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About Seven Dwarfs by Kevin D. Saunders


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No, in the sense that I think its cancellation was completely out of our control. But I do regret that Dwarfs (that’s what we called it internally) was never made – I was the lead designer and it involved some of my best creative work. I wrote the backstory for the Snow White/Dwarfs world and the overall story outline for the prequel – how cool of an opportunity is that? =) I felt very lucky.

 

This wasn’t a happy-go-lucky Disney game. Disney's Buena Vista Games wanted dark and I gave them dark. In the opening sequence, for example, you, as a teenage prince, awake in your bed to haunting sounds. Exploring the dark castle, you come across a terrifying shadowy creature that you kill in a desperate struggle – its cries shifting from a supernatural shriek to that of a human woman's bloodcurdling cry of death. The illusion is then dispelled, and your mother, the Queen, lays dead before you, the bloody knife that killed her in your hand. This wasn’t a cinematic – it was all a gameplay sequence that you’d actually play out.

 

For the creative lead, I hired Brian Mitsoda, of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines fame. (He’s now working on his creation Dead State, which looks very promising!) He took the skeletal story I had written and was developing it into a true masterpiece. That’s also when Obsidian hired Josh Sawyer and he was the systems/combat lead for the project – he’s an awesome designer and project lead and you can only imagine what he comes up with when focused on a specific component. His combat system combined action gameplay with RPG depth in some very innovative ways.

 

And Brian Menze’s concepts for the dwarfs – just amazing! So much personality and character, reminiscent of Disney’s classic characters, but weathered by the grim realities of a dark fantasy world. Working on the story and character descriptions in an office with Brian, watching his creations unfold – this was one of the most creative and inspiring times in my career as a designer. So I have a lot of good memories about the project. And our producers at Buena Vista Games were great to work with. They gave us good guidelines, a lot of creative freedom, and loved the direction we were heading.

 

The game had a lot of potential and it was sad to have it stopped when the team had been gaining so much momentum. But it was a great experience.

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Sounds like it was an interesting concept. I'm still puzzled why some games that end up really crappy get the green light, while others with potential get scrapped.

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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Sometimes I wonder why anyone even bothers coming up with cool game ideas. It's only going to get scrapped when the management that green lit it, gets fired/moves on to other things.

 

Makes me wonder are the marketing costs that ridicilous that it's just better to scrap a game that you have used millions of dollars on already than to finish it (if it's somewhere around halfway done) and pay for some marketing.

Hate the living, love the dead.

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Sometimes I wonder why anyone even bothers coming up with cool game ideas. It's only going to get scrapped when the management that green lit it, gets fired/moves on to other things.

 

Makes me wonder are the marketing costs that ridicilous that it's just better to scrap a game that you have used millions of dollars on already than to finish it (if it's somewhere around halfway done) and pay for some marketing.

 

Seven Dwarves was canned in pre-production from what I understand. They basically had a prototype and barely just started working on it.

 

Also, there are good reasons to even cancel *finished* projects and not distribute them, like protecting a brand from something that would obviously stain it. I'm not saying it was Seven Dwarves' case, it simply appears that the management didn't believe in the project and it's as simple as that. Sucks for Obsidian, but honestly, it's the norm in the videogames industry. *

 

* and I'm pretty sure it's the norm in other industries too, though I'm really only knowledgeable about the videogame one.

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Campaign for the Time Bandits license? Sounds a little similar.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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That sounds absolutely fantastic. I would have played that in a heartbeat.

 

I wonder if some of these previous Obsidian titles that were cancelled well into development could be tweaked to remove trademarked properties and finished being funded and developed with Kickstarter or alternate means of finance?

I'm fairly hazy on how these things work though, so I'm probably just being stupid.

 

This idea of course probably isn't taking into consideration a whole load of things, so it probably just is a really stupid idea and I need some sleep.

Edited by GhoulishVisage

When in doubt, blame the elves.

 

I have always hated the word "censorship", I prefer seeing it as just removing content that isn't suitable or is considered offensive

 

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That sounds absolutely fantastic. I would have played that in a heartbeat.

 

I wonder if some of these previous Obsidian titles that were cancelled well into development could be tweaked to remove trademarked properties and finished being funded and developed with Kickstarter or alternate means of finance?

I'm fairly hazy on how these things work though, so I'm probably just being stupid.

 

This idea of course probably isn't taking into consideration a whole load of things, so it probably just is a really stupid idea and I need some sleep.

 

Ideas will probably find their way into eternity's world. Like Avellone mentions in the video I posted. And what New Vegas was for Van Buren.

 

Though in this case probably less as many of the guys do not work at Obs anymore.

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Wasn't Epic Mickey similarily supposed to be much darker and more befitting of the title before it was repurposed into the turd it was? Seems like Disney was trying to explore what they could do with their franchises but changed their minds.

Didn't Feargus say that it was a change at the head of Disney which brought about the cancellation? I would imagine that Epic Mickey was just too far into development or already too publicized to disappear entirely.

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Wasn't Epic Mickey similarily supposed to be much darker and more befitting of the title before it was repurposed into the turd it was? Seems like Disney was trying to explore what they could do with their franchises but changed their minds.

 

That never went really past the initial concept art stage AFAIK. (Interview)

 

Looking at the history I don't think that it was the same thing as well. While it was concepted in 2003 actual development began in 2007 (so after) since they only then got the rights back for Oswald.

Edited by C2B
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