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The Knights of New Vegas: A History Of Obsidian Entertainment

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The Knights of New Vegas: A History Of Obsidian Entertainment

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 17 December 2012, 21:06:19

Tags: Aliens: Crucible; Alpha Protocol; Dungeon Siege III; Dwarfs; Fallout: New Vegas; Feargus Urquhart; Futureblight; Might and Magic; Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; South Park: The Stick of Truth; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords; Stormlands; Ultima

As promised last week, Kotaku published an extensive feature on Obsidian Entertainment today. It tells their entire story, from their departure from Interplay, through all the games they've developed and the challenges they've faced, all the way up to the Project Eternity Kickstarter and the company's hopes for the future.

Many Codexers are quite familiar with the history of Obsidian, who are probably the closest thing we've got to a favorite AAA developer nowadays. However, even the most obsessive industry watchers among us might be surprised to learn of some of the games they've tried and failed to make over the years. To wit:

They talked to Ubisoft. "We almost did a Might & Magic game," Urquhart said. It didn't happen: Ubisoft instead contracted a company called Arkane Studios (best known for this year's hit Dishonored) to make Dark Messiah of Might & Magic—probably, Urquhart said, because both Ubisoft and Arkane are French.​

"I call [Ubisoft] every year and I say ‘Hey, we'd love to make you a Might & Magic game," Urquhart said. "And they go, ‘We know.'"​

Obsidian also talked to Take-Two about a game they called Futureblight. "We were gonna look at using the Neverwinter Nights engine to do a Fallout game," Urquhart said. "We thought that would be cool."​

That one came close to reality, but instead wound up a casualty of the console transition cycle. "In 2003, people were very worried about where the PC was going and stuff like that," Urquhart said. "And—not that Xbox was coming to its end, but now everyone knew that there was gonna be another Xbox." So Take-Two passed.​

Then they got a call from Simon Jeffrey, who was then president of LucasArts. He wanted to talk about making a video game.​

"We actually talked to him about doing sort of an action-RPG Star Wars game, which I always thought would be cool to do—like a little party-based action-RPG, with first-person lightsabers and R2D2. It'd be fun. I still think it'd be cool to do," Urquhart said.​

[...] In 2006, as Neverwinter Nights 2 was finished and Alpha Protocol was just getting started, Obsidian was approached by three publishers at around the same time. One wanted to work with them on an "original fantasy RPG," Urquhart said. The other was EA, whose executives likely wanted a piece of the open-world RPG pie that had been recently popularized by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. They asked Obsidian to make what Urquhart today describes as "a big Skyrim-type Ultima game."​

[...] "We've talked to the Bethesda guys more than once about doing games," Urquhart said. "They called me once about Star Trek, and I was probably being a little bit too much, too arrogant of a developer... This would've been like 2007—way before the movies—and it was like, Star Trek wasn't in a good place. I don't know what I said, but I now know it probably sounded arrogant."​

The cancelled Seven Dwarves and Aliens RPGs are also mentioned. Unfortunately, Obsidian can't yet spill the beans on Project North Carolina which was cancelled earlier this year. Nevertheless, despite all of these woes, the article ends on an optimistic note - and not just because of Project Eternity.

The contrast between Obsidian at the end of 2012 and Obsidian at the beginning of 2012 is like night and day.​

[...] It almost feels like a fairy tale ending: after years of rushed projects, sudden cancellations, and brutal layoffs, Obsidian is suddenly in control of its own destiny. They've got two promising games on the way, and even just a few months ago, major publishers were knocking on their door: Urquhart told me he's been talking to Bethesda, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., and LucasArts.​

Problem, DarkUnderlord? :smug:

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