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* * * * * 67 votes

If Obsidian + Kickstarter = ?

Posted by Chris Avellone , 10 February 2012 · 114641 views

All of Double Fineís success from Kickstarter has been inspiring.

I GUESS PEOPLE LOVE THOSE CLASSIC ADVENTURE GAMES AFTER ALL.*

The idea of player-supported funding is... well, itís proof certain genres arenít dead and sequels may have more legs than they seem. And the idea of not having to argue that with a publisher is appealing.

Out of curiosity, if Obsidian did Kickstart a project, what would you want to see funded? (You can respond in comments or to @ChrisAvellone on Twitter, whichever you prefer.)

* I only use all caps for sarcasm and shouting. And for the Think Tank in Old World Blues for comedy value.

  • mkreku, maia, Adam Brennecke and 90 others like this



Make the RPG YOU and your co-workers want

I also accept

Your Highschool RPG
Dr. Who RPG
Planescape 2 (Not a sequel. Just a game set in the Planescape Setting)
Original IP
Darklands 2
Arcanum 2

Just has to be turn-based, wordy, full of C&C. Ya know the drill.
    • Powerslave, Gambler, Middleware and 6 others like this
looong comment

I would probably donate to a project started by Obsdian -- provided you give us more than what DoubleFine did (it's why I have not donated to them yet). I want a game concept, more than a genre and a promise that it will either be great or horrible. What is the setting, what elements do you want to try? The game can fail, in a sense, but we need to know more about what you want to create. We know we're taking a risk, but we need to be a little more informed about this risk. When a lot of the big picture is laid out, then I will support you.

What would I like to see? First of all, Obsidian does great work, but you guys also have made some big flops. You've not always had the best gameplay ideas, though your narrative and the general flow of the game tends to be incredible.

I would like to see a unique, unused setting. Perhaps something pre-historic and/or anachronistic. Maybe something political? The Indus valley civilization. The ancient Olmec, the forgotten people of Teotihuacan, the people of Ankor Wat. Something quietly sinister. Something unknown. Something mystical and ancient combined with modern elements (Perhaps the cities surrounding these great ruins are really anachronistic, with some modern inventions like guns or steel or machinery or very advanced mathematics or philosophy).

I would absolutely love to see "Kreia" return. As far as I'm concerned, she's the best character to have been featured in your games. A "neutral", unreliable yet wise character with a complex motive. If you can promise someone like Kreia, I will shell out sixty American dollars.

You don't need a large cast of party members. Three to four will suffice, if they're all of sufficient depth and design. The scope of the game does not need to be "epic"; though it should obviously be of some decent length (longer than the newest Final Fantasy we were just graced with, which clocks in at under 25 hours).

As for gameplay, you can do "traditional" Baldur's Gate-like combat with its isometric perspective. Or you could do something real-time like Skyrim (though please, please don't copy Skyrim's abominable combat system). I would only ask that spells and abilities be unique or at least interesting. Skyrim is exactly the antithesis of this, in terms of spells and abilities.

If you were to use the mesoamerican setting, you could easily do an interesting ability system using blood sacrifice (or some kind of sacrifice to the gods) or something different like that. Actually, green /obsidian/ was of immense importance to the central american cultures... it symbolizes rebirth. That could easily be your currency too...

A 'Planescape 2' is a bad direction to go in. But to call it that to get more donations? Go right ahead. Grim Fandango is an excellent example of how a creative 'morbid' setting can go. Planescape's right up there with it. Why I love Planescape so much is because of its setting... so getting the setting right is important.

I want female characters that matter. That just aren't pieces of ass like Tali or Miranda from Mass Effect. I like Visas, but I think you can create a strong female role which is more complex than hers. Of course, 'keep it simple stupid' is also not a bad strategy to undertake. For this kind of project, you're getting all the money up front (though I suppose you want to consider selling this on Steam or something afterwards too), so I expect there to be a little level-headedness. You can't go overboard with your freedom, as that, in my experience, tends to create a lesser product. Some self-constraint is good. Romance? Well, a little bit is fine, but female characters exist to capture that other 'essence' of humanity and sex hardly has to do with that.

Graphics don't matter. Voice acting does not matter. I don't want loads of money poured into either of these. In fact, you can have "average" graphics and that will more than suffice. Voice acting? It can be completely unvoiced. The only RPG which has ever had voice contribute to its atmosphere and value was Vampire Bloodlines: The Masquerade (though I guess some of Obsidian's Voice Acting has been good in the past). I doubt you will be able to achieve quality voice actors on a budget, so just skip this. A good soundtrack is great though. But just look at how bad voice acting detracts from the The Elder Scrolls games - don't do it!

I don't think I need to tell you how to write. You do a great job at it. You can write the game like it's meant to be followed up by a sequel or not. But please, please, please make choices matter. Mass Effect is such a disappointment. Don't be afraid to go all out with this. Plan from the very beginning to make choices matter thoughout the game. If I **** up and the world ends, great! What you decide in the first five minutes of the game should directly effect what happens halfway through it, if you can manage that!

The game being easily mod-able and open-world are big pluses but not required.

I hope you're not teasing us by asking this question. I think a lot of us are serious. We would pay you $60 or more if gauranteed us another jewel like KOTOR2 or Planescape.
    • MithrilSilverAus, Lars Westergren, Shatterbrain and 5 others like this
Planescape Torment in Space, please.
    • Bloodloss and hano like this
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vault_overseer
Feb 10 2012 12:43 PM
Nicely balanced turn based rpg with a good story and C&C.
    • Bloodloss, Googolplexbyte and Bombastuss like this
A role-playing game where the focus is on role-playing but with great content like in Planescape: Torment or Fallout! Beyond that, I miss the days of voiceless or minimally voiced protagonists, a combat/dialog log, and minimal to no action. So if you're going real-time, use pause! This all assuming you're making a role-playing game, and with dialog/combat.
    • Heartbreak_Courier likes this
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WorstUsernameEver
Feb 10 2012 12:48 PM
Think the original Fallout except with better combat (possibly full-control of your henchmen?) and an original setting.

Or do what the **** you want, as long as it's not "yet another action-RPG: Retribution". We're served by the AAA market for that.
    • Bloodloss and MattH like this
Good turn based combat like Temple of Elemental Evil, Age of Decadence combat demo or Jagged Alliance 2 or something fully original (Baten Kaitos is a fairly recent example of an entirely unique battle system) did.

Unique world, not a Tolkien rip off, or generic space opera or generic modern day/spy fiction (though AP went for a less than serious parody approach in many places). Unique space opera or unique modern day (Like the World of Darkness or Deus Ex's web of conspiracies, and even then DX is near future) are fine. Licensed (Planescape, Avatar: TLA) or new doesn't matter.

No boob armor/gratious cleavage. It can be appropriate to the character (Sie's Bond girl parody), but I really prefer it not get used

Choices and Consquences

I actually wouldn't mind seeing a non-sexualized female as a "fixed" player avatar (Like TNO or Gearalt or Mike), though customizable dood takes preference.

And, as much as MCA would make it redundant to say: No ****ty romances.

Graphics, as long as I can tell things apart and the prospective is consistent and not head tilting bad (coughKotCcough), same with voice acting

Magic should never be bland. One great thing about 3.5 D&D is that while spells are broken even used as intended, they had effects beyond "blast, buff, nerf, heal" and rewarded creativity. Temple of Elemental Evil captures a lot of it, though is limited by the system.

Extensive character customization.

Easily modable.
    • Powerslave, Phinelete, Tychoxi and 3 others like this
A turnbased, top-down RPG made with Onyx. Similar design goals as with Fallout 1 (freedom of choice, big focus on different player experiences) but a new IP created by you guys.
I guess there are a number of sequels one could think of but if opportunity was given, I'd love an original IP. Something set in the present day would be cool, maybe something that really explores the fragility of humanity (like Call of Cthulhu-esque).

But yeah, most of all I'd just like to see an old-school type of RPG that is A) not all awesum action!1!!, but more about tactical slow-paced gameplay and B) that is not designed for everyone to be able to beat it right away. Make it real challenging with little hand-holding/pointing the player in the right direction always.

And if a kickstarter thing *was* set up, making everything as "transparent" as possible would be good. What do you plan to do with the money, what exactly is one paying for, why should one do this etc etc.
    • Dermi and hano like this
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surreal_pistachio
Feb 10 2012 12:52 PM
Something like Planescape: Torment in spirit : Great writing, unique setting / characters, philosophical matters, strangeness, etc. It would be so great ! And a better combat system coupled with that (turn-based preferably).

But all in all, just do something personal, that you like, without compromise.
    • MattH, Landazar and transplanar like this
I also prefer 2D btw, not sure if you guys want or would be able to do that, but I personally find the 3D distracting in RPGs, and the graphics are usually unimpressive. Much prefer the Infinity Engine or Bastion look. I'd gladly be proven wrong though.
    • AngoraFish, MattH and Googolplexbyte like this
Hey Chris,

Like I wrote on FB, the most pie-in-the-sky hope would be to see a remake of FO1 and FO2, but those would really have to be AAA development cycles.

For something like this, an Isometric/turn-based/SRPG approach works best. It sounds like folks are generally in agreement that *the* most important thing is a deep, choices and consequences storyline with lots of great characters and deep relationships.

The other trick to elevating that kind of game would be the small things - a headquarters with lots of smaller features and party interactions (like in the Suikoden series), character specific storylines, towns and villages that you can invest in (like the original Wild Arms or your own NWN2), stuff like that.

One thing that I loved in KOTOR2 and would love to see executed even more complexly is when the party splits. It's a compelling dynamic to have the focus shift to different characters within an overarching plot line. One game template to consider is Shining Force 3. That game was broken up into three releases, each one featuring a different main characters. However, all three featured in each game, and there was an overall narrative that brought the plot threads together. America only got the first game in that series, so I don't know how well it worked, only that the concept alone is amazing and one you guys could obviously do justice.

Oh, and one last thing I would love - an ability to name my characters. Even better...a chance to name characters at the beginning of the game, and enjoy it as they get introduced over the course of the narrative. :-)

Good luck, and hoping I get a chance to donate to the cause!
    • Powerslave, Bloodloss, AngoraFish and 2 others like this
I would cash everything I have in the bank and give it to Obsidian if they did this:

Onyx Nights

1. An open-source 3D engine similar to NWN2 (so the ****ty camera can always be programmed correctly).
2. A scripting system that is easy/robust as NWN2.
3. A rules set that is fully customizable (as in it could support any rule system).
4. A ****ton of art assets including medieveal/modern/space.
5. Tile and 3D environments, just like NWN2.
6. Very good modding support for 3D models (3DS Max and that open-source one).
7. Combat can be turn-based or RTwP.
8. FACEGEN (so you can create as many new/different looking NPC's) and Speedtree
9. An easy to use yet powerful editor that is also open-source.

Basically take all the bad from NWN2 like it only uing the D&D ruleset, and open-sourced and very very modder friendly.

If Obsidian truly cared about the cRPG genre, they would spearhead a game developed like this. That said, they are however a business and need to make something that would be profitable for the company. They probably could re-tool the onyx engine already to do all of the above.

There you go Obsidian. This is something you could give to the entire cRPG community and it would only continue to grow and thrive.
    • Rosbjerg, Shatterbrain and Havoc like this
As far as setting, plot and characters are concerned, I will leave it in your hands. You're more than capable with it. I do think, however, that it should be an original IP, original setting. It doesn't have to be something entirely new, just something original with a certain degree of complexity. (Plus you get to milk the IP forever afterwards, since it's going to be entirely yours.)

As far as gameplay is concerned, I don't mind whatever combat system it has as long as it's reasonably balance, you can't gimp a character without some effort and, for the love of god, not twitch-based. I do hope, however, that it has meaningful choices. Something along the lines of Alpha Protocol is on the right track in that regard, plus---give us a greater FEEL of the weight behind our decisions. Not morality hammering, no, just a weight of what it means in respect to the setting/plot.

On cosmetics, i.e. graphics/voices/etc. : I really don't mind either way, but for practicality's sake I think a good old 2D isometric look would be best. You're looking to fund this at least partially on Kickstarter, so the cheaper the better---and I think it's been proven that you have a fanbase with a great love for 2D isometric, which is something that goes very well with your experiences as well. The same goes for voices. While voice can help improve immersion, I don't think they honestly improve immersion that much when everyone says the same flavor text over and over, and I'd rather like a game world that is truly immersive instead of one that feels like it. Furthermore, they're costly, and that resource could be better spent elsewhere.

I'll be happy to fund anything you make, since I've been dreaming about this for a long, long time. Please make it a good game. (I'm doing everything I can to keep this post from turning into incoherent flailing, so please excuse me if I sound strange in spots.)

EDIT : P.S. Somebody on Twitter said 'spiritual sequel to AP, with more focus on being a manipulative jerk.' While it doesn't have to be a spiritual sequel, I feel that the second part has merit. More opportunities to manipulate the world without the act automatically translating into being evil, please.
    • MithrilSilverAus and Jozape like this
Simple, party based isometric rpg in a fantasy universe.
    • Landazar likes this
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CommanderCool
Feb 10 2012 01:14 PM
An isometric space adventure RPG. Galaxy hopping with a large variety of unique worlds and races and an emphasis on exploration. Beautiful high detail Infinity engine-esque graphics.

Please no Planescape 2. I get the feeling that people who want Planescape 2 don't actually get the original. It's perfect as a single entity. A sequel would only diminish it.
    • hano likes this
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AmokWithLuck
Feb 10 2012 01:14 PM
Hey Chris & Obsidian,

Made an account here just to comment on this, because I am very interested.

Here's what I'd love to see, short and sweet:

Certainly a turn-based combat system, but one that isn't plodding. Take a look at the Grandia series, for instance. A setting that isn't strictly high/dark fantasy or generic science fiction. Something weird, self-aware and mature -- but not in a blood and guts sort of way.

Maybe it looks like this, on a really high level: A weird art style. A self-aware story. Mature characters -- ones that span all ages, sexes, world-views, etc.


Thanks and good luck!
    • sorophx, AngoraFish, Kadayi and 1 other like this
Following from other comments, without wanting t obe too prescriptive, I'd suggest an innovative setting. Possibly something ostensibly shiny-shiny. But with a flawed protagonist. A screwup with obvious weaknesses, sometimes en-nobled by better intensions or scruples. Surrounded by hordes of staggeringly well-crafted characters.

Criminal investigation would be cool. But it's a tricky one to do well. i.e. make it so you can draw the wrong conclusions and follow dead ends and get the wrong fellah sent to the dragon chair.

The dragon chair is like an electric chair except it's more flamey, and it's got wheels.
    • sorophx and Kadayi like this
I do think we need to talk $$$ at some point though. What does Obsidian need? Just 1million? That should be easy given DoubleFine's success.

Five million? After 31 days you might be able to raise that much. But that's stretching it a bit.

How much do you need for an Isometric RPG of decent length and quality? For a full 3d NWN-esque one?
    • Landazar likes this
@CommanderCool

Not a sequel. Another game set in the Planescape universe.
    • MattH, ZaberPX, Landazar and 1 other like this
Here are "my ideas"

-"The Wire" RPG
-"High School" RPG
-Original IP that you have pitched but the damn publishers just won't let you make.
-"Beta Protocol"

I would prefer the combat to be turn based (we really don't need another action-rpg). Though "The Wire" game obviously wouldn't have that much combat.

Graphics don't matter as long as it's done stylistically. No romances with everyone and their moms&dads. Freedom of choice and actual consequences to those choices. Punish the player for their idiocy, you can and will fail.

Voice acting isn't everything. I can read and I bet others can too. Just voice some of the characters in the game so there's plenty of dialogue around.

Most of all, do the project you want to make as a company without the publishers shoveling their ideas down your throats. Hell, make two while you are at it.

For the kickstarter thing like Starwars said make it as transparent as possible so we know what we are getting, what the money is used on etc. The documentary idea by Double Fine is also a good idea, something like monthly update from some team member would be great.

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