Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Development Info More on Obsidian's cancelled and unproduced projects at Eurogamer

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    I don't think pissing off Bethesda is the reason they aren't doing that. The amount of money they would need for such a game is the reason. They don't have the engine, they would have to license something and tweak it a lot to get it working in open world setting, which is why you really need a publisher to fund it. I really doubt they would suddenly get tens of millions out of Kickstarter.
     
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  2. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I think it is also hard to disentangle FO:NV's success from the Bethesda/Fallout brands and the built-in fanbase. So you'd be dealing with way higher production costs with an expectation that it would not sell as well, though of course Obsidian would've been able to keep a larger slice of the pie.
     
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  3. Severian Silkgender: ⚧ Guest

    Severian Silk
    But publishers HAVE A LOT OF MONEY, and pissing them off could cut you off from that money. People tend to hold grudges for a long time in the business world. Unless you have some cult of personality that can save you from insolvency, like Trump or whatever.
     
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  4. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    And developing a new IP is also a lot of work on a conceptual level, especially for an Obsidian RPG.
     
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  5. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    That they do. Pissing off one publisher isn't the end of the world unless they are the one funding your current project. That Bethesda-Obsidian relationship might be already beyond repair, so tiptoeing around them would only hurt Obsidian. They have to do what is right for them as a company, and not fear what one company might think about their project.
     
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  6. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    It establishes a bad precedent that other publishers might not like.
     
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  7. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    There is no evidence for the relationship of Obsidia and Bethesda being bad. People on the internet made up some drama about the metacritic debacle and that Bethesda is envy of Obsidian, but that was only that. Internet drama. In reality Bethesda and Obsidian always kept a professional relationship, so there is no reason for burning up the bridge with them. I for one would be happy if they worked together in the future. Their cooperation might result in a great game like New Vegas.
     
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  8. Habagender: ⚧ Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Like current and former Obsidian employees?

    It is good to hear that you know better though, r00fles!
     
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  9. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

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    Like what?
     
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  10. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    So no independent company should ever compete with any of the publishers at all? Want to make a post-apocalyptic game, too bad Bethesda has one. How about an space opera crpg, nope. EA got there first... Fantasy crpg... oh wait EA again.

    Rest of the publishers won't give a flying fuck if Obsidian makes a post-apocalyptic crpg, just Bethesda. If such project is successful and makes Bethesda's Fallout 4 look bad in comparison, it will open a lot of doors for Feargus to go and pitch their projects.
     
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  11. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    Which is why, I said might. I didn't say it was beyond repair for certain. It's business, while they might keep professional relationship up in the media, neither one of the companies might not want to work with each other ever again for multiple reasons. The metacritic debacle was bad PR for Bethesda even if it was small scale internet drama and I don't think Sawyer's comment about Gamebryo on PS3 helped either, and no I don't think those two alone would kill a possible Obsidian-Bethesda game in the future. After all they did try out with Prey and Backspace, but neither game made it :/

    I would love a Fallout game by Obsidian but that seems less likely every day. Especially if Indiana turns out to be post-apocalyptic game.
     
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  12. Anthony Davisgender: ⚧ Obsidian Entertainment Developer

    Anthony Davis
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    I don't know if I can trust my memory on this...but I will try.

    Dwarves was not a try-hard grim dark setting. The dwarves themselves were not like, "Hi, I'm the great (x 10) ancestor of that ol'curmudgeon, Grumpy dwarf!" Instead, the dwarfs had certain themes that tied them to their (future) ancestor. For example, one of the dwarfs was a wild barbarian, and he was mute. Another one was a bard. I can't remember the rest of them... I have pictures of them somewhere - and as you look at them, you can see traces of who they are based on, like a facial expression, or the way they stand. It was subtle touches.

    I don't believe Bethesda hates us, and we certainly don't hate them. While we created the content of New Vegas and the New Vegas DLC, it was their engine, their previous success with FO3, and their first class marketing that launched New Vegas to success. Without Bethesda, it would just be the Codex arguing over how New Vegas is either the best or the worst thing ever - and almost no one else.

    That is the objective truth.

    Subjectively, do I wish we had garnered more of the financial success? Of course, who wouldn't? On bad days do I feel myself a little bit salty about it? Of course, but that isn't healthy so instead I try to focus on how thankful we are that we even got to MAKE IT. Obsidian also got a lot of business opportunities because of New Vegas, and we owe that to Bethesda.

    Everyone always brings up Backspace, I don't remember that EVER going anywhere other than pitches and maybe Jason Fader doing some early prototyping, but I could be wrong. I do think it was a cool pitch and hopefully someday either Obsidian or Jason will get to do something with it.


    bah, I got interrupted and lost my train of thought.
     
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  13. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    I brought it up because at least the Kotaku article said Bethesda was a part of it for a little while even though it never got greenlit. The pitch sounds wonderful though and different from your average crpg which is great. Time to go and poke Feargus to go and pitch Backspace to publishers? ;)
     
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  14. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    People like to think that marketing has no effect on a game's success. Nothing could be further from the truth.
     
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  15. Nanogender: ⚧ Educated

    Nano
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    But Backspace was enough of a big deal to cause layoffs when it didn't pan out. Also not sure how comfortable the people at Obsidian would feel about reviving it when those layoffs included the person who developed the pitch (Sydney Wolfram).
     
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  16. Anthony Davisgender: ⚧ Obsidian Entertainment Developer

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    There were no layoffs because of Backspace that I am aware of since it never went anywhere. Maybe they were hoping to get it signed and avoid layoffs because of Aliens getting cancelled? I don't remember, but I doubt it since the layoffs happened the very next day after Aliens was cancelled.

    Also in my memory, it was a pitch from Jason Fader, not Sydney Wolfram, though maybe they worked on it together? Unfortunately, it was not a big thing in my recollection, it never made it through the pitching phase.

    I'm not trying to disparage the pitch or anyone who worked on it, I do remember it being a super cool idea, just in the scope of projects both alive and cancelled at Obsidian, it barely registers.

    Maybe in my 2 year absence from Obsidian it had a resurgence? I thought Jason was already gone when I left...
     
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  17. Nanogender: ⚧ Educated

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  18. Anthony Davisgender: ⚧ Obsidian Entertainment Developer

    Anthony Davis
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    Backspace was never a thing - that's what I'm saying.

    It was an internal pitch with 2 or 3 people that was never shown to a publisiher.

    Those layoffs were because Aliens got cancelled.


    edit:
    I went and got my memory refreshed.
     
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  19. Nanogender: ⚧ Educated

    Nano
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    I think you might be misremembering. The Aliens layoffs were in early 2009, two years before the April 2011 layoffs that I was talking about in my previous posts. And according to a Kotaku article (from 2013), Backspace was going to be a Bethesda-published game: https://kotaku.com/a-sci-fi-skyrim-was-in-development-at-obsidian-it-ha-736060432
     
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  20. Anthony Davisgender: ⚧ Obsidian Entertainment Developer

    Anthony Davis
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    You are correctm I got the year right but the project wrong.

    To my recollection, there were only 3 major layoffs at Obsidian,

    2009 - Aliens cancelled
    2011 - 2012 - Stormlands cancelled
    2016 - 2017 - ramp down on Armored Warfare


    Backspace was never ever shown to a publisher as an official pitch, that is a fact. If it was shown to Bethesda or anyone else, it was not done from Obsidian as an official pitch. I'm not real sure why your obsessed with a project that ever made it out of the pitch phase.
     
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  21. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    Some people just have these weird obsessions; that is a fact of life.
     
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  22. MLMarklandgender: ⚧ Arcane Developer

    MLMarkland
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    Vlatko Andonov is well known for using leverage at critical points to gain significant financial advantage for Bethesda, including lowballing Obsidian when Sega had to terminate the Aliens: Crucible project because Sega was running a quarter billion dollar deficit.

    Everyone in the executive / producer environment of the game business is well aware of this. It is no secret.

    Nor is it taken personally by anyone with any decision making capacity. We live in a capitalist society.

    Not using your leverage is a breach of your fiduciary duty to your business, employees, shareholders, licensors, etc.

    But that doesn't mean everybody is best friends either. This is a business; not The Little Rascals.

    Also, I have never heard of Backspace outside of this thread so what Anthony Davis is saying about that is true.

    Finally, most of the turmoil in the game industry is because upchain financiers of video games experienced a massive, persistent liquidity crisis for half a decade. That's why Atari, THQ, Emergent Game Technologies and many others literally went bankrupt. Why Sega didn't release a real game for 4 years. Why Codemasters hasn't released a real, non-racing game in a decade, etc. It's why Kickstarter took off for games. It's why Steam Early Access took off. It's why FIG exists. And so on.
     
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  23. Quantomasgender: ⚧ Educated

    Quantomas
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    Agreed.

    The market conditions have changed, with Steam, self-publishing and in general an explosion of releases, which give gamers large backlogs and the choice simply to wait and see instead of buying games at release.

    Fundamentally it creates a downward pressure on prices and revenues because the market is way more competitive. One day games will be as ubiquitous as books and publishers increasingly see the need to adapt. Surely some do not learn the right lessons and will pay a price. The recent spike in porting belatedly to PC is a clear sign that publishers begin to understand the value of their back catalogues. Just as books have a much longer shelf life.

    And as always the production of games needs to become more efficient.
     
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  24. Nanogender: ⚧ Educated

    Nano
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    I was just curious. Thanks for taking the time to answer in any case.
     
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  25. Flougender: ⚧ Learned

    Flou
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    Backscape was in pre-production/pitchmode for 3-4 months.
    From Jason Fader's LinkedIn:

    Project Director
    Company NameObsidian Entertainment
    Dates EmployedJan 2011 – Apr 2011


    Employment Duration4 mos


    Unannounced Scifi RPG
    Designed gameplay and story elements while overseeing the overall direction of the project's development.
     
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