Published on July 6th, 2013 | by Fraser Brown0
Project Eternity could run for… what’s a synonym for forever?
Project Eternity, or whatever Obsidian are going to end up calling their Kickstarted fantasy RPG, is not a mere one-shot title or a crowd-funding experiment and a trip down memory lane, Chris Avellone revealed to Eurogamer at Rezzed. The ambitious game is, Avellone hopes, the start of a series that will become the focus of the studio.
It’s a record breaking Kickstarter, generating over $3 million, and the separate paypal donations shows that there’s an eager, hungry market for a title the like of Project Eternity, but post-release expansions and sequels will all depend on one thing: profit. If Project Eternity generates Obsidian profit beyond the initial backer amounts, then there will be a future for the franchise.
If the worst does happen, and the title doesn’t sell well — or as well as Obsidian need it to sell — then all won’t be lost. “The way we structured the plan is I don’t think there’s ever an instance where it would be put on hold, because as soon as the first game is completed then we’re still working on the expansion,” Avellone explained. “And during that time when we’re working on the expansion, we have a good sense for how well Eternity is doing in the marketplace, and if it’s doing well then we will have a sequel going on, and if it’s not, no worries, at least we delivered what the backers were happy with.”
With the groundwork laid by developing Project Eternity, any additional content and sequels will benefit from a change in focus from programming to more visible content like spells and new areas. “The advantage we would have this time around is we’d be more familiar with the toolset, more familiar with the pipelines. And the energy and resources that are usually spent on programming the systems and getting the framework all set up: they can devote that to creating much more player-seen content – more spells, more ways of casting and reacting to the environment and things like that.”
Failure or success, Obsidian could always go back down the Kickstarter route. We’ve already seen Double Fine crowd-fun two games before one is even finished, and Obsidian’s chums over at inXile have successfully Kickstarted two projects (both of which Obsidian is linked two, with the studio helping out on Wasteland 2 and Avellone working on Torment), so there’s certainly a precedent. But Avellone would rather use the platform for something new, something compelling.
While the success of a game on PC often leads to it being ported to consoles, this is unlikely to happen with Project Eternity, Avellone revealed. “Our goal was just to make a PC-focused, much more keyboard-driven – something that’s a bit more, for want of a better word, old-school. We enjoyed making those old Infinity Engine games. I don’t know that they’d work as well on consoles, which was one of the reasons we focused on Windows in the first place.”
Avellone always makes for an interesting interview subject, so you should read the whole thing. Of particular note (to a sentimental old fool like me) was this snippet: “If we had multiple isometric hardcore role-playing games going on at the same time, with the scale of Eternity, that is something I think we’d be very very happy about as a studio, because that was Black Isle.” Wouldn’t it be grand?