Obsidian turns to Kickstarter for Project Eternity

Independent developer launches crowd-funding campaign asking for $1.1 million to make isometric, party-based role-playing game.

The secret project from Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth developer Obsidian Entertainment has been revealed. The independent developer today launched a Kickstarter campaign for Project Eternity (working title), an isometric, party-based PC role-playing game.

The gameworld for Project Eternity.

The developer is asking for $1.1 million to complete the project, and as of press time, has drawn over $270,000 from more than 6,000 backers. The crowd-funding campaign will close at 9 p.m. EDT on October 16.

According to the Project Eternity official description, the game will combine elements of past Infinity Engine role-playing projects like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. Players will create their own character in Project Eternity, and will gather companions along their journey, which will be replete with "complex, difficult choices," according to Obsidian.

Gamers who back the project at $20 will receive a digital copy of Project Eternity, should the campaign be successful, redeemable through Steam. A contribution of $35 secures backers a copy of the game, as well as a digital soundtrack and collector's book. The book includes concept art, a player's handbook, monster manual, information about the campaign setting and characters, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Project Eternity.

Obsidian turned to Kickstarter for Project Eternity because the company said it was "almost impossible" to secure the necessary funding through traditional publishing means. Additionally, the studio said it is asking for more than most Kickstarter projects because it is "creating a whole new world."

For more on Project Eternity, check out the game's Kickstarter page.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

352 comments
dartnub
dartnub

liking the pic fem bot the asari is cool

 

garrett2526
garrett2526

if it comes to consoles I would back if not no I am a pc gamer before handheld but way more a console gamer

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

I might be alone but I hope they start one for Alpha Protocol 2 next.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

Hell yeah, obsidian is awesome, I'm in.

GreyViper
GreyViper

I have to say one thing, Obsidian needs to rethink their pitches in the future. Btw is it me or are they targeting some of the jaded Bioware fans, who didnt like where things went with DA2 and ME3 ending fiasco?

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

1.4 million and growing, they've already reached their first stretch goals...next up a Mac version of the game at 1.6.

killeridis
killeridis

sounds awesome! :) backed up from me, definitely a buy from me love Obsidian

sorintitus
sorintitus

This will be a certain buy when it comes out!

miser_cz
miser_cz

Backed up in a heartbeat.

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Last i saw it was at 1.3 mill..its at 1.4 mill ..Thats a good job bye the fans wish i can afoard to help them..I will i the long run when i purchase there games..Love obsidion..

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Last i saw it was at 1.3 mill..Some one posted this on the forum..

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

Good, they already reached and surpassed the funding goal.

Fitferfer
Fitferfer

You had me sold at "Obsidian" and "Classic PC RPG".

ArganisTheArgon
ArganisTheArgon

gotta love it, backed on day 1 of their kickstarter. 

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

Having backed it and enthused  about Obsidian I also want to say despite such amazing results kick starter isn't next big thing in funding games, we're probably near the peak of what it will achieve and it's not going to last. In fact these may well be the golden days of crowd funding.

 

Kickstarter drives like this get funded quickly on the good will of a few, not as truly popular movement. When it hit $1,000,000 it was with about 24,000 backers. At that point about 19,000 of the $20 packages were sold so assuming everyone with that package contributed exactly $20 that's about $380,000. The remaining $620,000 being paid for by the other 5,000 or so backers which comes out as about $124 a piece. However of those 5,000 I suspect the majority were the $35 package (really wish I'd screen shotted earlier to get some accurate numbers) based on the numbers sold now (arround 4,300 $1,350,000 total) about 3000 backers at $35 at that point is a realistic estimate. That leaves the remaining 2,000 averaging $250 or so. So getting fully funded so quickly comes down to a tiny minority of  dropping quite a lot. In fact roughly 50% of the funding came from under 10% of backers. Since getting fully funded the total has moved a lot slower however number of backers, while also rising slower hasn't slowed as much. That suggests the majority of big spenders have already done their thing.

 

The fact is that funding on Kickstarter is usually awful value for money for backers. It's not an investment, if the project makes huge profit KS backers won't see a penny. If it tanks they aren't technically creditors so again they don't see a penny. The reward packages offered are the only tangible return, in this case the $20 package is arguably reasonable value for money but everything else not so much. Further it's only reasonable value compared to the pricing of the game on release however paying then has the advantage of you actually getting the game without waiting over a year.  Take into account the risk that the project could tank or suck and even the $20 reward package is bad value.

 

The currency projects on kick starter trade on is good will. I felt it was worth funding because I want to support this genre as much as I want to support this particular game but ultimately it's some what hollow. Video games are a mass media where you measure sales in millions, or at least fractions of millions. The tens of thousands backers this has isn't a significant trend in the wider market. Less so an enthusiastic 2,000, even if they are willing to drop couple of hundred dollars on a game

 

Kickstarter is however a great deal for the party that's looking for funding. A good outcome for Obsidian with this game, if it's a modest success the copies given away might be under 10% of total sales. A bad out come (given they release the game) then it's significantly more but the kickstarter money is  funding they don't have to pay back or lose a cut of other sales for. It's pretty much risk free.

 

The problem is that the good will bubble could burst. A couple of high profile Kickstarter projects sinking or being crappy when they do get to market can do a lot of harm. However success stories with projects making big money off of backing that never sees a return also have potential to be harmful. I wouldn't take much for that 10% of investors can quickly dry up at which point commercial Kickstarter campaigns which generate silly money (such as the Oculus Rift) just won't happen any more.

 

To be clear, I'm not saying don't back this game, indeed if you are fan of the kind of games this wants to revive you should. I am however dubious that crowd funding in the long term can make a big difference to the games industry.

fightingfish18
fightingfish18

I was just thinking yesterday, "Why aren't there any good ismoetric RPGs anymore?"  I'll have to support this closer to the deadline so I can save up some money.  I'll definitely invest at least 20, but as a college student, getting the money can be challenging.  GO Obsidian!

worlock77
worlock77

I can't wait to see the first Kickstarter project that never materializes. The problem with Kickstarter is that people are trying to replace investors with consumers. The investor takes a calculated risk. He knows when he puts his money toward a project that ultimately it may not pan out. The guy donating to a Kickstarter project, on the other hand, is ordering a product with no guarentee that he'll ever actually get that product in his hands, and no protections, no way to get his money back, if he never does get that product. Funding a project is one thing. Having a group of people who will actually see it through is another. Even well-funded projects backed by big publishers and media companies sometimes never materialize ('Shenmue III') or only do so after many years of delay ('Duke Nukem Forever', 'Chinese Democracy'). What assurances are there for the guy pre-ordering through Kickstarter (and that's effectively what it is) that he's going to actually get the thing he's ordering?

kerrman
kerrman

I'm more than happy to give them my money, I love Obsidian! And this will be my first Kickstarter! :D

Also, for anyone interested, they have reached the 1.1 million mark, and are currently sitting at over 1.2 million. So this game is a go, with 30 days left to invest!

cyberarmy
cyberarmy

 @Nightrain50 Nope you are not the only one, unfortunately Sega has the AP ip rights and we wont see an AP2 till they want.

 

But Obsidian still can do something similar, not really need the same ip and with a more "stable" gameplay i hope.

cyberarmy
cyberarmy

 @Gooeykat Very near to 1.6 . Im possitive they can easly top 3 millions if not more.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

 @WeWerePirates without kickstarter programmers you are relying on market trends for the types of games that will be made. If you aren't a hipster than that might not be a good thing. I know I don't like the direction gaming is headed. I'm an old school rpg lover and don't want to quit gaming just because online has ruined everything. If I can pay upfront for what I know I'd buy anyway, what's the problem?

u1tradt
u1tradt

 @WeWerePirates Don't listen to these idiots, that was a great read and the points you made were valid and quite interesting.

 

Certainly it would take just one high profile flop or scam to scare most people off from this method of funding. But tighter regulations that gave investors peace of mind would help to grow a formula such as this rather than hinder it.

 

For example, the people who own Kickstarter could open an internal unit that is responsible for authenticating the legitimacy of the people asking for the money when a certain threshold is met in terms of money asked. They could also hold on to the money made until they are fully satisfied with the background checks and that the companies will follow through with their claims and promises. They could even bind the company to contracts that prevent the money being used for any purpose other than the completion of the specific project the money was raised for.

 

There can be so many ways to apply bureaucracy to this. As long as the goal is always to ensure investors have peace of mind then the bureaucracy will greatly benefit and grow the formula. It would also be relatively cheap to put those things in place, as long as the right people are in charge of it all.

edinko
edinko

 @WeWerePirates

 What are you talking about? To make a long story short its a 20 dollar preorder for f`s sake. You are not making an investment. 20 dollar is a 1 big pizza and a drink. YOu are preordering the game for a low price. THats it. Mayber you should stick to preordering a 150 dollar 4 hour cod games collector edition

XIntoTheBlue
XIntoTheBlue

 @worlock77 Those who pledge some money know the risks associated with this, or they should know those risks when they pledge (ignorance isn't an excuse to get pissed when the project goes south). If the risk isn't worth it for you, don't pledge. It's that simple. Kickstarters is a good idea for games that are not popular mainstream (or popular among publishers in any case). For a game Obsidian is trying to make, big publishers don't want to touch it. A kickstarter is a good way of solving the issue of funding. Anyway, the consumer takes the same risk as an investor (least with Obsidian's project). If the game turns out, they get the game at a reduced cost and inevitably save money in the end.

snxx
snxx

@worlock77

worlock77 Really, lots of people backing those projects on Kickstarter realize it's a somewhat risky endeavor. I'm backing six projects there, I know pretty well I can receive a subpar, disappointing  game. I know some projects may fail... And, still, I'm willing to take those risks to support some of my favorite game designers make their games, to make the games I miss and want to see again. That's what Kickstarter is. Sure, there may be a few thousand of misguided people who believe Kickstarter is just a different way of pre-ording, but that fault isn't on Kickstarter, but on those persons willingness to find out what really crowd-funding is about.

 

Besides, I'm not only a gamer, I'm a games researcher and game design teacher, so the ability to follow those games creation process, to watch the documentaries they make, to talk to the devs, getting access to the conceptual art, game vision and game documents and all the material related to creating a game? That, per se, is worth to me. You can learn so much! I'm actually using Kickstarter-funded games support material to teach my students.

makryu
makryu

 @worlock77

So you "can't wait to see the first Kickstarter project that never materializes"? You're rooting against something that may become a revolutionary way to develop games that wouldn't ever see a green light through the publishing proccess?

 

I understand the risk you're pointing out is real, and it probably will happen with some of the projects, but to wish for the initiative to fail seems cruel and ignorant.

snxx
snxx

 @kerrman 1.32 millions now. :)

They're certainly getting support fast!

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @u1tradt I hope you are right but part of what is making crowd funding so exciting right now is how cavalier people are in backing projects. If attitudes do sour over a few high profile horror stories even with much better protection the good will won't necessarily return. You are making a very rational point but  I don't think people behave entirely rationally. Indeed I think there people who back largely don't do it out of rational self interest.

 

But like I wrote at the start I hope you are right because it's great that a fairly ambitious and other wise massively commercially risky game like this can not just get funded but receive such resounding and tangible support from the fans. I hope that continue to happen.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @edinko You have entirely missed my point. The $20 reward isn't particularly low price, not just because you have none of the protections of any reasonable pre-order scheme. If it was just about price some one who has the patience to pay their money now and wait over a year then surely have the patience to wait for the first steam sale and get the game for under $10. The $20 reward is bad value for its content. Even at $20 the only reason to back is a desire to support the game. Personally I'd like to see Obsidian make a game where they aren't getting screwed over by their publisher which is why I backed (and backed more than $20).

 

However add up the current $20, $25 and $35 reward packages taken and that covers about 30,000 of the 35,000 but only less than half of the money generated so far. Even now that wouldn't be enough to have fully funding goal. The money made on Kickstarter isn't from cheap or even full price pre-orders its from good will and mostly the good will of a minority, not the masses.

edinko
edinko

 @WeWerePirates

 WEll because there is not much difference? Its just a very long preorder

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @edinko "I simply failt to see what exactly is wrong with a 20 dollar preorder for a hopefully big rpg"

 

QFT

 

You also simply fail/refuse to see the difference between backing on Kickstarter and a pre-order.

 

If you want good value go check out the bundle with Plane Scape Torment on GOG right now. If you want to support more games in genre go to Kickstarter. Actually people should do both.

edinko
edinko

 @WeWerePiratesWhat protections? Do you feel yourself protected when you buy yourself a 60 bucks 4 hour poor shooter which is sure as hell incomplete and will require another 100 just for dlc?

I simply failt to see what exactly is wrong with a 20 dollar preorder for a hopefully big rpg

 

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

@WeWerePirates@melkathi@SergioMX

And you're being dishonest in your defense of your argument that the real value of kickstarter comes from supporting games that would otherwise not be developed.  This is the crux of your argument and yet you yourself could have donated the $5 minimum and achieved that sense of value.  Yet you chose to donate more because you obviously found value in getting copy of the game plus and any additional items you may receive based on your donation.  Would you have kicked in had you not received these items, I wonder.

 

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @Gooeykat  @melkathi  @SergioMXAt this point you are misconstruing what I wrote. I didn't say the rewards are valueless, I wrote "backing purely for the contents of the reward packages is bad value."

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

 @WeWerePirates  @melkathi  @SergioMX

 

What's really dumb is saying that people will receive value from a kickstarter if they ONLY do it for the intentions of "supporting a game that otherwise not be published."  If you wanted to do this, why make a donation above $20 at all?  You could have just made multiple $5 donations, you would not have received the game but you would be supporting the development of the game.  The fact of the matter is people want to support developer AND they want to get a copy of the game (plus addtional stuff depending), they find value in both.  For instance, one level gives someone a signed copy of the game from the developers, I don't particularly find that valueable but I can see how a die-hard RPG fan might be interested in getting that.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @Gooeykat  @melkathi  @SergioMX "So if you are saying that for 31% of backers in this particular kickstarter, the value may not be there, than I agree!"

 

Did I say that?  What I said more than once before was backing purely for the contents of the reward packages is bad value. The true value comes from supporting something they are enthusiastic about.

 

As for those 31% who backed more than $20, as I've written else where you can number me among those 31% so I clearly don't think it's bad value the value doesn't stem from the reward but being able to support a game that would otherwise not be possible without crowd funding. There are plenty of reasons to back the project but $20 now for a game years down the line as good value for money? I'm sorry but that's just dumb.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

 @WeWerePirates  @melkathi  @SergioMX

 Yeah, 6% of someone's income, that will really cause some financial stress for someone.  I don't know about you but most people leave money aside each month to pay for entertainment.

 

Well if you take everyone that donated $20, that is 69% of the total number of backers.  They are funding 45% the the original 1.1m that was required to produce the game, I'm not including the stretch goals.

 

So if you are saying that for 31% of backers in this particular kickstarter, the value may not be there, than I agree!   Anyone pledging above the $20 amount (for the $25 and $35 backers it's too early to tell), this is might not be a good value...but again for the vast majority of backers, it is a good value.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

@Gooeykat@melkathi@SergioMX

At time of hitting fully funded only about 19,000 of the $20. Funding about 33% off the top of my head. Now they are all sold funding $500,000 out of $1,450,000. A bit over 33%. Add up the other packages that are close to retail you still find less than half with most of the backers accounted for. A majority of the funding comes from a small minority of backers.

 

As for your minimum wage earner a 16 year old living with their parents with no or token outgoings working part time on minimum wage probably has more disposable income than a lot of people working full time. Some one on minimum wage, if they work a 40 hour week (not sure what the average is in the US but both the US minimum wage and labour laws are awful) that's about 6% of their income before tax.

 

I'm not arguing that $20 is more than most people can afford though it is certainly more than a lot of people can afford. It is however more than most people should throw away casually on a regular basis and even as entertainment budget it can go a lot further than a game that will PROBABLY be out in over a year and SHOULD be good.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

 @WeWerePirates  @Gooeykat  @melkathi  @SergioMX

"The fact is that funding on Kickstarter is usually awful value for money for backers."

 

There are around 25K backers at the $20 that will receive a copy of the game (they are providing 45% of the backing for this game).  It's not a bad deal for them at all.  $20 is not a huge investment for anyone with a job.  The minimum here in the US is $8.25 an hour, so with with two and half hours of labor, the average 16 year old can afford to get a copy of this game.  Again, very low risk for anyone with a job to get a copy of the game.

 

As for the higher levels, yes of course, the risk increases the more you pledge but those number are small fraction of the total.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

 @Gooeykat  @melkathi  @SergioMX I didn't say it was an investment what I said is the reward packages are bad value for what you pay (in part because of risk) AND SO the reason to back even the lower amounts is to support the game. As I wrote in response to another comment if supporting the game isn't the motivation and you have the patience to wait for it to come out then you will get a much better deal waiting for it to go on sale on steam without the risk of the game never being made and having a fair idea whether it's any good or not.

 

If you look at my original post you'll see I show there is a small minority backing with on average $250. I don't think $250 is "a very small amount of money for most people". People paying under or about retail prices are producing less than half the funding. It's that minority that generated most of the money when it was near fully funded. I didn't argue the similar to retail cost crowd will go, it's that the big spender backers may lose their appetite and if that happens that will significantly decrease the amounts of money crowd funding can generate.

 

As for only being a worry for some one under 16, trust me, for most people in the real world casually throwing away even $20 quickly adds up let alone $250.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

 @WeWerePirates  @melkathi  @SergioMX I appreciate your opinion but must disagree, I would be willing to bet that 99% of the backers not see this as "investment" and are in no way upset that they won't get a "share" of the profits.  This is not a IPO of Facebook, it is game that once released will generate some profit to cover the costs and will fade.  The backers are guaranteed a copy of the game, plus addtional items based on your level of money you kick in.  If you are saying that this is more risky than say a pre-order, than of course yes, there is a higher risk.  But then again, we are talking about a very small amount of money for most people.  Maybe not for someone under the age of 16 but for most people who have a job, this isnt a huge financial risk.