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Obsidian Almost Got To Make Baldur's Gate 3

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Obsidian Almost Got To Make Baldur's Gate 3

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 15 December 2012, 16:21:26

Tags: Atari; Baldur's Gate III; Feargus Urquhart; Obsidian Entertainment

As part of a larger feature on Obsidian that will be published on Monday, Kotaku has been granted an extensive interview with Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart. In a preview of said interview, it has been revealed that Obsidian was in negotiations with Atari back in 2007-2008 to develop a new installment in the Baldur's Gate series. It was going to be be a big budget, multiplatform "AAA" title.

"We were talking to Atari, and we started talking, and oh my god this was like the Cherokee Trail of Tears pitch," he said. "They asked in 2007 if we wanted to do Baldur's Gate 3, and I'm like 'Yes, if you guys are serious about it.' They were like, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'If you'll put a real budget behind it: it can't be $10 million, it needs to be $20 million, $25 million. If you really want to do this, then you need to put a real budget behind it. You need to give a budget that BioWare would have to do a Mass Effect or whatever. It has to be a real budget.'"​

Atari was hesitant, but they said they'd think about it. A few months later, in early 2008, they came back to Urquhart and gave him the okay, saying they really wanted to get the game done. "They were like 'OK, we really wanna do this, we feel we can get funding, we feel this we feel that, so let's start talking about it,'" Urquhart told me.​

Obsidian worked hard to put together an impressive pitch for the game. Unfortunately, Atari gonna Atari:

"That pitch, over the course of six months probably went through thirty revisions," Urquhart said. "I personally had probably spent 80, 100 hours—just me—on that one pitch, answering every question and asking everything and working on the budget."​

Then Atari and Obsidian started working on a contract, which they had negotiated in full by the end of 2008. It was all set. Ready to be signed.​

"And then we came back from break and they were like, 'Okay, well this is going on, that's going on—we're real close. We should be able to sign it real soon and get it to you.'"​

This was around the time that Obsidian's Aliens RPG was cancelled—"so I would've had a lot of people to work on Baldur's Gate 3," Urquhart said. Then things started to stall. Atari seemed hesitant. They started to ask questions.​

"Then they said they wanted to come see us to look at things," he said. "And so they came into see us and they looked at things. And then about a week later they said you know we're concerned that you can't make the game. And then a week later all of Atari Europe was sold to Namco Bandai."​

Suddenly, the Atari producer that Obsidian had been working with was no longer at Atari.​

"All this work got done," Urquhart said. "We negotiated a whole contract. Years worth of work, and it turned out they didn't have the money."​

Kotaku also asked Feargus what he thinks about the current caretakers of the Baldur's Gate legacy.

"I've known Trent forever, and so I think that he gets it, and I think he's into it, and so I think he could do it," Urquhart said. "I dunno if they have a studio that can make Baldur's Gate 3 the way that Bethesda made Fallout 3. They could make Baldur's Gate 3 like we're doing Project Eternity, but I don't think they could move it in that [Fallout 3's] direction."​

And if Beamdog approached Obsidian about working together on Baldur's Gate 3 in some form?​

"Yeah of course," Urquhart said. "We wanna work on great games. If that was something they were interested in, sure, we'd totally talk about it."​

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Trent seemed rather dismissive of Obsidian's development efforts back in November. But perhaps the recent not-so-positive reviews of BG:EE from the discerning folks over at IGN and Gamespot have humbled him.

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