Spurned by traditional publishing, Obsidian turns to Kickstarter

Obsidian Entertainment is looking for alternatives to the traditional publisher model that's treated it so unkindly, turning to fans to fund a game that returns the battered studio back to its roots.
The traditional publishing model has not been kind to Obsidian Entertainment. Though it's managed to produce a number of beloved titles like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Fallout: New Vegas in the last decade, the studio's difficulties with publishers have resulted in several game cancellations, missed sequel opportunities, and multiple rounds of layoffs. One of those layoff rounds came around the same time when the Irvine-based company missed a Metacritic average review score goal for Fallout: New Vegas, which meant Obsidian reportedly missed out on a bonus payment from its publisher Bethesda. But now Obsidian is avoiding publishers altogether for its newest proposed title, and is following in the footsteps of Double Fine and InXile Entertainment (Wasteland 2). It's launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new game styled after classic Western RPGs, codenamed Project: Eternity. Obsidian compares Project: Eternity to the classic isometric, party-based RPGs produced by its famed designers (Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer) when they worked at Black Isle Studios -- games like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment -- but this time it's based on an original IP and not a Dungeons & Dragons property. The studio says it wanted to create an epic PC RPG for years but found it almost impossible to secure funding for the project through traditional means. With Kickstarter, the company believes it can now fund the title, as well as develop a closer relationship with fans. "Plus, we don't have to make compromises with a publisher," reads a statement Obsidian posted on its Kickstarter page. "We make the development decisions, we market the game, and we don't have to answer to anyone but you – our fans." Obsidian is asking fans to donate $1.1 million over the next month to help it build a new RPG for PC -- the campaign has already received over $150,000 in pledges just hours after launching.

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