Would you want a new Alpha Protocol? or was it Fallout: New Vegas which you thought was bad? Or was it just all of them? Maybe other games which fell under the same on release? Like Bloodlines?

      I didn’t say that sort of story/graphics/code mix was perfect, and I didn’t say I’d blindly support anything based on previous output.

      I’d love a game with perfect across the board, just as much as anyone else.

    • MSJ says:

      RPG Codex loving Obsidian is pretty much like Al-Qaeda loving ice cream.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I want nothing less that to get into some pointless flame war breaking down all the elements of Obisidian’s games down to an atomic level. Let’s just agree that it is unfortunate for Obsidian that many people rightly view some aspects of their flagship titles that are important to them to be at best average. It is not realistic for Obsidian as a company to take the position that it is their role to create a better class of game buyer who doesn’t care about quality or consistency in terms of action, game design, graphics, or animation.

    • Wizardry says:

      I’ll take bad graphics, buggy code, and great gameplay, over shiny graphics, functional code, and a shitty gameplay. And with that I have to hate Obsidian for pretending to be hardcore elite RPG developers but never making a turn-based game. Wimps.

    • D3xter says:

      I highly agree with Hoaxfish and Wizardry on this, you can fix buggy code and even shitty graphics at some point, if the developer can’t or doesn’t want to the community can.

      You can’t fix bad game design and a shitty/generic story without redoing your whole game from the ground up.

      I’ll take an Obsidian game over a lot of other companies any day (though Dungeon Siege III kinda sucked).

    • BeamSplashX says:

      RPGCodex is not a place defined by love.

    • Wulf says:

      Well, since I don’t have a stick up my arse and I can look beyond bugs (which Bethesda themselves are as much responsible for as anyone) and I don’t need a screen filled with NUMBARS in order to enjoy a game, I can honestly say that Obsidian are my favourite role playing game developers.

      I think that the core idea of a role playing game should be separated up into three important elements:

      1.) You must have an interesting world, one that provides an inspiring and mystery-filled backdrop for the main story itself. Without an interesting world a game of this ilk is meaningless as it does nothing at all to capture the imagination, nothing to provide a sense of romance and intrigue.

      2.) You must have decent writing and characterisation. This provides the reason to care about what’s going on, and the reason to continue. Not only that but the story must be cleverly written in order to be revealed properly in accordance with rule #3 below. Some parts of the story should take time, effort, and even forethought to reveal. And this should come from understanding the world and its characters.

      3.) You should have meaningful choices in how you explore the storyline, these choices should have actual consequences which can cause the storyline to move away from the path you were expecting in interesting ways. There must be the freedom to make these choices, and the freedom to have to cope with what you’ve done, or not, as the case may be.

      These are the three rules for creating not just an RPG, or even a good RPG, but a truly great RPG that people will remember a decade from now. These were the rules behind many of the best RPGs that I remember. And everything aside from these rules, everything that’s added beyond that, is simply icing on the cake. I guess what I’m saying is that at the end of the day, I feel that a role playing game should be an experience. It should be an incredibly memorable experience that the player helped to shape with their input, their personality, and their choices. Whether it’s a great game should be a secondary concern compared to whether it’s a great experience.

      Closing thoughts: Seriously, I don’t understand the appeal of having a game about numbers, numbers, and more numbers where story, characters, world, and meaningful choices all play second fiddle to the numbers. To me, that sounds like a turn-based tactical game, or a strategy game, but it does not sound like a role playing game. So perhaps we need better terms. I really do think that a game that provides a better experience, with a great story, characters, and meaningful choices is the better role playing game, going by the meaning of role playing. So we just need another name for these games that are numbers, numbers, and more numbers at the expense of role playing.

    • Wizardry says:

      I just thought I’d pop in to tell you that are you wrong, Wulf. RPGs are actually about creating characters and playing through a game that tests your characters. Choices are in deciding which tests your characters should go through and the consequences are in the outcome of those tests, based on the character you have made.

      That’s why Darklands, Pool of Radiance, Champions of Krynn, Wizardry VII, Wasteland, Wizard’s Crown, Might and Magic III, Fallout, Dragon Wars, The Magic Candle, Betrayal at Krondor and Dark Sun: Shattered Lands are all better RPGs than Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect, New Vegas, Dragon Age and whatever else you may like.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      @ Wulf: Completely agreed. With many Role playing games I really enjoy, I can’t stand the actual combat mechanics (Dragon age or Kotor are good examples of this). But it’s not just about the story in terms of pure narrative, it’s about world building, and interaction with that world, which can only be done through games, and those game excel in that regard.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Saying that you think their gameplay is wretched and don’t care how much pride they take in terms of art, design and general craftsmanship is not as flattering and generous to developers as you might think. I think that we have long since passed the point where any real meaning to the term RPG is vestigial but certainly I think that saying that it means that the characters should have a few good lines of dialogue and everything else can go jump off a bridge makes the genre a very narrow church.

    • Bhazor says:

      @ Wizardry

      “Never made a turn based RPG”

      Huh? Both KOTOR 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 could be played as turn based RPGs. In fact it may be crazy conspiracy thinking but it is funny that the release NWN 2 (yes I know Neverwinter is one word but NWN seems the official acronym) coincides with the preproduction work for Dragon Age: Origins. Certainly I can’t escape the thought that Bioware looked up from working on another “action adventure with a dressing up minigame” and said “They sold how many?!?” and thought they’d finally get their old D&D campaign out and make an RPG.

    • Wizardry says:

      Sorry. I must have missed the turn-based tick-box. My fault.

    • Cerius says:

      RTWP (Real Time with Pause) is NOT the same as turn-based.

      That said I disagree with him.

    • Tuco says:

      @Hoaxfish: I’ll take a good, solid and well thought gameplay over alll what you listed, and Obsidian is notoriously awful at this.

      That said, Tim Cain used to be one of my RPG gurus, before spending years working at the Nth MMO nobody will care about, so let’s just say I have a bit of hope.
      Unless he’s gone completely senile as Richard Garriot.

    • Askaris says:


      I thought that I would register to tell you that you yourself are wrong. Not because your viewpoint is invalid: quite the contrary, wanting solid gameplay and a working game is very valid. What is wrong is that you appear so stuck in your opinion of what is a “good” RPG that you are unable to see that what entertains you is not the be-all-end-all of what is entertaining. In addition, your statement ending in “or whatever RPG’s you may like” sounds quite remarkably akin to “stop liking what I don’t like”, and also borders on ad hominem, choosing to bash another’s taste rather than debate the point. Perhaps I am overreacting, but as a primarily tabletop RPG player, hearing someone disparage another for preferring plot over mechanics while simultaneously stroking their own ego over the superiority of turn based systems (I use them quite frequently; they work for the purpose, but are not the holy grail of gaming, as you seem to believe) rather rustles my goddamn jimmies.

    • Nick says:


      ““stop liking what I don’t like”” “ad hominem”


    • Janus says:

      If I’m not still gagged, I’d like to swing by just to say that I am in love with Wizardry and am gladdened that RPS has a poster who gets what RPGs are supposed to be, before BioWare turned them into Intense Cinematic Action Games With Meaningful Choices.

      If you don’t have a detailed character system, it’s not an RPG. Hell, if it’s not turn-based it’s teetering on the edge of not being an RPG. Stats are important precisely because they facilitate choice – the game should react to the intricacies of your character, not just the odd binary Emotional Choice you make now and then throughout the Linear CInematic Emotional Narrative.

      Aaanyway, Tim Cain joining Obsidian is v boss. Still have higher hopes for Dead State, of course.

    • JANUS says:

      If I’m not still gagged, I’d like to swing by just to say that I am in love with Wizardry and am gladdened that RPS has a poster who gets what RPGs are supposed to be, before BioWare turned them into Intense Cinematic Action Games With Meaningful Choices.

      If you don’t have a detailed character system, it’s not an RPG. Hell, if it’s not turn-based it’s teetering on the edge of not being an RPG. Stats are important precisely because they facilitate choice – the game should react to the intricacies of your character, not just the odd binary Emotional Choice you make now and then throughout the Linear CInematic Emotional Narrative.

      Aaanyway, Tim Cain joining Obsidian is v boss. Still have higher hopes for Dead State, ofc.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I agree with you 100%. With Bioware’s games getting a bit cinematic for my tastes and Doublefine not publishing on PC anymore, I have to say that Obsidian is the my current favorite. Even failures like Alpha Protocol contain some brilliant gems of ideas and truly surprising moments. Fallout New Vegas is the best game I’ve played in a long, long while.

      That said, I never buy games new only months later. I get to see the final project but miss the quite understandable frustration that opening day bugs bring consumers.

    • ukpanik says:

      “You are a special, rare sort of gamer to enjoy Obsidian”

      “But you are not unique, there are plenty more like you”

      That makes sense bubba ~_~

    • Balerion says:

      Sheesh I’m so tired of people who think only their definition of RPG is the “correct” one. Technically, every game you kids play is an RPG (the hint is in the name of the genre). And yes, that includes even the purest of pure FPS games. So there. Now go back to your caves with your “true definitions of RPG genre”.

      Obsidian are fantastic. I had more fun re-playing Kotor 2 than Kotor 1 (both are awesome in their own ways), played Alpha Protocol like 3 times in a row (very few games can do that to me) and DS3 was a lot of fun in co-op. So this is good news.

    • grotty says:

      There’s really been a hatchet-job done on the definition of RPGs, hasn’t there? I’ve seen this debate crop up on RPS a few times and it gets a bit sad. Consensus (aside from one of two of those obviously laughable out-dated hardcore extremist nerd types who just won’t see reason) always seems to end up on the ‘role-playing games are all about being immersed in the world and characters; hence “role-playing” refers to me acting out a part using the power of my imagination, and technically any game can be an RPG.’ side of things.

      Okay, great, fine. But it’s not a ‘play-acting game’ or a ‘part-playing game’ or even a ‘virtual-world game’, it’s a ‘role-playing game’. As in, characters have a particular role to play out of a (hopefully extensive) wider range of possibilities. As in, players choose to be sneaky, or strong, or good with medicine, and that choice impacts how they move through the game (or complement one another, if they’re in a party) and how they face the challenges ahead of them. And stats are how you measure these characteristics, because, actually, numbers happen to be the handiest way of measuring things we’ve got.

      This doesn’t have to conflict with story-telling/immersion/pretending to be your in-game character/etc, not in the slightest. But that’s just what a ‘role’ means, as opposed to a ‘part’ or a ‘character’ or an ‘avatar’; and a ‘role-playing game’ is simply not as vague and redundant a term as the currently popular school of thought suggests.

      And you know what? It’s not outdated, it’s not impenetrable (“what, ‘strength’ makes my character stronger? Jeez, slow down, neckbeard-Einstein!”), and it doesn’t want to turn your game into nothing more exciting than an Excel spreadsheet. It just wants to give your game depth, choice, tactical planning, challenge and replayability.

      So why sneer at the people who want to see this ideal properly represented as ‘purists’? Because the people making more shallow games keep insisting it’s a nerdish, basement-dweller fringe concept that no ordinary human being could possibly enjoy or understand, and that ‘real’ role-playing is, at heart, acting out a fantasy avatar or pretending to be a cat-person? Blow that. Just…blow that.

  2. jellydonut says:

    Fantastic news. Let us all hope for new ‘Fallouts’ or ‘VtMBs’.

    • Khemm says:

      If new Fallouts keep the gameplay style from 3 and New Vegas, then just let the series rest in piece. It ended with Fallout 2 anyway.

    • Arkaniani says:

      @Khemm. What? That is your own opinion. I played both Fallout 1 and 2, but I found Fallout 3 and New Vegas FAR more immersive. They can put so much more detail and small things in an FPS/RPG hybrid than they could in a game with a top-down view. Yes, FO1 and 2 were great, but they certainly had their technical limitations.

    • MSJ says:

      Fallout 3 and New Vegas was pretty much what imagined Fallout would be after Fallout 2 when I spend hours playing that game before the year 2000.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      Technical limitations? Bah! The story! The humor! The choices! F1 and F2 were infinitely better.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Fallout 1 and 2 were better, but I don’t think that means you also have to hate Fallout 3 and NV. I liked them fine for what they were (although FO3 didn’t hold my interest long enough for me to finish it, and I much prefered NV), but I think my biggest problems with them can be traced to the Gamebryo engine–which really doesn’t do action or animation very well. Plus, the one thing that it does do well–stunning looking outdoor environments–was kind of mitigated by the fallout setting–which demands lots of post-apocalyptic looking, dead, brown, wastelands.

      I don’t understand the fascination with post-apocalypse in video games, currently. To me it just leads to very dull, ugly, same-ish looking, level design. Just because the world ended doesn’t mean that everything has to be drab and colorless.

    • D3xter says:

      “Plus, the one thing that it does do well–stunning looking outdoor environments–was kind of mitigated by the fallout setting–which demands lots of post-apocalyptic looking, dead, brown, wastelands.”

      Nah, that’s one of the Callsigns of Bethesda, they take that one dungeon layout and that one table/car/whatever model some designer built and propagate it throughout all the world so they can talk of “over 100 dungeons”… Seriously there was like 1 warehouse and 2 different underground/metro levels in Fallout 3 they repeated over and over with the same table with/without a computer console on them… and apparently everyone drove the same car model/brand everywhere. It’s just lazy at some point and I feel like they’re trying to waste my time by sending me through the same environment for the x-th time… In most (early) Bioware/Black Isle/Obsidian games at least they didn’t repeat everything and every dungeon was an unique experience of its own and totally different.

      There’s lots of games using the GameBryo engine out there that don’t suffer under the same link to

    • Nim says:

      I kind of want a new Mask of the Betrayer.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’d take New Vegas over any of the other Fallouts. 1 kinda sucked, 2 was getting better, 3 went back to kinda sucking, New Vegas seemed to finally nail it.

      Now if they could just get an engine which made the humans look more like humans than the ghouls do we’d be cooking.

    • Wulf says:

      And in regards to the world, story, choices, and elements that make you think, I still bizarrely like Fallout Tactics best. Then Fallout 2, then New Vegas, and then the rest of it. What I will say however was that New Vegas was the best RPG I’d played in years. I don’t know how you could love RPGs and not love New Vegas, that’s a confusing concept to me, personally. But whilst it was an amazing RPG, it was still not the best Fallout.

      I think that Fallout Tactics came the closest to conveying a post-post apocalyptic world, and tying humour and intelligence together into one cohesive experience. I know I’m going to have fanboys scream at me about how Tactics isn’t a true Fallout game, but I care not. You know what Steven Moffat says about fanboys anyway. It’s just a matter of wishing they were fans of something else. But really, if you’re not being pedantic over tiny details, FT was an amazing take on the world.

      It also had one of the best endings I’ve ever seen in a Fallout game.

      But yeah, back on topic. I’d love to see a continuation of Fallout from Obsidian. We’ll never get the old Fallout back, but they still produce great RPGs. That’s a given. A new Mask of the Betrayer would also be fine, a Wheel of Time game would be fine, and a game based on a new IP would be fine. Frankly, so long as Obsidian are developing RPGs and turning them into some of the best RPG experiences I’ve ever had, I don’t care what they’re developing.

    • Tuco says:

      @Arkaniani: Who cares? Your opinion is just CRAP, and Fallout 2 was *lightyears* better than the atrocious Fallout 3 pretty much in any conceivable way.

    • InternetBatman says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the gameplay in Fallout New Vegas. It might not be old school rpg, but I think it’s pretty fun in its own right. It’s no punching someone’s eyes out during a boxing match, but its good enough. I could do without another world designed and written by Bethesda though. The Mojave Wasteland was better designed on pretty much every level than Fallout 3.

  3. Gesadt says:

    fuck yea!! now all Obsidian needs is Leonard Boyarsky. although he probably has much more cozy place being world designer on diablo3.

    • Paul says:

      And Jason Anderson, and Brian Mitsoda.
      And license for Fallout 4.

    • Wulf says:

      They’d need Chris Taylor, too, to truly be Fallout. It’s ChrisT that I’ve always considered to be the heart and soul of the Fallout Universe. It’ll never truly be Fallout without ChrisT on board.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I was under the impression Joshua Sawyer was “Mr Fallout”

    • InternetBatman says:

      Brian Mitsoda left Obsidian a year or two ago anyways. Doubt he’s coming back.

    • Cerius says:

      @Wolf ChrisT came in later during development. Tim Cain was who started it out. ChrisT was Lead Designer, but mostly for the systems. Narrativly Scott Campell and Boyarsky had a way bigger influence.

      And Tim beats ChrisT honestly. Tim made/designed Temple of Elementary Evil which has basically the best turn-based combat system ever.

  4. skyturnedred says:

    This should be interesting. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

  5. Alexander Norris says:

    Yesssssssssssssssssss. Inching ever closer to my dream devteam.

    Can we do fantasy games development teams? Like fantasy football, but actually cool. Does that exist?

    • Gnurf says:

      In my head it does.

    • alh_p says:

      Not sure that would be cool.

    • iniudan says:

      If you ask me the fantasy football has already been taken care of by Bloodbowl. =p

      Maybe just need one more updated has to add the 4 missing team (Chaos Pack, Chaos Dwarf, Underworld and Slann), update the rule a bit and add the other half of mercenary. I want my secret weapon mercenary. =p

  6. Njordsk says:

    They need debuggers at obsidians !

    A good programmer is always good though I guess

    • mbourgon says:

      While It’s awesome news, what Obsidian needs is more/better QA. Yeah, it’ll get patched eventually -like KOTOR2, 5 years later and by fans. Haven’t bought FNV because of the shoddy job they’ve done in the past (and present)

  7. Gnurf says:

    Wasn’t Brian Fargo the main brain behind Fallout 1 ? Or did it take 2 main brains ?

    • Gesadt says:

      brian fargo was ceo of interplay at the time, dont know how much he had to do with fallout besides greenlighting it

    • pipman3000 says:

      it was actually developed by a bunch of brains hooked up to a computer.

    • Wizardry says:

      Brian Fargo was one of the guys behind Wasteland. A 1988 post-apocalyptic RPG that heavily inspired Fallout. He also created Interplay that published the Fallout games.

    • Wulf says:

      As I mentioned above, that would be Chris Taylor. He was the lead designer on the original Fallout.

      That he is with Fallout Online is pretty much the reason I have so much hope for Fallout Online.

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    Bethesda – please, please, PLEASE have Obsidian develop all future Fallouts. New Vegas was exceptional where FO3 fell short in many areas.

    • Kryopsis says:

      I concur. Hopefully ZeniMax’s recent success as a publisher will make that happen.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Yes. Also, have them make a new one soon, please. Thethesda.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      No, let them take as much time as they need. After waiting a decade for F3 and finding it can’t even lick the dust off F2’s boots, I’m perfectly willing to wait some more for a good one.

  9. CaspianRoach says:

    Woooooooo, new Fallout game coming right up!

    • Khemm says:

      Better: get Cain, Anderson, Boyarsky form a team again so we can get Temple of Elemental Evil 2. Or another Arcanum.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      I’ve been replaying Temple of elemental evil lately, and was shocked to see how bad the writing is on it. There’s a lot of it, to be sure, but definitely a case of quantity over quality. I’m almost afraid to revisit Arcanum and Vampire (though games with modern settings usually have less noticeably bad writing). I was surprised, and not pleasantly.

    • Wizardry says:

      Just like a proper RPG, the writing in Temple of Elemental Evil is definitely secondary to its actual gameplay.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Wizardry, I’d love to agree with you, but the first couple of hours in the game is exploring the town and talking to shitty NPCs and solving their inane problems and carrying out fetch quests. It gets a *lot* better, but man, it was like a bucket of icy water – I remember being in awe of the game as a kid.

      It’s not a minimalist Might & Magic or, ahem, Wizardry old-school dungeon crawl, the set-up fully expects you to immerse yourself among all of these characters. And fails miserably on its own terms.
      Good thing the dungeon crawling is so much fun, just as I remembered it.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Imho Vampire has the best writing of all RPGs I’ve played in the last 10 years.

    • Wizardry says:

      @dreadguacamole: I agree. And that was a massive design mistake.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The gameplay in ToEE was secondary to its strict adherance to the ruleset and scenario model, which is probably why it was terrible. And Arcanum was like Fallout, if Fallout were bad.

    • Tuco says:

      Actually the gameplay (and more specifically the combat system) was precisely the greatest asset for ToEE.
      Best turn based battle system around.

  10. felisc says:

    Ah tim cain. <3 . Mh by the way, if you haven't already watched it, there's'a great Matt Chat with him on youtube (one year old)

  11. Bishop99999999 says:

    After Skyrim, there’s nowhere to go, but back to the wastes…

  12. pipman3000 says:

    cool. now make lionheart 2. (you know lionheart right, that game with with the spirit or whatever that had sarevoks voice so i always selected him)

  13. pkt-zer0 says:

    Alright, now I can justifiably no longer care about Wildstar.

  14. Lars Westergren says:

    Avellone twittered that they are working on some proper RPGs, using their own tools and Onyx engine.

    • HunterZ says:

      That means they’re probably working on a DRM-ridden Ubisoft game then :(

    • Cerius says:

      The Obsidian Onyx Engine is a different engine than Ubisofts.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Found it:
      link to

      Yes, it is their own engine, which was developed for the cancelled aliens RPG, and then used for Dungeon Siege 3. Now, you may not like the contents of that game, but it was really polished and stable in my opinion.

  15. Freud says:

    I didn’t find either Alpha Protocol or Fallout: New Vegas buggy at all. They were remarkably unbuggy for me.

    Which either means I am lucky or that people lazily throw out the “Obsidian make buggy games” these days.

    From what I understand Dungeon Siege III wasn’t buggy either.

    • Nick says:

      I didn’t either, but there were some bad bugs in both, what annoys me however is people seem to ignore the fact that, say for example, Bethesda and Bioware also produce equally buggy games (if not worse in some cases).

    • Wulf says:

      Yep. This is The Great Lie. The one you just get used to. :P None of Obsidian’s games have ever been remarkably buggy, but because they were always the more indie kid on the block, without a massive PR department and oodles of money, it was always cool to pick on them, for people in general and publications alike. That’s just been the way of things.

      Any gamer with their sanity intact is able to fully realise that certain other developers (such as Bethesda) have put out massively more buggy games. But there have been those who’ve been scraping the barrel to find reasons to hate on Obsidian. “Oh, their games have some bugs, therefore their games must be buggy!” And yet nothing in any of their games has ever come close to the game-breaking shit that’s constantly a part of Bethesda’s games.

      Example: Fallout 3. At launch, all escort missions were broken (the AI liked to walk in circles), and if you completed quests in a certain order (which wasn’t hard to do) then a massive area at the south-eastern end of the map caused a hard lock if you even so much as stepped into it. What this meant is that it was impossible to complete the game, and impossible to do a number of sidequests. Until they fixed that bug, if you ended up with it, you were screwed. And it took them far, far too long to fix that bug.

      Nothing in Obsidian’s games has ever come close to that.

      And the only thing I can see different between Bethesda and Obsidian is that Bethesda is a megacorp with lots of money and Obsidian is more indie. These days it’s becoming less cool to attack people for not having lots of money, but back in the day it was the in thing. :P And that’s where this all came from, since, you know… it just wasn’t cool to attack Bethesda for their obviously buggy games.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Well, at launch New Vegas would overwrite all of your saved games everytime you restarted it. I’d say that was a big bug, although it was still less buggy than anything I’ve played by Bethsoft.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Alpha Protocol, which I played well after launch had some shockingly bad design decisions which get lumped into the bug category. One was the Brayko fight, which was just there to punish Stealth / CQC builds. Another was the contextual command system, when you have a system like that it’s bound to make the player’s character do things the player doesn’t want to do. I had several collision bugs and that kind of crap. Stealth would infrequently bug and guards could see me through walls or wherever. And the worst offense of all was the shitty save system, which didn’t even save after unskippable dialogue. It was horrendous. It’s easy to lump those into bugs whether they are or not.

      There was only one bug with NWN2 that I noticed, and that was the camera wouldn’t let me scroll back far enough when going up areas of high elevation. That was the only bug in a freaking amazing game (except Storm of Zehir which had several).

      The thing that gets me is that other developers can get away bugs on the strength of their reputation alone. Horses were doing the craziest things in Oblivion, and Fallout 3 had many, many bugs in pathfinding. Likewise Mass Effect has terrible pathfinding and ridiculously long loading times. Rockstar games have shit falling from the sky all the time. Obsidian fixes their products as best they can and the end result is better than most of the crap that comes out, but they get a bad rap and lower metacritic scores.

    • Krauss says:

      I’ve had extreme amounts of bugs in Alpha Protocol when I played it, so much that I had to drop the game.

      FNV though was nearly flawless. Maybe one is compensating the other.

  16. eightbitrobot says:

    I never thought I could enjoy a Bethesda style game with clunky combat, bugs galore and awkward animations but Fallout NV proved me wrong, I loved the characters and writing in that game.. more please!

  17. BreadBitten says:

    Might as well rename Obsidian to ‘Back to Black Isle Studios’ then…

    • apocraphyn says:

      This is brilliant news! The Black Isle is reformed out of Obsidian! Hoorah!

    • terry says:

      I would be entirely for this. That Black Isle intro still puts shingles in my dingle.

    • skurmedel says:

      And all would be right in the world again…

      Also, please reassemble Red Storm and make a Raven Shield 2.

  18. Bull0 says:

    Obsidian have always been an artist-heavy, coder-light team; it makes sense that they’ve brought him in as a programmer

    • Josh W says:

      And as chief programmer too, perhaps they are beefing up their programming department and want to make sure it stays associated with the rest of the companies culture.

  19. Emeraude says:

    My… good news of the day. Now they need to get Brian Mitsoda back (once Dead State is done).

    Then we can complain about too many cooks in the kitchen.

    (Because complain is all we do, right ?)

    • Cerius says:

      Nah, hes happily married and can work without publishers. I really hope it works out for them.

    • Nick says:

      Dead State needs programmes and stuff or it won’t get done.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:


  21. cristhianfs says:

    I want– no that’s not right. I NEED a new Alpha Protocol. Please Obsidian Pleeeasse?

    • Inarborat says:

      I think Sega owns the ip. :( Fucking Sega. Bang up job they did canceling that Aliens RPG and Colonial Marines looks like yet another scripted shooter.

      I’d KILL for Alpha Protocol 2.

    • ZohoGorganzola says:

      As much as I’d love another Alpha Protocol, I saw the team give a panel at PAX while post-production was wrapping up and they said that unless there was some discovery a heavily automated way to do all the branching detection and production, they weren’t going to subject themselves to that again. Plus there were a lot of strong hints that Sega was AWFUL to work with.

    • V. Profane says:

      They can make another Alpha Protocol style game without the IP. It’s not like it was particularly novel or that there was an obvious direction to go for a sequel.

    • mejoff says:

      Dunno about that, but I’d certainly non-lethally incapacitate for one.

    • Kaldor says:

      I don’t think there was anything inherently great or even so much as genuinely good about Alpha Protocol (it was a tad silly and bland), save for its general gameplay elements, but which could be employed in slightly altered or improved form in any other IP.

  22. Kaldor says:

    Neat. So far they don’t seem to have given their prestigious writer Chris Avellone any creative lead. Maybe these two can team up now. At least it’s good to know that there are still some twitches from that front… I’m sure some day it’ll be noticeably alive.

    • drewski says:

      Avellone was the creative lead on all three chunks of New Vegas DLC, and the design lead on Alpha Protocol.

    • Kaldor says:

      But he didn’t create the characters and setting of Alpha Protocol, for one. Like some of those silly 80’s B-movie villains. Same as back in the day of NWN2 when he said that credit for character designs goes to someone else. And DLCs. Yeah. Also there, other people did the groundwork. Let me just say that nothing of this is very impressive.

    • Bhazor says:

      He was lead writer on KOTOR 2 complete with a full original cast which is probably one of the most subversive (yet serious and official) treatments of an IP to ever appear in a videogame.

      Given that Planescape was also based on an existing setting I’d say he’s doing what he’s always done. Which is fine by me.

    • InternetBatman says:

      He was kind of the lead on Alpha Protocol. I thought that one got passed back and forth between multiple people before he got that. Kotor 2 has his motifs all over it though. I could tell it was written by him even before I looked it up.

  23. Enzo says:

    Oh god, PLEASE make Arcanum 2 in the style of New Vegas. I would love Obsidian forever.

    • Khemm says:

      WHAT???!!! No. Just no. I know that Troika was once rumored to make A2 play like that, but some things shouldn’t be done. Honestly, fvck the overused first person perspective making mah rpgs or turn based games xbox-friendly/ close-minded-fps-crowd-friendly.
      I want THIS to be finished:

    • drewski says:

      I think you’re just going to have to accept that modern RPGs aren’t for you, Khemm.

      I’d kill for a first person RPG with the depth of Torment. Not sure it can be done but, if anyone can, it’s Obsidian.

    • Khemm says:

      I’ve accepted that modern RPGs for the most part aren’t RPGs. They’re shooters/action games with meaningless stats and dialogue lines tossed in. No other games prove that like Oblivion, Fallout 3 or Mass Effect. They weren’t made for RPG gamers, but the huge Gears of War/Halo/Cod/Battlefield crowd which is too close minded to play anything that doesn’t at least look like your average action game. Imagine those people touching Torment or Wizardry – “waaah what is this s%$t unplayable waaah back to CoD”. There’s a reason Dragon Age “evolved” into DA2.

      I’d also question the point of making Torment play from a FPP. What exactly would that improve, how would that make the game better? It totally wouldn’t. What it would do is force the devs to abandon party-based gameplay.

    • drewski says:

      I don’t think you’re helping anything by dismissing anyone who likes different types of games to you as being “closeminded”.

      Planescape: Torment is my second favourite game of all time, but I still enjoyed the hell out of F3 and New Vegas. Games change – certainly a blockbuster title being released with the lack of useability that older RPGs had would be laughed out of stores these days. I’m replaying Fallout 2 right now and frankly, even as a game I *love*, it’s only because I love it that I’m putting up with it’s bullshit.

      As for Torment from a first person perspective – it wouldn’t make an iota of difference to the gameplay, which is why it doesn’t matter at all, except to the only thing that actually matters to the reality of games development – size of market.

    • Bull0 says:

      “They’re shooters/action games with meaningless stats and dialogue lines tossed in. No other games prove that like Oblivion, Fallout 3 or Mass Effect.”

      “angry rambling assertion that these games play like Gears of Halo Modern Warfare Vietnam”

      …I strongly disagree, sir. If I didn’t know any better I’d think you’d never played any of those games at all, that’s how badly your statement sits with me.

    • MSJ says:

      Protip for Khemm.

      Those stats do mean something. You were bad at those games because you neglected to increase the stats/skills of your characters, thus making them weaker in just about every aspect. You just don’t fight a deathclaw with 10 in Guns.

    • Wizardry says:

      Khemm is now my commenter of the day! Fight the good fight, Khemm!

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      No no, IGNORE Khemm. For the love of all things sane.

      There’s a scarcity of first person games that are NOT shooters any more, let alone RPGs. More first person RPGs please, developers. Bethesda get much wrong, but I love ’em for sticking to their guns and continuing to make such huge, open-world FIRST-PERSON games.

      But then I’m still hoping for Ultima Underworld 3, System Shock 3 and King’s Field 5. None of which will ever get made, it seems. :(

      (Though I’ve nothing against a turn-based first person game, The Quest did this fairly well.)

    • Wizardry says:

      There are plenty of good turn-based first-person RPGs. In fact, I’d say that first-person turn-based RPGs are the most common here in the west.

    • Wulf says:

      What drewski and Enzo said.

      I’m really not hung up on the NUMBARS or the isometric/top-down elements, those are as far away from what makes an RPG as anything could possibly be, and I daresay that they’re even incredibly detrimental to the creation of an RPG as the isometric approach can take a player out of the experience. I’m really happy with how New Vegas turned out and I’d like to see more of that.

      More developers need to concentrate less on the pedantic elements which belong more in strategy or tactics games (where they’re actually good), and more upon providing an experience. And you can provide an experience better either in first person, or in close third person. Obsidian proved that with New Vegas.

      An Arcanum done in the same design style as New Vegas? Yesplz.

  24. MaXimillion says:

    Wait, Obsidian’s making a WoT game? Now that is great news, at least assuming they don’t manage to release it in an even less finished state than usual.

  25. Vurten says:

    Troika was a natural center of gaming in my early pc-games era. Actually have Temple of Elemental Evil installed at the moment.

    Hope it works out for the greater good/evil/pony. Godspeed.

  26. Drake Sigar says:

    Obsidian are the most talented developers in the business.

    • Tuco says:

      Not really, as they can’t build a decent gameplay even if their lives depend on it, but they have the most talented authors, at least.

      At this very moment my favorite RPG developers are Piranha Bytes, which after the disappointing Gothic 3 won me back with Risen and the promising Risen 2. Their writing is usually subpar, but they build immersive worlds like no one else.

  27. UnravThreads says:

    Maybe Brian Fargo will somehow lure the remaining decent devs from Interplay, then join Bethesda with his inXile studio, then Bethesda should buy up Obsidian, and that’d create some sort of orgasm-spewing god of RPG-ness.

    • Wulf says:

      No. For RPGs to continue to evolve, Bethesda and Obsidian need to continue to be separate entities.

  28. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I seem to be one of the few who preferred Fallout3 to New Vegas.

    Yes, the dialogue was better in NV but there are many other facets to a game. FO3 was the more fun experience to lose yourself in I believe.

    • Wulf says:

      Fallout 3 was pretty much an air headed themepark ride. It’s good for what it is, but it’s not any more than that, and it was never designed to be. It’s a bit of dumb fun. You could tell that from the beachhead scenario with Liberty Prime. It didn’t have any of the more serious or intelligent elements of Fallout, it was just designed to be a bit of happy fun, but completely devoid of any true depth.

      I liked some of what Fallout 3 was doing. I liked the atmosphere and the ambiance in some regards, but ultimately I felt that Fallout 3 was completely shallow. I didn’t feel like I was changing anything in Fallout 3, and even where I did, I felt that it was ham-fisted and that nothing really changed after all. One great example of this is Megaton, where your choices are: Blow up Megaton or help Megaton not get blown up. There wasn’t anything more to it than that, and it had a giant, neon “THIS IS A CHOICE!” sign attached to it.

      But even if you decided to explode Megaton, you still got a house with a butler, and all of the important NPCs simply moved away from Megaton. I have to admit, I was amused at Moira becoming a ghoul, but for me it just highlighted that it wasn’t a real choice, it was just a graphical change. Now, if they’d removed the Moira quest line and provided a different one at Tenpenny’s? That would be something else. But they didn’t, because that’s not what Bethesda do.

      Not only that, but there is nowhere in Fallout 3 where you have to live with consequences, or where you’re challenged for being whom you are. See, in Fallout 3, you can have no speech skill, you can kill your way through everything, and people will love you. That went a long way toward proving the lack of depth in Fallout 3. In New Vegas you had a much more complex faction approach, and if you killed your way through that then you’d end up with numerous factions outright completely hating you, in fact, you might even end up being hated by the vast majority of the wasteland. So you had to use your noggin and your mouth more.

      In Fallout 3 you thought and talked with your gun.
      In Fallout: New Vegas you thought with your brain and talked with your mouth.

      See, that’s the difference.

      Fallout 3 is nice, but it’s nice as a shooter, or just a bit of dumb fun, it’s nice a shallow distraction, it’s even pretty, but it’s not clever, it’s not intelligent, it’s not meaningful, and it’s not satisfying. I didn’t feel like it made any difference that I was there, good or bad, in Fallout 3. Whereas with New Vegas, I left my footprint everywhere, and it wasn’t necessarily a glowingly good footprint either, no matter how hard I tried. But in New Vegas the footprint of the courier was everywhere, and by the end of New Vegas, I was burdened and weighed down with so much baggage that I could barely move.

      Whereas through the end of Fallout 3, I skipped merrily through, unburdened by anything. Because in Fallout 3? Nothing mattered. That’s often the problem with Bethesda games. Nothing matters. Great themepark rides, not great experiences.

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      More fun to play than NV though.

    • Bhazor says:

      … but NV and F3 played exactly the same. Maybe you were just burned out on F3’s gameplay when you tried NV?

  29. Advanced Assault Hippo says:


  30. Craig Stern says:

    This made me smile. The original Fallouts are masterpieces.

  31. endintears says:

    They’re making a Wheel of Time game? How did this wondrous news pass me by?!

    • Josh W says:

      You did hear about it, but because of a sudden spate of madness you forgot.

  32. Bodylotion says:

    It’s good to see many of the original fallout devs are working at Obsidian now but Obsidian did not impress me with their games yet. Fallout New Vegas is their best game yet but they used Bethesda’s engine and the story isnt that impressive neither. same goes for KOTOR 2 which had a decent story but wasnt as good as KOTOR1. Neverwinter nights 2 just was fun bot not nearly as good as NWN1 and Dungeon Siege 3 or Alpha Protocol were mediocre games.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      I thought Mask of the Betrayer was the closest any game has come to Torment’s writing and plotting – but you had to get over the Neverwinter Nights engine.
      Edit: and Storm of Zehir was the most old-school RPG to come out of any major studio in recent memory. It’s got a lot of problems, but it was as big-hearted as it gets.

    • Pidesco says:

      @Bodylotion: That so many people share your opinions on Obsidian’s games is one of the saddest things in gaming today.

      New Vegas was good despite the engine and core gamplay it inherited from Bethesda, not because of it.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well I could go on to Wulf levels and post a disertation about why KOTOR 2 is one of the best RPGs ever made but I wont. I’ll just keep it short and say you are wrong if you think the first one is better written.

      Also you said NWN was a good game? I honestly don’t know how to respond to that.

    • Alphabet says:

      KOTOR2 was extraordinary. Apparently lots was left out, etc. etc. but I didn’t notice and it’s still one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.

    • Durkonkell says:

      I absolutely loved KOTOR 2, up to the bit where it ran out. Remember the bit with Mira (Mira! Mira was AMAZING. I loved Mira) on the… final planet with the doomsday device that I’ve forgotten the name of? She turns up, has a fight with her nemesis and then heads into the evil Jedi temple. That’s it. That’s the end of her story. She never turned up to help the PC. Actually, she disappeared from the story completely, along with EVERYONE ELSE. It’s an absolute tragedy because some really incredible lines were written and actually recorded for the final area involving all the main characters and none of it was ever implemented.

      What happened to Bao Dur? Never explained. Atton? Disappeared. Who was flying the Ebon Hawk at the end? Who knows. What was G0-T0 playing at when he stopped the remote from blowing the planet up? Moreover, who the hell ACTUALLY blew the planet up later on? Why were all the plot hooks left in for the HK-planet that got cut from the final game?

      If Lucasarts had let Obsidian actually finish this game / If Obsidian had managed their resources better and managed to actually complete the project by the deadline (delete as appropriate) KOTOR2 would probably still stand today as my personal “best game ever”. Alternatively, patching it up would have been good as opposed to leaving it in an essentially unfinished state.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Reusing an engine should not be a bad thing in and of itself. Each development team shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel for every game they do. And Neverwinter Nights 2 was a vast improvement over NWN 1. Everyone remembers NWN 1 fondly because it has amazing creation tools, ended on a really high note, and released regularly during a drought of similar games. The first game has a horrible story, bad UI (which was improved only slightly in NWN 2), bad railroading, and only two characters in combat.

      NWN2 had a much better story, better fights, better ways of moving players from goal to goal, better dialog, and better NPCs. There really is no comparison between the first games, it’s only the expansions that make the first worthwhile.

      Also, Bioware completely lied in the loading screens of Baldur’s Gate about character transfers. That has nothing to do with anything, but it’s a sore spot.

    • Bodylotion says:

      KOTOR2 is a great game but in my opinion just not as good as KOTOR1. Fallout New Vegas would be better than Fallout 3 if both games were launched at the same time. What i’d like to see is that they would create a great new game we’ve all been waiting for.

  33. Skeez says:

    I feel tears of pure joy welling up :D

  34. Lobotomist says:

    This is best news !

  35. Pijama says:

    Can they do a RPG in Planescape nowadays? CAN THEY????

    • MOKKA says:

      I doubt it. The Planescape setting stoppend being a official campaign Setting for D&D with the release of the 3rd Edition. Then there is the part that the release of the 4th Edition Ruleset of D&D completely changed the character of the outer Planes and therefore the main aspect which made the Planescape Setting itself special. Sure you could make a RPG which is settled on the “new” planes, but the atmosphere would probably be completely different from what you saw in Planescape: Torment.

    • InternetBatman says:

      But they do have Sigil in the New D&D, and despite the name the game was more about Sigil than all of Planescape. They even cut the factions down in Torment before they did in normal D&D. The factions are winnowed out and a lot of what made Planescape as a setting amazing is gone, but much of the small stuff got incorporated into 4e.

      If you haven’t read the Manual of the Planes you can see what’s there and what’s not. I fully believe that another Torment style game is possible in the current system, especially since it was a simplified version of 2nd edition already.

      Sadly, I feel the game is impossible for different reasons. It feels like the vast majority of gamers expect their games to be entirely voice-acted. That would kill a text-heavy game like Torment quickly.

  36. Demiath says:

    Intriguing news. Obsidian have shown just enough promise over the past few years to warrant our attention, but it’s not entirely clear whether they’re one of the few semi-major studios actively trying to preserve substantial RPG narrative and gameplay elements…or if they’re merely second-rate designers who try their best to make hip new action RPGs but end up accidently producing awkward pseudo-clones of the classics some of them were involved with back in the day.

  37. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    That’s odd, I don’t recall Alpha Protocol being devisive. I remember a had full of reviewers who were wrong saying it sucked and everyone else lavishing praise on it despite a few faults.

    • Wulf says:

      Reviewers are often wrong, as wrong as Often Wrong Soong.

      A lot of that though is that a reviewer has to write something that’s interesting to read, and being contrarian sells more due to being interesting reading than anything else, so there’s that. And for all the intellectual brilliance a reviewer might have, they often can’t see the forest for the trees.

      But yeah. Alpha Protocol was surprisingly great. I didn’t think that I could enjoy that sort of game until Alpha Protocol, but I definitely appreciated the choices it provided me with.

    • Bob says:

      Alpha Protocol is a pretty cool game. Unless you replay it and find the effects your different choices make, then I guess you wouldn’t have the opportunity to see it’s best side.
      Fallout: New Vegas is amongst my favorite games of all time. Also the Fallout modding community rock.

      Anyhow back on topic, I hope Tim Cain’s joining Obsidian is beneficial to both parties, and then ultimately, we gamers will reap the rewards of that partnership.

  38. fenriz says:

    omg oh.

    Did i just wet my pants?

    Oh yah there it goes.

  39. DK says:

    Hopefully they learn a boatload from the Wheel of Time FPS and COPY IT 100%. It was brilliant in it’s execution of magic is a rare resource and felt like a puzzle game in a lot of places.

    Also, Orcs must Die is pretty much WoT multiplayer crossed with NPC waves, which is to say, WoT’s multiplayer was, wait for it: Multiplayer competitive capture the flag tower defense with a pre-game base building layer.

  40. wodin says:

    Sadly it wont mean the return of Fallout 1 and 2 style Fallout games (or any other new sci fi\steam punk\cyber punk iso rpg). Oh I wish for the same styke but with a suoer duoer uodated graohics engine with load sof unique lovely animations and tunr based or even wego combat.

    Look how lovely 2d scrollers look these days (Trine 2), I’m sure to god we could have a beautiful looking isometric game using todays tech.

  41. buzzmong says:

    So, Black Isle is essentially reforming then?

    Awesome stuff.

    If only the Looking Glass chaps would do the same.

  42. LostViking says:

    By the nine gods, please let the Wheel of Time game be good!
    I knew a game was brewing, but I didn’t realize they actually had a talented developer doing it.

    • Cerius says:

      Don’t forget though its a joint project. And Red Eagles Creative Guy is the writer of the later Fast and the Furious movies.

      Could go either way really.

  43. GiantRaven says:

    Cool. Arcanum reboot please?

  44. Dreamhacker says:

    I’m not sure how you’re connecting Chris Jones to the original Fallout trio, which consisted of Tim Cain Leonard Boyarsky and Jason Anderson.

    But, as for these good news, all Obsidian has to do now is to lure over Boyarsky from ActiBlizzard and Anderson from Turtle Rock, and we can officially declare the beginning of the CRPG renaissance.

  45. IDtenT says:

    Doesn’t this place need more comp sci graduates and less big head designers? I mean, just a tip and all. They need at least a few people who care about the code.

  46. JohnnieW1336 says:

    seo service
    It is tough for me to type in pure english when i am eating a hamburger too. But, after the merger or w/e we may see that Bethesda changes Fallout 4 to be a multiplayer release and not a single player one if it isn’t already planned to have an MP.

    Would they take or toss the work already done at Interplay?

    I don’t want anyone to lose the court case. But i think it will determine who Leonard Boyarsky may go work for and maybe Chris Taylor. Tough call. Sadly I may know the answers to these questions if I get hired at Bethesda next month, and i won’t have time to share them