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* * * * * 67 votes

If Obsidian + Kickstarter = ?

Posted by Chris Avellone , 10 February 2012 · 140822 views

All of Double Fineís success from Kickstarter has been inspiring.


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

I'd like to see Obsidian develop its own style, which I assume has always been the plan but has been difficult to do. That would probably, but not necessarily, involve an original IP.

More specifically, I'd love Alpha Protocol 2, but that's not suitable as a Kickstarter project. So a turn-based squad-combat RPG of some sort would be nice and probably fit the scope best. Maybe if ideas like the Defiance pitch aren't getting traction with publishers it could work here.
    • Rosbjerg and Kadayi like this
I think that the biggest advantage of this model, is that the game doesn't have to cater to the mainstream audience, but you can make game that are aimed at the dedicated few. What this means to me, is that you won't have to spend money on things like voicing every line in the game, porting it to consoles, making it accessible to a wider audience, using top of the art graphics etc. I guess my point is, I'd be more than happy with the production values of the early 2000s games.You can instead focus on what us, the dedicated few can appreciate - Excellent story, deep and words-heavy dialogues and texts, isometric tactical combat, getting down and dirty with stats... What made old school PC RPGs great!
I would happily pledge 100$ or possibly more (which is saying a lot, as I'm a rather poor animation student!) for a game like that. All I want is for the classics such as the Baldur's Gate series, Planesace: Torment etc. to be the inspiration, the game to largely based on the Infinity Engine gameple-wise and for the game to be PC-centric (Sorry, console-folks, but I believe this kind of game should be PC centric, beside, consoles RPGs don't really need any Kickstarting!)
The setting should be unique and interesting and the story should to be something a little more interesting than "save the world", the characters shouls to be more than "elf wizard". Basically this game should have Romancing, reading, imagining and most of all - Role playing!

My dream project would be a having the game set in the Dark Sun campaign setting. How amazing would that be? :)
I understand if that could never happen due to licensing costs though.
    • Shatterbrain, erragal, AngoraFish and 2 others like this
Greetings Mr. Avellone.

Before daring to make a petition from you, I'd like to thank you for all the wonderful experiences you're partly responsible in sharing with me. Like all others in these posts I am a fan. So much that I made an account just to write this. I also confess that I've played Planescape: Torment around... sixteen or seventeen times and dug around the infinity engine files. With that being said...

**** the fans.

We are not game developers. If we knew what makes a good game and how to make it, we'd be making it ourselves, instead of asking it from you. I am not sure what's your thought process (immaculate and glorious as it must be) behind asking what sort of things the audience wants to see funded. The consensus seems obvious, a high concept WRPG that evokes to the novel, immersive experience from Black Isle times. Well, that may seem appealing, but part of that quality is well, the novelty. Planescape 2 would not alienate and awe us as we once were. Hell, whatever we ask for would not do such a thing since it'd be present as an idea-seed in our brains.

So I believe the best way to give fans what they want is to ignore them and do your own thing.

I trust you, Mr. Avellone. I consider your plume a sure sign of divine spark in games and writing. You do not need to ask what we want, what we want is for you to work in a censor-free, wild environment that allows you to produce something new and refreshing. Even if that isn't a high concept WRPG.

Out of curiosity, could you risk a budget estimate for a low-end WRPG? Do you think an isometric view is still viable?
    • Rosbjerg, Lars Westergren, anubite and 7 others like this
Jon of the Wired
Feb 10 2012 01:54 PM
I'm sure everyone at Obsidian must have a dozen ideas in their back pocket that they've always wanted to pursue, but could never sell to a publisher. I say indulge yourselves. Find something you really want to make and just do it.

If I had to express an opinion, than I'd say that anything in the neighbourhood of "oldschool" deeply non-linear isometric RPG would make me very happy.
    • equatorian, Neocognitron, AngoraFish and 5 others like this
Idea 1: Turn-based robot RPG in which the player is a "AI Master Program" implanted in some lowly maintenance robot.

Throughout the game, you can have your AI core extracted from one robot body into another, more advanced one, with each body being fully customizable and upgradeable.

Every major situation or combat encounter can be tackled in different ways depending on what body you're installed in, be it some robo-puppy, a 12' military-grade juggernaut, or an android love-bot. Object of the main quest: cross the galaxy, kill the baddy/deliver the package/attain self-awareness?.

Overall motif of the game world: depressed, fractured, but increasingly eccentric humanity that has almost forgotten how to build or even maintain its technology. As a robot, you're either worshiped or hunted down for your parts. Many pop-cultural references to robots of movies, literature, etc.
    • Gurkog likes this
Feb 10 2012 01:54 PM
I want Plancescape Torment 2!!!!!!
    • Landazar likes this
Forget 3D.

Assuming your artists can create beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds of the quality of the Infinity Engine games I'd prefer a large quantity of beautiful, unique, 2d maps over maps with recycled 3d assets.

As for setting, don't listen to us. Pick whichever setting interests you. We want you inspired, not rehashing old ideas to satisfy the fans.
    • Phinelete, Neocognitron, AngoraFish and 5 others like this
I think the time has come for RPGs to expand beyond fantasy and sci-fi worlds, especially given the abundance of historical settings that would be just as novel to most players. Personally, I would love to see an adaptation of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, since all the elements of a great story are already there- ambition, avarice, betrayal, violence and tragedy. The interaction between two groups of people who each view the other as impossibly alien would allow players to experience events within the game with an entirely different perspective depending on their chosen faction, building on the NCR-Caesar's Legion conflict in New Vegas. Also, the tension between the Aztecs and the subjugated peoples of their empire (many of whom allied with the Spanish) offers the possibility of recruitable factions similar to the Brotherhood of Steel, Boomers, etc.

A spiritual successor to Torment (although not a direct sequel) would be the way to go, I think.

Agreed. A new IP is fine, just nail the story and characters like you did in Placescape (no big deal, right?).
    • Shatterbrain and dmbot like this
I just had to make an account to comment on this.

For me, I think you guys should do a passion project that you've always wanted to make. Now I realise with a kickstarter project the scope will still be limited, for example I'd LOVE to see another Alpha Protocol style game but that would just be out of scope though I'd still love to see that wonderful cause and effect branching dialogue system.

Basically, don't listen to us because we're not designers. That sounds harsh as we'd be paying for the project as such but I'd rather you guys go for broke and do what YOU want to do. Afterall, what's the point on doing this if you're not passionate about the project itself ? I'm more of a real time kinda guy for combat rather than turn based but I'll happily put money towards whatever it is you want to make. I'll play anything Obsidian makes. You guys have earned it from your history and from what you have previously made.

Basically, do what you want to do, I'll put up some cash and smile knowing that you don't have some rubbish publisher breathing down your neck with demanding deadlines or wanting you to change things to their way.
    • AngoraFish, Kadayi and disperse like this
I would like to see an rpg in the vain of planescape, mask of the betrayer, and kotor 2, with a focus on philosophy and metaphysiscs. I've always loved obsidian just because you're one of the few companies that makes me actually think as I play. I'd like to see another game with things like themes and metaphors and other fancy-pants literary terms.
    • Landazar, hano and Gurkog like this
Obsidian is responsible for my favorite RPG of all time, FNV, so I feel that anything you do is going to work, and I'll just straight-up give you money for anything.

However, I do have a suggestion to make: The common science fiction tropes and settings in games and movies are the same cold war paranoia that influenced science fiction in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Science fiction itself has evolved into a state that represents modern hopes and fears, with post-singularity, post-scarcity, and post-global warming issues that my generation and future generations take for granted.

A new IP that represents the best of science fiction in the modern age (Your Charles Stross, your Ken MacLeod, even your Warren Ellis'), with something approaching the political and dialogue system of PST and FNV, would help push both science fiction into the spotlight, and hopefully change a few minds along the way. What could be more important?
    • Tychoxi likes this
I'd like to see something like a technological thriller set within a persistent open world environment (like a closed colony ship/Island/large orbital space station). Something potentially Sci-fi/Futuristic/Cyber-punk, but without recourse to the usual tropes in terms of visual styling that have become synonymous with those genres, or illogical concessions to game play (Adam Jensen - head of Sarif security having to mooch ammo everywhere for instance). Also something where in violence is rare and the killing of someone is hugely significant. I'm not against violence, but I think we've had enough cannon fodder in games (the kill count in a typical FPS is ludicrous tbh), and it would be good to see the medium move beyond the waves of red shirts approach and make the act of violence impactful (as it should be) rather than the norm. I think by the time I encountered that 'special someone' in GTA IV I'd executed over 600 people, so whether I let him live or die was kind of meaningless (even more so given I had no sense of betrayal by him in the game). Where as deciding whether Henry Leland should live or die was a big moment. More of that please.
    • Lars Westergren likes this
1. (Personal highest regarded choice)
- A Fallout style original RPG in scifi (not in space, though), cyberpunk or steampunk setting.
- Isometric (default) camera (but with options to zoom in and out, and camera rotation).
- Tactical turnbased combat.
- Partymember control would be nice but I wouldn't hold it against the game if it was not there.
- Properly complex and rewarding characterdevelopement and overall rulesystem.
- Multipath multisolution quests.
- Lots of dialog.
- Choices with actual consequences.
- Moral ambiguousness in the setting and stories.
- Adult themes handled in adult manner.
- Themes of political powerplay, racism, religion, violence, etc.
- More down to earth plot (no nameless random chosen one saving the world from an ancient evil).
- No minigames (in the sense of lockpicking and hacking in New Vegas and Fallout 3), but all actions being done by character according to his/her skill.
...in a nutshell.

Serious business. :D

2. Another game in the Planescape setting. This time with well done TB combat.

3. Another Vampire: The Masquerade game.
    • AngoraFish, Tychoxi, Landazar and 2 others like this
Just tell me where to send my money.
    • Valvar, AngoraFish, Tatter and 1 other like this
First, let me say that I think it's awesome that Obsidian is considering following Double Fine's lead into crowdsourced funding for a niche project. I think there are only a handful of developers with the fan esteem that could pull something like this off on a large scale, and Obsidian is one of them, so fingers crossed this becomes a reality. It holds a lot of potential for allowing vibrantly creative devs to help niche genres thrive by going around the obstructionist min/maxing philosophy of the large publishing houses.

As to what I'd like to see:

1.) Party-based (as in, having direct control of the main character and members of a party); this is essential. There are lots of RPGs getting made these days, but more and more they're either going the route of solo gameplay or real-time/action combat control of the main character with purely AI support. These aren't bad ways to do RPGs at all (and Obsidian's done great with Alpha Protocol and New Vegas), but I love old style party-based control and outside of the first Dragon Age, that's just not being done a lot (or done well) anymore, and I'd want a project like this to focus on giving us something we're not currently getting.

2.) It doesn't have to be a D&D game (in fact, I'd really prefer it not be, as that'd be funneling a lot of money into licensing rather than focusing on making the game everything it can be), but I do want lots of meaty complexity. I want a good class system, I want to pick skills and feats/perks when I level up, I want lots of customization options and plenty of equipment and spells.

3.) I don't want a sequel to Planescape: Torment. What I DO want is a game that follows in the path of PS:T or Mask of the Betrayer by giving us tons and tons of well written, thought provoking, philosophical dialogue. I want complex and interesting characters like Dak'kon or Kaelyn the Dove, Gann of Dreams or Kreia where I can literally sit and have a conversation with this character for a good half hour, exploring their personal philosophy, their history, having plenty of options in my dialogue.

4.) Isometric would be grand. The Onyx engine can do that, right? Because Dungeon Siege 3 looked great.

5.) Can I mention a quality class system again? I feel like this is something completely forgotten these days. I'm so tired of the few RPGs with class systems only letting me pick between fighter, rogue, and mage.

6.) Give us a fairly unique setting. Again, I don't necessarily think this needs to be a D&D thing, but the best games from you guys are the ones that tend to stand apart in their settings. Planescape is obviously unique, but so was a shamanistic/spirit-focused barbarian culture, a modern day espionage setting, or a remade Las Vegas. Whether it's fantasy or space or cyberpunk or steampunk or contemporary or post-apocalyptic, whatever -- just be creative and totally outside the box in the details.

That's it. I'm not that picky.
    • Lars Westergren, dmbot, Googolplexbyte and 1 other like this
Whatever you guys were passionate about doing that you've never really gotten to do, or have done in the past but have been unable to do since....

Seriously, your passion behind a project and ability to control it are what will make it great.

That said, my preferences -

A sequel to Alpha Protocol
A create your own 6 party member, isometric view, turn-based cRPG using 4E (or your own rules if you prefer) in the style of Icewind Dale

That's what I'd like to see from you guys. After South Park. :)

You MUST do the Kickstarter.
First let me say that what is happening in the few days is almost making me cry of joy, after so long listening to publishers spewing their nonsense about pc gaming being dead and old-school games having no place on today's market, the kickstarter fever is making me look at the future of the industry with hope for the first time in many years.
Now about the game I would like to see, i will echo the sentiment that seens the rule on the coments, do an old school CRPG about what you guys are passionate about. Obsidian has the best writing team on the industry today, I realy looking foward to see what you guys can do with no pressure from publisher and no arbitrary deadlines. I have full confidence that will guys can deliver something memorable.
    • Rostere, sorophx and AngoraFish like this
Feb 10 2012 02:22 PM
Well, the obvious thing I'd like is another Planescape game. Definitely not Planescape: Torment 2 but still Planescape: Something.

If original IP would be preferred/necessitated by license troubles, then I have a simple request: keep it way out there. No vanilla sci-fi/fantasy, no burdening yourself to make it "realistic" or down to earth.

And perhaps the most important thing, that I assume is obvious to you, but I'll still say it: I hope you're treating all this questioning the fans as a loose hunt for ideas, not as simply surveying what's most popular. Just make what you guys want to make - you have enough of our trust for that.

Good luck.
    • Landazar likes this
Space Fantasy Timetravel RPG



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