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AVOWED - Obsidian's Skyrim clone set in the Pillars of Eternity setting


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1 hour ago, Infinitron said:

TBH, what flusters me the most is the game being set in the Living Lands rather than in Aedyr like everybody assumed.

I don't quite buy it, but it would be a good choice as a setting. It definitely not how I imagined Living Lands, but looking at some descriptions it actually might be right.

"Only the heartiest of explorers would dare take the long, dangerous trek to the Living Lands. While there is no denying its beauty - the diversity of plant life alone is an herbologist’s dream - the inherent risk in blithely trekking through these pristine hills is more than most should undertake.

Let me take a moment to tell you about the land itself - rolling hills, greenery, and sun. The whole area feels like a succession of hills and valleys, each with its own ecosystem. While that declaration is a tad extreme, it can almost be said to be true. The combination of sun, geographical location, proximity to fresh water, valley depth, and the existence of hot springs have given the Living Lands a wide breadth of flora and fauna. Walk down a hillside into a valley and you will find lush, verdant hills. Climb the next rise and you might see nothing but rock and boiling mineral springs.

Edited by Wormerine
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Also there is some info in deadlines Last dlc, from Reddit user MickyJim:

 

Now this is very interesting. There's a series of books in Forgotten Sanctum that I believe are implied to partially predict the future. One is called "The Reclamation of the Living Lands" and it's description goes like this...

The forces of the faithful left Aedyr with an exhortation from the Héamecwyn still ringing in their ears. 'Let not the sullen, wild people of that lawless continent continue to suffer beyond the guiding hand of The Queen That Was And Shall Be Again! Deliver them of their savagery that they might join us in civilization and reap soon the rewards of their newfound piety. 'As your Queen demands, so too do I: take up the burden of empire. Free them from themselves.'

My new theory, then, is that Aedyr is trying to conquer the Living Lands

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I don't buy the Living Lands either.

Living Lands is a lawless wild place with eccentric inhabitants. It's not a place where I would expect to see a huge statue of "noble Galawain" on the side of a mountain or stone fortifications.

Then you add the supposed story of the game: "Fight against incoming threat of tyranny". In the Living Lands? It's a lawless place, everyone is a threat of tyranny. That "storyset" doesn't fit the Woedica/Aedyran references in the trailer anyway, unless that poster misunderstood and it was "be the incoming threat of tyranny" (from Aedyr).

Going by the intro paragraph, that person received vague descriptions of where the game start and decided it was the Living Lands based on them. Green hills, forests, mountains and adra fits most of Eora landmass. The poster doesn't appear to know what is a Spore/Sporeling thought...

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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Another idea if the Living Lands is true.

Maybe we have a Greedfall type of story between Aedyr and the Living Lands.

That would mean Aedyr tried to colonize the place in the past, build fortifications and statues and after years things went south "magictrally" and they left the place. Animancy was used and they tried to hide it. Now decades/centuries later the place was rediscovered and Aedyr is rushing there to make sure others don't find what happened.

Still doesn't match with the "fight incoming tyranny" but works better with the trailer. Saying that, I'm not sure I want a colonization story so soon after Deadfire regardless of what happens.

Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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24 minutes ago, Ormag said:

Hope this doesn't turn into people whining about first person perspective, like in cyberpunk forums/communities 

I hope the developers understand that every person "whining about first person perspective" is another sale lost.

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3 hours ago, Achilles said:

Skyrim took between 4-6 years to develop depending on whose number you look at. Development on Avowed probably started in early-mid 2019. 4 years of development would put us early-mid 2023 (assuming that Obsidian's production schedule has parity with Bethesda's).

Work on Awoved started 2 years and 7 months ago according to some people over at Resetera. It's been in works longer than Grounded that is just about the get released into Early Access. So it seems likely that it's been in pre-production few years ago. They've been hiring bunch of people for the game ever since 2018 and 2019.

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Hate the living, love the dead.

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1 hour ago, Ormag said:

Hope this doesn't turn into people whining about first person perspective, like in cyberpunk forums/communities 

Hope this doesn't turn into people whining about people airing their very legitimate concerns about first person perspective.

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11 minutes ago, Flouride said:

Work on Awoved started 2 years and 7 months ago according to some people over at Resetera. It's been in works longer than Grounded that is just about the get released into Early Access. So it seems likely that it's been in pre-production few years ago. They've been hiring bunch of people for the game ever since 2018 and 2019.

As someone who has worked in IT project management for about a decade and read several articles re: how difficult publishers *can be* (especially when it comes to funding), I'm extremely skeptical.

Was Obsidian's war chest sufficiently full that they felt they could fund something on this scale on their own? I doubt it. That means that someone was footing the bill for any production ("pre" or otherwise in 2018). It's possible that Microsoft and Obsidian had a hand-shake agreement that would have allowed pre-production to begin before the acquisition was finalized, but I have to imagine that would have made other aspects of negotiation very awkward and it seems a bit odd to me that either party would have gone there. Certainly possible, but slightly mind-blowing if true.

TL;DR - Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2019 makes sense to me. Self-funded or Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2018 does not.

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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I will take Sponger's information with a grain of salt. IIRC he works/knows someone who works for company close to InXile or something like that. 

When Resetera's moderators tried to verify his information said that while his source seemed reliable they couldn't check it out.

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Also hope the protagonist isnt some past reincarnation of the watcher from the previous games, that would be extremely cheesy.

Just stay away from metaphysics and watchers completely, focus on politics and evils of colonialism.

"Gods" should be just something NPCs believe in, rather than entities, that you  (as the pc) know exist for sure, and even communicate with you

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21 minutes ago, Achilles said:

As someone who has worked in IT project management for about a decade and read several articles re: how difficult publishers *can be* (especially when it comes to funding), I'm extremely skeptical.

Was Obsidian's war chest sufficiently full that they felt they could fund something on this scale on their own? I doubt it. That means that someone was footing the bill for any production ("pre" or otherwise in 2018). It's possible that Microsoft and Obsidian had a hand-shake agreement that would have allowed pre-production to begin before the acquisition was finalized, but I have to imagine that would have made other aspects of negotiation very awkward and it seems a bit odd to me that either party would have gone there. Certainly possible, but slightly mind-blowing if true.

TL;DR - Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2019 makes sense to me. Self-funded or Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2018 does not.

It haven't ben two years yet. Avellone did a rant on RPGCodex in November 2018 about how Chris Parker was now able to "make Skyrim" after Microsoft bought them (based on info he got from people still working there). And there is also a quote from the Head of Xbox Game Studios that place it post acquisition (source)"Avowed is an expand first-person RPG set in the fantasy world of Eora," head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty said. "When Obsidian Entertainment joined Xbox Game Studios, they told us that this epic game is the one they want to make."

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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I don't think Avowed has been in development for as long as Sponger says, but we know that Obsidian has been fantasizing about making "Skyrim in Eora" since at least 2016.

Surely they've been collecting a ton of ideas for years and when Microsoft came out they saw an opportunity to make it real.

As I said in the other thread I think the project started pre-production in mid/late-2018 since that's time when Mark DeGeorge moved from TOW to work on "a secret project". Well, and I still believe this isn't a coincidence. 

 

 

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Edited by Adridactelo
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15 minutes ago, Adridactelo said:

I think the project started pre-production in mid/late-2018 since that's time when Mark DeGeorge moved from TOW to work on "a secret project". Well, and I still believe this isn't a coincidence. 

Agreed that it probably isn't a coincidence. If asked to bet though, my money would be that a small team of people were asked to begin building the pitch materials for when the acquisition was final at it would be time to start talking about Obsidian's first project under Microsoft. We can split hairs over whether or not this qualifies as "pre-production".

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We could approximate by calculating the number of employees Obsidian had in December 2018 and how many of them were working on the known projects.

At that time Obsidian was working on TOW (~ 80), finishing The Forgotten Sanctum (~ 30) and starting Grounded (~ 10). If Obsidian had around 190 employees then it leaves 70 developers working on something else.

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Yeah, Living Lands seems... unlikely to me, though the other information seems believable enough. I guess we'll have to see what other information trickles out.

And I agree that it could only be made with Microsoft's support; the question is whether it was meant as a first "big project" to pitch to MS, as both a passion project and a way to properly start the union, or whether they started working on it fully the moment they knew the MS takeover would happen in a form of pre-production.

Not that it matters much to me: release date speculation is fun, but I'd rather they take all the time they need over trying to make a set date. Elder Scrolls games take ages to make for a reason, and they always work out excellently. Let's hope Obsidian follows that example for their own version of 'em.

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With the amount of lore/content design they did for both PoE games, they already had a solid base for Avowed. It's not like creating a whole new IP. In fact, they might have a few "we can't put everything in" issues considering the amount of species/sub-species, weapons, powers/spells, etc that already exist. This should have speed-up the pitch/pre-production design process.

And the biggest question wasn't answered yet : classes/sub-classes, the TTRPG classless version or something new?

Edited by morhilane

Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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I'm down for Living Lands. Roll me a sad sack Rymargand cultist Borreal Dwarf searching for that sweet release of nothingness. Then I can truly feel how souless and shallow vanilla Skyrim felt on that bleak November day of 11/11

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1 hour ago, morhilane said:

And the biggest question wasn't answered yet : classes/sub-classes, the TTRPG classless version or something new?

I'm betting classes will exist in so form but watered down similar to Dragon Age (warrior, rogue, mage and then each as three subclasses). What I'm more worried about is if they start trying to restrict gear based on class.

Edited by the_dog_days
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10 hours ago, Achilles said:

As someone who has worked in IT project management for about a decade and read several articles re: how difficult publishers *can be* (especially when it comes to funding), I'm extremely skeptical.

Was Obsidian's war chest sufficiently full that they felt they could fund something on this scale on their own? I doubt it. That means that someone was footing the bill for any production ("pre" or otherwise in 2018). It's possible that Microsoft and Obsidian had a hand-shake agreement that would have allowed pre-production to begin before the acquisition was finalized, but I have to imagine that would have made other aspects of negotiation very awkward and it seems a bit odd to me that either party would have gone there. Certainly possible, but slightly mind-blowing if true.

TL;DR - Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2019 makes sense to me. Self-funded or Microsoft-funded pre-production in 2018 does not.

Well two insiders seem to agree on this information. That 7 months in pre-production doesn't mean much. It could and should have been a very small team at that point. Back when Obsidian was bought by Microsoft those insiders were saying that there's a project at Obsidian that Microsoft was really interested in. That project was not The Outer Worlds, nor Grounded.
To me that's another proof that Avowed was being worked on in some capacity prior to the announcement that Microsoft has bought the company. Full production on the game obviously started when Microsoft deal finalized. Obsidian started recruiting heavily sometime before the official announcement.

Even though the game has been in production for two years now, doesn't mean that team has been quite big in the beginning of "full production". Obsidian has always been quite agile in moving staff members from one project to another. For example concept artists are likely done with Outer Worlds way way sooner than those building the areas into the game. Pre-production and start of production relies quite heavily on concept art, so when environment artists and animators etc. jump in, they have a base idea of what the Leads / Art Director is looking for.

Based on the job openings at Obsidian, they still aren't done staffing their projects.

Edited by Flouride
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8 hours ago, Adridactelo said:

We could approximate by calculating the number of employees Obsidian had in December 2018 and how many of them were working on the known projects.

At that time Obsidian was working on TOW (~ 80), finishing The Forgotten Sanctum (~ 30) and starting Grounded (~ 10). If Obsidian had around 190 employees then it leaves 70 developers working on something else.

They also had Project Illinois and Mississippi back then. Avowed went into production after them or at least got it's project name after them. We know that they cancelled at least one project in 2019. Maybe even two.

Obsidian didn't have exactly 190 staff members to work on games back then. You forgot that Q&A and all the admin staff are about 20-30 people at Obsidian.

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23 minutes ago, Flouride said:

Well two insiders seem to agree on this information. That 7 months in pre-production doesn't mean much. It could and should have been a very small team at that point. Back when Obsidian was bought by Microsoft those insiders were saying that there's a project at Obsidian that Microsoft was really interested in. That project was not The Outer Worlds, nor Grounded.
To me that's another proof that Avowed was being worked on in some capacity prior to the announcement that Microsoft has bought the company. Full production on the game obviously started when Microsoft deal finalized. Obsidian started recruiting heavily sometime before the official announcement.

The issue is money.

Any employee on your payroll consumes it. Cost of salary, cost of benefits, cost of payroll taxes, cost of retirement fund matching if you offer it (which I believe Obsidian does). When you have team members working on a confirmed project that someone is giving your organization money to complete, then you are comparing your projected burn rate against your actual burn rate and probably reporting that out fairly regularly to the person whose money your spending. I say "probably", but what I really mean is that's usually the first number they look at on whatever status report you're providing.

So, if Obsidian was making this game for Microsoft, then Microsoft gave Obsidian money *before* the acquisition was finalized. I've never worked in the game industry, but I have worked on projects where both parties were willing to proceed on a good-faith, handshake agreement. That means you start work now and I pinky promise to pay you later. Obviously, these cases are rare and I've only seen them occur when both orgs had a history of working together. Doesn't mean it doesn't work any other way, just saying that I'm extremely skeptical that it works that way in the gaming industry. And I'm skeptical that either one of the parties involved wanted to have actual money or money promised influencing whatever negotiations were taking place.

The other option is that Feargus was paying that out of Obsidian's reserves and *really hoping* that Microsoft would greenlight the game he was already throwing resources at when it came time to talk about what's next. This seems like an extremely foolish and irresponsible move to make. I've watched a lot of interviews with Feargus and he strikes me as pragmatic guy. I really don't believe that this was the case either.

If there's some third way of looking at this, I'm happy to hear whatever it is and adjust my thinking accordingly.

In the meantime, I'm guessing that "anonymous source" is talking out of his ass for internet points and attention.

Added by edit: btw, I've also worked on project that took less than 7 months to implement and cost more than $1m, so the fact that it may have been "only 7 months" doesn't mean anything to me. If it's one resource making 50k per year that's a very different burn rate than 10 or 15 people making 50k per year. Again, that money is coming from somewhere.

Edited by Achilles

"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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