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* * * * * 67 votes

If Obsidian + Kickstarter = ?

Posted by Chris Avellone , 10 February 2012 · 113766 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



When I saw the kickstarter posted by Double Fine, I immediately began pondering what this might mean for the severely underserved party-based, turn-based RPG genre. I know that it doesn't have huge publisher appeal, but I know that people are desperate for a followup of the likes of Storm of Zehir and Temple of Elemental Evil. Similar to another property running a kickstarter currently, Order of the Stick, it would be nice if we could get something as deep as the D&D universe while skirting around the licensing issue that occurs by invoking it. But seriously, the depth of Storm of Zehir combined with ToEE combat would make my decade. I really feel like SoZ made the right balance between depth and streamlined interface...certainly around the dialogue and overworld skill checks. The only thing I wished was for it to go into Epic levels.

Speaking of which, I'd love to see an RPG that scales from low level characters to epic.

And if it isn't clear, I would absolutely contribute to a Kickstarter for Obsidian, but per an earlier poster, would love it to be more detailed.

Things I love in a CRPG:

*Skills, skills and more skills. But make them useful, and have them change the way the game is played.
*Enchantable weapons and armor
*metamagic
*party based, including complete control over party individuals
*turn based
*deep dialogue that takes skills into account - really just the SoZ system would have me very pleased.

And finally, crowdsource the sucker once released so you can focus on expanding the game, adding content, but also have the knowledge that the bugs are going to be crushed. I know that pubs are really the offenders when games are released, because they don't want to pay for developers to bug fix games that aren't necessarily selling like hotcakes, but look at ToEE's community so long after release. If they could have had access to hammer out the bugs initially, while the dev team worked on adding content, we would have the ultimate CRPG of the last decade.

CRPGs are massively complex things, and we understand that there will be bugs...but we will struggle through them if the game is good enough and shows enough potential...It's totally worth it.

Thank you and good luck with your kickstarter. If you look at the success of the DF and Oots drive, I think you could find great success. I know my friends and I would contribute, if it means another excellent CRPG that meets our standards, not some suits!
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Febertrauma
Feb 10 2012 03:06 PM
What can change the nature of a man?
Give us something with a story that makes us laugh, cry and think.
    • MithrilSilverAus, Valvar, dmbot and 4 others like this
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Googolplexbyte
Feb 10 2012 03:08 PM
Make a squad based RPG version of Sid Meier's Pirates with the setting of the clouds of Venus filled with floating cities and floating alien coral islands.
A Planescape Torment 2 would be, frankly, quite stupid - unless there is a way for it to totally make sense, which I doubt there is. Not to mention any licensing problems. Also any "The Somethingsomething", an adaption of something else, would be a waste of potential, I think. What would be cool would be a game as intriguing, as original and immersive as Planescape Torment, if not more so (since it shouldn't necessarily be just a copy of its design ideas and can make a strong impression all its own). You know best how to do something like this or in what franchise or even subgenre to do it.
    • dmbot and Googolplexbyte like this
PLANESCAPE: TORMENT 2 !!!!!!
Yes, please !!!
I've finished Planescape: Torment like 5 or 6 times.

BEST RPG GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Googolplexbyte
Feb 10 2012 03:21 PM
Survival based RPG block game,

but not a Minecraft rip off, obviously.

How about making it Isometric or turn based

Or make it out of Hexagonal tiles

Or make it squad based without destroying the loneliness factor ?a man and his dog(s)?

Or give it a fantasy apocalypse based story line like Bastion.

There is a lot to be done with block games, I'd like to see what professionals can do with the genre, since only inexperienced indie developers have dared toying with it so far.
i don't care as much about the documentary, but i want to see a more fleshed out idea before contributing. that said, if the game sounds like what im looking for then its worth a lot more than a mere $60 to me.

Definitely turn based combat, i'd like to see an overall return to the idea of planescape torment and fallout 1-2 of a more pen&paper-esque crpg.

an original setting, or better: a twist on a setting (like how planescape is a bizzarre twist on steampunk and D&D fantasy, and fallout was a darkly humorous take on post apocolyptic america).

characters and dialogue like we haven't had since torment, forget voice acting - i miss the old puzzles you would find in the dialogue like in planescape torment, something that is much harder to do with fully voiced dialogue.

the last great rpg was planescape torment imo, something that can hearken back to that game in writing and mechanics is what i most want.

so yeah: planescape torment. fallout 1+2. they don't make em like that anymore and i want them to start again!
    • dmbot likes this
An rpg which encourages "roleplaying" through dialogue. What made the classic RPGs great was their ability to enable the player to reflect his character's ideas about the gameworld, to actually form opinions and voice them, and to see the consequences of your choices. Such practice requires a well written dialogue that is no longer suitable in todays console market. Ruleset, campaign setting and all other factors such as graphics and voice acting are of secondary importance. Though I would like to see another Planescape game, another WoD game, or another Arcanum game, I would settle for any real rpg that doesn't suffer from a fat rich publisher's streamlining requests.
    • Lars Westergren, dmbot, Tatter and 2 others like this
First: I'm in for $100 on any sort of an old school RPG.

What makes an old-school RPG for me are mechanics and systems throughout the game that make you stop and think. Make me agonize over every single decision. Make every decision have consequences (Some small, some huge, some subtle...but consequences). This is what PS:Torment has done better than any other game: Choices in the -role- playing aspect had a huge impact on the way your character unfolded in the -roll- playing parts of the game, and visa-versa.

For my money the best system to do this is an isometric tactical gameplay system. Pre-rendered high quality art is timeless particularly at modern resolutions and should ease the burden of asset creation. Scalable difficulty with a wide variety of detailed character customization while avoiding stereotypical cliches as the basis for that customization. Companion characters should have unique abilities/classes/types to give them all distinctive combat personalities to define them along with their dialogue.

An emphasis on text based dialogue with little voice (Mostly small voice bits to define each major character and add vibrancy but allow for more meaty conversations).

Setting is something that should develop from a natural creative process but my personal preference would be something highly surrealist with an emphasis on pushing the bounds of a specific genre like fantasy/sci-fi. No pigeonholes, please.

An awesome thought would be something in the vein of Deadlands which did a great job of mixing several genres and showed how you can define an entire world with art alone; this is coming from someone that absolutely despises Western themes.

Hope to see something come from this.
    • dmbot and Tatter like this
Turn Based, Isometric RPG - Original IP
    • MithrilSilverAus, dmbot, Googolplexbyte and 1 other like this
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Googolplexbyte
Feb 10 2012 03:29 PM
How about a game that blurs the line between RTS and RPG,

Full control over each unit, including upgrades, customization along side squad based control and group customisation.

Also treat each unit as an individual give them a personality, a story, make them have relationships with other units that determine how well they work with other units.
As much as I would love to see more of that setting, the main issue with Planescape 2, or Star Wars or whatever else, would be licensing rights. As far as I know, Atari has publishing rights to D&D videogames (feel free to correct me on this), and I can't imagine it being cheap to wrest that away without their fingers in the final product. Not to mention that WotC/Hasbro might have their own influence on it as well. Again, I'm not in the know, but at the very least, licensing issues would cut into the costs, and although I have no doubts that you would be able to raise a substantial amount of money, it would mean less for the game if you had to pay/negotiate the license.

As for my own idea to throw into the ring, how about an investigation game with a Lovecraftean bent? Wait, don't go yet. Now I realize that Cthulhu and Lovecraft have gotten the same overexposed cult status that, say, steampunk has on the internet, but I think that a game that involves talking and investigating and less on shooting would be right up Obsidians alley and play to their main strength, namely conversation, dialogue, and choices. Don't focus so much on shooting elder gods, but focus more on interrogating others, gathering clues, and reaching conclusions. If you want to allow philosophical avenues, a la Planescape, it wouldn't be too difficult to throw in a bunch of nihilistic philosophy about man's infinitesimal influence in the dark void of nothingness that is the universe. Your detective can even have various personal crises that need to be contended with, such as alcoholism, a failing marriage, whatever, that could deter you from getting the "best" ending if they're not dealt with. Of course, when it comes to cosmic horrors, there's hardly ever a best ending.
The choices and dialogue that made Alpha Protocol great in a new IP.

I have fond memories of the Infinity engine games, but frankly I don't care if the game is isometric or not, it was the characters and interactions that made those games great.
    • Lars Westergren and Kadayi like this
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onetrueping
Feb 10 2012 03:34 PM
I, personally, would like to see a well-written RPG (a given, really) that uses a levelless system, a large number of competing factions that you can sign up with, and a compelling, thought-provoking story that involves philosophical questions that haven't already been gone over. Preferably one without a good/evil, law/chaos dichotomy, but rather one that incorporates multiple axes for various personality quirks (such as how Torment managed to almost completely avoid the good/evil question).

I'd also like you guys to have time to complete the entire story. Just finished reading a KotOR 2 LP, and it's kinda sad the content you guys had to cut out due to time.
I very nearly wet myself when reading the Obsidian was considering a Kickstarter campaign. This is amazing, mostly because it allows us to bring back game genres that aren't rehashes of rehashed FPS's and half-baked WOW clones.

Obviously Chris, seeing the team that you've got here at Obsidian, a cRPG is the only way to go, just as Tim Schafer needs to make an adventure game.

My Psychonauts 2 - so to speak is Van Buren, obviously there are licensing problems - I am very nearly brought to tears when thinking about the cancelation, and that glorious tech demo. That's still the real Fallout 3 if you ask me. Please, please, please finish that game - Call it something else, change what needs to be changed. But that old school, isometric RPG style - with a focus on story and dialog, before the actual combat, is exactly what we need. That's something that's died out - Devs today seem afraid that if they go 5 min without throwing the entire Bulgarian army at the player, they'd somehow loose interest and go play something else. That really isn't the case

Be sure to cater to your demographic, now I'm not saying that you wouldn't get 11 year old CoD die-hards to play, but your core demographic will relish the Blues Brothers references, the recurring jokes and the fact that the game world is soaked in pop culture. To this day, a play though of FO2 is hugely enjoyable for this very reason. It doesn't sink to the cater to the lowest common denominator.

I am obvious a huge advocate of a post-apocolyptic setting, mainly because I never bought the setting in Planescape, partly because of the D&D rules and partly because of the art design, but fantasy never really floats my boat.
That being said, I loved Alpha Protocol (With patches) - and no matter what you guys decide to do, I have faith. Keep it old school, isometric - Hell, doesn't matter if it's 2D sprites that has it's charm to. Keep the humor, understated - but there. Make sure that we feel at home in the universe, remember who it is that would be funding and buying the game.

And above all, make sure it's a labor of love - Some of the best games ever were developed at Black Isle, with the team now assembled at Obsidian - we'd all support whatever you guys want to make, you've more then proven yourself. There are tones of people out there that are old enough to have grown up with your games and are now begging for a little taste of that old school magic again.

Make it happen Chris!
Another Planescape: Torment game is at the top of my wish list, though a realistic budget for such a project would be far beyond the $1.5 million that Double Fine has drummed up so far.

I think a small games project would be a good idea. For Obsidian to grow beyond where it is now, you guys really need your own IP, and a smaller project would allow you to experiment with original IPs without the enormous risk of a Triple-A endeavor.

When I was at Obsidian, there were quite a few good small game ideas generated by myself and others. I recommend picking the best of those, filming a pitch video to post on Kickstarter, and then see how the public reacts. A small team composed of a programmer, designer, 2 artists, part-time sound designers and QA, could complete a pretty decent small games project in less than 6 months for under $250,000. If you get extra money, resist the temptation to pour it into the one project (scope control), and instead start up a second team working on another project.
    • Lars Westergren likes this
Hello everyone. I have been an Obsidian fan since KOTOR 2 but it's this thread that convinced me to join your community. Already, I warn you about my english that may be a little broken at times. It's the sad life of a not-native english speaker.

Anyway, that's a great opportunity to give my ideas. Thank you!

First, I read through this entry and a lot of people are asking for a new Planescape Torment game. while this would be interesting, I don't know if there are legal issues. Besides, I can understand if Obsidian would be more interested by a new IP, since the majority of their catalogue is made of sequels.

Second, apparently, Mr. Avellone wonder if Obsidian should try another genre of video games. RPGs are my favorite games so I can't say I'm overjoyed by that but if they want to try something new, I would love some kind of space opera. It's a genre that has been forgotten since ages (Except by Egosoft and some recent indie developers but all of them go for sandbox style). It's a good medium for one of those finely crafted stories we all know and love. Games like Starlancer or Freelancer did a great job at this back in the day, but I think more could be done on this matter. Besides, there is no need to create a bazillion of stellar systems. Actually, if there is enough story content, a much smaller scale could be employed and that would work.

Third, since it's a game that could ignore publishers, you people don't need to go for great graphics ala Witcher 2. I saw people asking for isometric views. That could work. Arcanum is my favorite RPG of all times (Don't worry, KOTOR 2 is a close second) and such a perspective could give time to the team to create much more content. It would be deep, long, innovative and permits way more stories and storytelling than ever before. We would have a coherent and living universe.

At last, my own ideas I'd like to see in a RPG one day :). Personally, I'd love a game where politics are involved. My favorite quest in Arcanum is where you're must convince the Caladon council to forge an alliance with Tarante. My favorite quest in NWN2 is the trial. And of course, there is so much ways to talk down people in Mask of the Betrayer than I love the game whole. That's also why I loved characters like Atris or Marburg where your mission is actually to show them your worth just by talking.
So here is a starting point, may it inspire you:
- The setting is the Enlightnment, around 1600. European empires all want a slice of the new world that was discovered by Christophe Colomb. That's where the hero comes in. With no past nor allegiance to come with, he starts a quest for a better life on these new lands. He's doing some quests on his way, make some friends, create his team then a small band of followers. That's when imperial powers start to wonder if they could use him to their advantages. He's contacted by France, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, etc. He could choose to work for one country, for everyone, ignore them or use all of them with a lot of cunning to achieve his plans.

I will stop there because there are a lot I could say on this (Create an army, open consulates, train ambassadors, meet the queen in one epic talking showdown like in Deus Ex: HR, etc) but I will stop this. It would be a RPG mixed with some Risk. I think the Crossroad Keep in NWN2 got a lot of potential. Maybe it's the time to expend on this.
It could be isometric but hey, I'm not a designer so I don't have a clue how these things work.

If my ideas are too complicated. I would love an Arcanum 2 in a diesel-punk setting. Nobody do diesel-punk this day. It could attract curious people and it would give the opportunity to work on subjects that always have been ignored before.

Finally: NO ROMANCE. Please! Romances in games are bad. It always comes out of nowhere and it seems the only thing a PC has to do to achieve success is to give one nice line to the romance interest here and there. It can be okay if it's a emotionally challenging real arc with a lot of pathos but otherwise, please, no.
Besides, romances tend to be consuming. See what happened with other studios. It's like they are making games for the romance. It's a bad way to write a game and it's a bad way to PROMOTE a game. See Fable.

Thank you for your time. I wish you the best success.

P.S: Oh lord my english...
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Funktion JCB
Feb 10 2012 03:39 PM
Just so you know, if you start a campaign, I will pledge as much as I can afford, no matter what game idea you select.

I have absolutely no problems giving you the amount I would pay for 4-5 games (which would probably leave me severely underwhelmed, considering most "big" releases nowadays are absolute generic, uninteresting, and just plain soulless), in order to have something I would like to play.

You guys are yet to disappoint me, and I trust you fully to deliver an awesome game. In fact, you are pretty much the only RPG developer left whose games I truly enjoy, and whose games I'm always looking forward to.

As for projects I would love to see, here's my "dream list" (which is pretty much totally unrealistic, since you don't have the rights to most of these properties, but a man can dream... :)):

-a sequel to Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (now that you have Tim Cain on board, at least for now, this would be pretty much my dream game; I loved the setting, the freedom of choice, the graphics and soundtrack of the original game; it's actually my favorite RPG of all time. Of my suggestions that involve IPs that you don't own, this one may be the most doable, since I doubt Activision has any interest in making anything with it, and may be open to negotiate it)

-a sequel (or "spiritual sequel") to Vampire: The Masquerade Ė Bloodlines (does it show by now that I am a massive fan of Troika Games' works? ;))

-a sequel (or "spiritual sequel") to Alpha Protocol (I know reviews were a bit mixed, but I loved the game)

-a brand new IP/setting (and be sure to lock away Tim Cain, so that he doesn't leave you, and has to work on the game... :biggrin:)

I hope you really consider going forward with a (fully or partially) fan-funded game.
    • Suirtemed likes this
In no particular order:
If going for a D&D license, Dark Sun would be pretty cool.
Still on the licensed product side, I'd love to see a game in White Wolf's Exalted setting, but realize it's pretty unlikely.

Probably more attainable: something based in the Arcanum world would be good, if that license is available.
Darklands is another unique videogame setting, and could be pretty interesting.

In any event, I'd prefer a game with a more open-ended structure: more Fallout than Torment. I feel games are particularly well-suited to world-building over storytelling, though naturally it's not one or the other.

Most importantly, I'd like to see huge scale. Something along the lines of Baldur's Gate 2, where you start off powerful and end fighting dragons and godlike wizards. To get that I'd be willing to make concessions on graphics and voice-acting -- voice-acting in particular is nice, but hardly a requirement.
    • dmbot and Suirtemed like this
Chris Avellone and rest of the team. Do this !

As you see in this thread we don't want to tell you what to do ! We want to support Obsidian to make game you would want to create. Go wild ! Promise us that Obsidian will try the best of their abilities even if it won't meet expectations I will still support your team in next projects and probably many other people think like i do.
We gamers don't want to next Troika spiritual succesor to be shackled with only license games. We want to help create games like Vampire Bloodlines or Arcanum. One can dream how superb Arcanum would be if not for publisher... It is awasome but turn based only would make that game a lot better.

Why will it turn good ? Because many of educated gamers like I are waited fat too long for someting like this. We want to cut bull**** with publishers. I want to pay for game directly to you !
It's not 99' most of people have internet and credit card. Why should i pay 60$ for a game where 1/4 of those money may or not may gone to game development ?

If i know that every cent goes to actual game developing i will be happy to pay even more than 60$.

If you can make a full budget game i would even donate monthly after that kickstart.

After double fine sucess i can see this as viable option. I mean they gathered 1 and a half minion dollars in just a day ! What is more shocking is that it's only 40k people !

40k people preordered a game and it's 1,5 mln towards creating a game.

That is in my opinion what makes the diffrence and motivates people !

By contributing a 40$ you can take part in creation of a game ,

Chriss i'm in kick start fever as you. I want to fund 60$ toward game you people want to create ! You have your fans let us be responsible for this funding you , just be honest to us like double fine about it

Hope this will change how this world goes ! I mean yesterday i just spend abour 40$ on Mcdonald and some **** i didn't need to... that 40$ could gone for something better :)

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