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Obsidian's Secret Project


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#161
WorstUsernameEver

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What now though? Seems Obsidian is running out of alleys to run except through kickstarter's door. But its unlikely they'll function as a mid-sized developer anymore.


Obsidian as small-sized developers like Double Fine would be a better alternative than Obsidian disbanding and its talent bleeding in other places to me, but you have to wonder if that's possible. And either way, a lot of people would be out of a job, which is horrible :/

#162
Flouride

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Obsidian as small-sized developers like Double Fine would be a better alternative than Obsidian disbanding and its talent bleeding in other places to me, but you have to wonder if that's possible. And either way, a lot of people would be out of a job, which is horrible :/


I imagine South Park still employs about 40 to 50 people. That would leave about 40 to 50 people for other projects. Seeing how much money Wasteland 2 has gathered in such short time (even though InExile hasn't done any remarkable games) is good sign. Obsidian should be able to double the amount they have gathered for Wasteland 2 so far, that would give another 10 to 20 people something to do. I would personally give money to two Kickstarter games if that would mean the people will get to keep their jobs. Makes you wonder how good of a game they could come up with the over 2 million Double Fine got as funding...

Or they might try to push South Park faster depending on the deal they have with Matt & Trey and THQ. THQ is bleeding money, so I'm sure they would gladly get the game out sooner than later.

A lot is hanging in the balance though, they need another deal soon with South Park about to be released in Q3/Q4. Hopefully the deal they have on it isn't as bad for them as the one with Bethesda. And ffs, some publisher better pick up PNC (especially if it's that Defiance game).

#163
Morgoth

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If Obsidian does own Alpha Protocol, they should make a tactical isometric-view RPG, and call it....Alpha Protocol: Infiltrator.

I'd throw money at that.

But yes, Double Fine broke up into several smaller teams. Not sure if I want Obsidian to go the same route, but it's certainly better than going bust.

#164
Labadal

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AP IP belongs to SEGA. (Unfortunately.)

#165
WorstUsernameEver

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Kickstarter is really cool but it's not really a sustainable way to do business for a studio of the size of Obsidian, I think. I mean $1 million is a really tight budget for an RPG too, and Fargo was 100% aware that asking more was gonna stretch it. At most you could a project and then, assuming the Kickstarter and the project goes smooth, you could use the extra profit gained from the sales to fund something else.

EDIT: And don't get me wrong, I do want a Kickstarter from Obsidian.

Edited by WorstUsernameEver, 15 March 2012 - 05:44 AM.


#166
Lexx

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I have a hard time to believe that anything more than like 3 to 5 million dollars are even possible with Kickstarter (at least in one month). Also, as everyone probably knows, it's unlikely that this will hold up for a longer time... And: If the games made via Kickstarterfund tend to be ****, nobody will give money to it anymore anyway.

Long story short, yeah, I am pretty sure you can't survive over a longer time just with Kickstarter-like stuff.

#167
Zoma

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I agree that its not a sustainable way on kickstart. But its one way for Obsidian to finally own their own original IP that if successful, it can be used as a source of bread and butter in the long run through digital downloads ect.

In addition, Obsidian could do more in some ways due to their existing facilities like mo-cap studio and sound engineers, as well as the Onyx engine albeit a dumbed down version.

#168
C2B

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You don't need to survive solely on Kickstarter. It just has to help tiding over till a new project comes along.

Didn't Schaefer say too that they went the Kickstarter route apart from the adventure gig because they would have had to fire people otherwise?

Edited by C2B, 15 March 2012 - 06:04 AM.


#169
WorstUsernameEver

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You don't need to survive solely on Kickstarter. It just has to help tiding over till a new project comes along.

Didn't Schaefer say too that they went the Kickstarter route apart from the adventure gig because they would have had to fire people otherwise?


I don't know about that since I didn't follow it too closely, but tiding until a new project comes along sounds sensible. Not sure if that could have stopped the lay-offs that occurred though, sustaining all those people requires lots of money unfortunately :/

#170
Zoma

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Yeah. Last I heard Obsidian burns through 1 million per month in expenses.

#171
thesisko

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I don't think you guys are realizing what kind of possibilities Kickstarter holds for a mid-sized developer, even a bigger one like Obsidian.
The initial funding pays for the game's budget just like a publisher would, but once the game is released, the developer will not only own the IP and all assets but get to keep all future profits.

One single successful game could generate millions of dollars and keep on generating money long after it's release. This is something most independent developers dream of, but with publisher funding it's hard to generate any excess profits once the budget of the game has been paid.

Given the high profile of Obsidian's talent (MCA, Tim Cain, Sawyer), they could potentially fund a more expensive game than Brian Fargo. It would only need to sell a few hundred thousand to generate enough money for Obsidian to be able to easily self-fund their future games.

Edited by thesisko, 15 March 2012 - 06:56 AM.

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#172
Tale

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Everytime I hear about projects getting cancelled, I get Ritual and Ensemble flashbacks. And if this was Sawyer's project, that's a great loss for us all. Is Obsidian running just the South Park and one other team now? And we don't know what the other team is? Or do they still have three projects in the pipe?

#173
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Kickstarter is really cool but it's not really a sustainable way to do business for a studio of the size of Obsidian, I think. I mean $1 million is a really tight budget for an RPG too, and Fargo was 100% aware that asking more was gonna stretch it. At most you could a project and then, assuming the Kickstarter and the project goes smooth, you could use the extra profit gained from the sales to fund something else.


No one is suggesting they should go fully to Kickstarter projects. But if InXile can raise 1 million in just 3 days, I'm pretty sure Obsidian would get double if not even triple that amount in a month. You can do a fairly good quality indie rpg with that money and if it's succesfull they get some income from sales when it's released. And this while still doing work for publishers.
Also it's an opportunity do something of their own, and it will give them some cash flow while looking for the next two AAA projects.

#174
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Everytime I hear about projects getting cancelled, I get Ritual and Ensemble flashbacks. And if this was Sawyer's project, that's a great loss for us all. Is Obsidian running just the South Park and one other team now? And we don't know what the other team is? Or do they still have three projects in the pipe?


Isnt the other team on Wheel of Time?

#175
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Isnt the other team on Wheel of Time?


The Wheel of Time is pretty much vaporware. Not Obsidian's fault in this case at least, Red Eagle is just kind of sitting there with the license and doesn't seem to have their **** together.

#176
pmp10

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Quite surprising that it would be Microsoft - Obsidian should be aware what their track record with developers is.
Stranger still - no kickstarter announced.
You'd think this the perfect time to cash-in on internet sympathy as well as gamer nostalgia.

#177
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Quite surprising that it would be Microsoft - Obsidian should be aware what their track record with developers is.
Stranger still - no kickstarter announced.
You'd think this the perfect time to cash-in on internet sympathy as well as gamer nostalgia.


What is their track record?

It takes some time to come up with the documents, make the pitch, rewards and not to mention handling the stuff with Kickstarter. Didn't it take Fargo a week or two to get things sorted out with them, even though InXile was ready to go?

#178
ShadowScythe

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Not to mention I don't think Obsidian will want to be competing with Wasteland 2 for Donations.

#179
pmp10

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What is their track record?

For one thing they singlehandedly brought down FASA which was huge back in the day.
Apparently it has something to do with Microsoft corporate culture - it was heavily criticized by former FASA director as hostile to development of any entertainment.
The lessons of that debacle apparently resulted in Bungie running away rather than suffering similar fate.

It takes some time to come up with the documents, make the pitch, rewards and not to mention handling the stuff with Kickstarter. Didn't it take Fargo a week or two to get things sorted out with them, even though InXile was ready to go?

It's been considered for weeks now so I imagine Obsidian knows what would be their choice for such a project.
The inxile kickstarter didn't even include a single piece of concept art so the only barrier I can see is in the realms of finance.

#180
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MS is wildly variable in its reputation. On one hand Bungie was all Halo, all the time which a lot of people there did not like much at all, on the other they were able to buy themselves out of ownership by MS, something you wouldn't see from pretty muich any other publisher.

One single successful game could generate millions of dollars and keep on generating money long after it's release. This is something most independent developers dream of, but with publisher funding it's hard to generate any excess profits once the budget of the game has been paid.

Given the high profile of Obsidian's talent (MCA, Tim Cain, Sawyer), they could potentially fund a more expensive game than Brian Fargo. It would only need to sell a few hundred thousand to generate enough money for Obsidian to be able to easily self-fund their future games.

There are practicality aspects though. A standard Obsidian project would have a budget significantly larger than Double Fine raised. At a million dollars a month overall having even a third of Obsidian's previous staff level and you'd be looking at ~8 million needed for a 2 year project. Obsidian ought to get more than DF (depending on how kickstarter holds up and if fatigue sets in) but you'd still be looking at a lot of people losing their jobs.

I'm pretty happy with kickstarter as a model- just about anything is an improvement over the current video game business model, and kickstarter is far from the worst replacement- but it cannot fix all ills.




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