Breaking News: Project Eternity

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Note: as I am traveling for work, the formating on this post could use a little work. I will remedy this as soon as I am able.

Setting a new land speed record, Obsidian entertainment has set the standard when it comes to funding speed. Less than 24 hours after its Kickstarter has begun (7pm MDT yesterday) they have completed their ambitious initial funding goal of $1.1 million. This gives them 30 more days to see just how far they can push the needle.

Though the speed and scope involved is certainly surprising, one thing that is not is the ardor of their fans. The gamers that have been waiting for the successor, spiritual or otherwise, to such classics as Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1&2, Baldur’s Gate, and my personal favorite – Arcanum, are legion. In large part, the success of the recent Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns projects were due to this same fan base. Despite the fact that mainstream developers no longer seem interested in making these tactical, story-intensive games, their fans have never given up hope.

Like many of you, I have already given Obsidian my money. I gave it to them after reading the first paragraph – before i watched the video or scrolled down to read the pitch – it is this level of trust in our favorite developers that is allowing the dollars involved in this project come in with such speed. If anything – reading more about the project has made me more uncertain about it. The easiest comparisons – Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns were both long on detail; they told us exactly what they wanted to do, and exactly how much they expected it to cost. To date Project Eternity has not provided a similar details. Information on the pitch hints at a fantasy theme, and feature sets can be derived by those with experience with some of their previous titles, but as a whole communication could use some improvement.

Though I am unlikely to take my $20 back in the near future, I hope that as they surpass their initial goal, stretch goals, polls and other fan service will give us further insights into their plans. I hope that new rewards and reward tiers will come into existence to augment their current lackluster offerings.

What do you need to hear from Obsidian to get you excited?

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This entry was posted by David Winchester.

14 thoughts on “Breaking News: Project Eternity

  1. A lot more faith in the company.

    Sure, some of the games they’e made were good. But they are trumpeting games like Icewind Dale, ToEE and NWN2, which were stinkers. And a “Whole new world with whole new systems!” doesn’t thrill me either. All that means to me is a significant chance of a hot mess of numbermashing in a world I don’t give a shit about (yay, I can play an onion farmer and though the unique mechanic of Manure Fertilization, introduce new varieties of thick skinned onions to the magical land of Beetopia!)

    So.. faith. And details. And guarantees it won’t be another farming game.

    • Good points all Clint. So it would be safe to say that they have a month to lose my money, but also a month to lose yours. I just hope that this trading on their reputation is a byproduct of the speed involved, and that details and a persuasive vision are forthcoming.

  2. I was following the countdown and speculation for this. Ever since Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun, it was only a matter of time until the stars aligned right and we’d see this exact project. Like you, I pretty much heard the keywords, “Obsidian,” “Baldur’s Gate,” “party turn-based,” “story,” and I told them to shut up and take my money.

    Since this is basically what I’ve been waiting to see hit Kickstarter since I found out about the website, I’m probably going to go further in — maybe Collector’s Edition. I was disappointed at the 100 dollar tier however, kind of annoyed I have to slap down an extra 40 to get what sort of feels should have been there.

    I can’t help but overwhelmingly agree with you about stretch goals. Where are they? I suppose you could say that they didn’t expect this much money this quickly, but somebody should really be on top of this. Call up Reaper and get some pointers. At this point in time there hasn’t yet been an update posted to the kickstarter or even an announcement on their main webpage that they’ve been funded…

    I’d love to see this succeed hard enough to turn some industry heads.

  3. Another issue to keep in mind is just how do you balance the fan base for such radically different games? I mean with settings alone, it will be tough to convey some of the same feelings, themes, and motiffs, of Arcanum, Fallout, and Planescape in a High Fantasy world.

    If you do Baldur’s Gate style gameplay in a Baldur’s Gate style world, are you really living up to the dream of finally standing out on your own as a developer without a publisher breathing down your neck?

    I don’t know about you guys, but Dragon Age was once a modern successor to Baldur’s Gate, and Bioware’s chance to finally do their own high fantasy world fell 100% flat for me. Even when they did branch out, just seeing dwarfs and elves in a medieval kingdom was enough to sink any real hopes I had for separating the game from the Forgotten Realms of old.

    • I understand, and largely agree with your Dragon age points. I sounds like I liked the dwarves much better than you, and hated the elves far more than you. I thought that the dwarven culture was the best part of the game.

      This will not be the first time Obsidian has the chance to write their own IP. Though Baldur’s Gate and Planescape were someone else’s world, Arcanum and Fallout were their own. Both of those rank pretty highly on my list of “Worlds that are totally awesome.”

      I have faith, it just isn’t limitless. What is it you would like to see, personally?

      • My primary issue with Dragon Age was the sum of its parts, rather than any particular piece. The dwarfs were fine, as were the elves, but nothing really made the world stand out. The overall story and story goals of a very simple ancient evil/ancient order trained to stop them didn’t help either.

        I think my dream game would be a perfect blend of all of the heavy hitters in the iso-rpg genre. High fantasy in a industrialized, but post-apocalyptic world where magic has become so chaotic and unreliable that it is breaking into other planes of existence. That would definitely be a stretch however, so I will settle for high fantasy done in the styling of Arcanum, Fallout, or Planescape. But high fantasy in high fantasy for high fantasy’s sake has been done to death and you would have to create a world as rich and interesting as the Elder Scroll’s series to have me get excited about another one.

        I mean, the iso-RPG genre may be defined primarily by the success of Baldur’s Gate, but Black Isle and Troika and Bioware did so much more to expand it beyond that type of setting, even if the games failed commercially or in execution. Lionheart, for example, wasn’t very good, but its alternate history setting made it a little fresh even though it was still medieval with magic. I could settle for an alternate history Celtic setting though. That could still be interesting, and some of their naming conventions make that seem possible.

      • I wanted to like the Dragon Age setting more then I did. The gameplay itself was good enough to entertain, and the companion dialogue was quite enjoyable. But yeah, the setting really does fall flat. Like David, I felt the dwarves came the closest to breaking the mold — which was a mighty feat considering they were still in underground kingdoms and what not.

        The darkspawn seemed to have some potential but ended up being more of a tease of an idea, and the developers chuckling at you with a, “Oh, nevermind, they’re just orcs. Kill! Kill!”

        Obsidian actually has a rather hit and miss history as far as quality of products go. But even when they miss, you can see that they worked on it with a love of the genre.

  4. Yeah. New Vegas is a good example. It was really buggy at release and did very little to differentiate itself gameplay-wise from Fallout 3, but there was so much more passion in the characters and world building. I would’ve loved to finally see the Van Buren storyline, but the tales of New Vegas were super solid.

  5. “If anything – reading more about the project has made me more uncertain about it.”

    Same here. I’m really conflicted about this one. While I do think that Obsidian can make a great game, everything they’ve said is so vague and generic that I’m a little turned off by it. After all, these developers love to bang on about how much more transparent they can be with the development of the game without a publisher looking over their shoulder. While that’s true, I’m not seeing it here.

    There may be one of two reasons for this: developers have been so used to being secretive that they don’t really know how to be truly transparent about their games, or they don’t really have any specific ideas yet to share. There could be another reason, of course – I just hope it’s not the latter of those two.

    • Well, lets take a look both possibilities. The map is the only evidence to support the secrecy hypothesis that they have offered to date, whereas I would say that the lack of stretch goal details (new playable race and area!) support the idea that they don’t know what game they want to make.

      We’ll find out over the next couple weeks of course, but I would say this Kickstarter is poorly executed to date, by an industry player with a very valuable name.

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