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-   -   Obsidian Entertainment - Baldur's Gate 3 Almost Made in 2008 (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18904)

Dhruin December 15th, 2012 01:43

Obsidian Entertainment - Baldur's Gate 3 Almost Made in 2008
 
Kotaku has an excerpt from an interview with Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian, revealing they almost signed a contract to make Baldur's Gate 3 in 2008:
Quote:

"We were talking to Atari, and we started talking, and oh my god this was like the Cherokee Trail of Tears pitch," he said. "They asked in 2007 if we wanted to do Baldur's Gate 3, and I'm like 'Yes, if you guys are serious about it.' They were like, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'If you'll put a real budget behind it: it can't be $10 million, it needs to be $20 million, $25 million. If you really want to do this, then you need to put a real budget behind it. You need to give a budget that BioWare would have to do a Mass Effect or whatever. It has to be a real budget.'"
Atari was hesitant, but they said they'd think about it. A few months later, in early 2008, they came back to Urquhart and gave him the okay, saying they really wanted to get the game done. "They were like 'OK, we really wanna do this, we feel we can get funding, we feel this we feel that, so let's start talking about it,'" Urquhart told me.
So in April, Obsidian started putting together a pitch for Baldur's Gate 3.
"That pitch, over the course of six months probably went through thirty revisions," Urquhart said. "I personally had probably spent 80, 100 hours—just me—on that one pitch, answering every question and asking everything and working on the budget."
Then Atari and Obsidian started working on a contract, which they had negotiated in full by the end of 2008. It was all set. Ready to be signed.
More information.

Zloth December 15th, 2012 01:43

Wow, that was one cliff hanger of a quote!

Daroou December 15th, 2012 02:48

Yeah that's among the best cliffhanger quotes I've ever seen.

Lemonhead December 15th, 2012 02:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zloth (Post 1061175583)
Wow, that was one cliff hanger of a quote!

Agreed. You HAVE to click on that link…

Couchpotato December 15th, 2012 08:56

The were asking for 20-25 million though which is more than what project eternity achieved on kickstarter. Makes you wonder how the game would of turned out.

Anyway the article just makes me a sad potato. A missed opportunity for a great rpg was missed.
Quote:

"Then they said they wanted to come see us to look at things," he said. "And so they came into see us and they looked at things. And then about a week later they said you know we're concerned that you can't make the game. And then a week later all of Atari Europe was sold to Namco Bandai."

Suddenly, the Atari producer that Obsidian had been working with was no longer at Atari.

"All this work got done," Urquhart said. "We negotiated a whole contract. Years worth of work, and it turned out they didn't have the money."

ChienAboyeur December 15th, 2012 09:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemonhead (Post 1061175591)
Agreed. You HAVE to click on that link…

I did not. The game was not done. No cliffhanger. The why is secondary.

JDR13 December 15th, 2012 12:40

Call me crazy, but I'm glad the project didn't get greenlighted. I have a feeling it would have been disappointing, especially with Atari overseeing it.

joxer December 15th, 2012 13:29

I'm not glad.
If BG3 was made back then, good or bad, amazing or disappointing, the creator/PR of BG:EE wouldn't bullshit about BG3 today.

But if Obsidian kickstarts BG3, count me in. If anyone else does it, count me out.
Okay I'm not that stubborn, I'd support BG3 if it came from ppl like Tom Hall or original BG/BG2 crew, but I can't see me supporting DA2 creators.

Zloth December 15th, 2012 15:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Couchpotato (Post 1061175618)
The were asking for 20-25 million though which is more than what project eternity achieved on kickstarter. Makes you wonder how the game would of turned out.

Makes me wonder what they were planning to do with all that money! A massive advertising campaign?

darkling December 15th, 2012 16:03

An AAA BG3 would require voice acting, more animation and CG meaning more artists, voice acting, middleware costs, voice acting, extra developers for parallel development for the consoles, voice acting. Oh, and voice acting! Atari would have handled the marketing, as that is their job as publisher. PE is not being produced on the same scale as a current AAA title.

ChaosTheory December 15th, 2012 16:33

Hmm… So if they thought they needed 25 mil to make a great game, I wonder what we can expect from 4?

azarhal December 15th, 2012 16:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChaosTheory (Post 1061175661)
Hmm… So if they thought they needed 25 mil to make a great game, I wonder what we can expect from 4?

It's the overhead that is different, not the game.

First. PE is entirely made by Obsidian, which mean no outsiders to tell them what to do that change their minds every months (and you know Atari would have butted in). It also mean a smaller timeframe to make the game (1.5 years and not 3, half the cost in salaries).

Second. Less voice acting, less CGI trailers, etc. Less public showing at place like E3 (plane tickets, hotels, long distance phone calls, meals and floor/hardware renting…this stuff goes up fast). I know dev team that had to prepare demos 6 months in advance. This mean having devs/artist working on a demo and not the game for 6 months…

Third. They didn't want to use their in-house engine for PE because of the middleware cost (stuff like Havok physics). They would have used those for BG3. Lucky for us, Unity3D exist with all the standard middlewares (physics, lightning, etc) and it's dirt cheap.

rjshae December 15th, 2012 17:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDR13 (Post 1061175636)
Call me crazy, but I'm glad the project didn't get greenlighted. I have a feeling it would have been disappointing, especially with Atari overseeing it.

Perhaps you're right. At times it seems like these big media corporations are their own worst enemies.

darkling December 15th, 2012 17:35

I also don't think the full budget for PE is $4m. Obsidian certainly will be footing some of the bill for production. I don't have a link to back this up, but I seem to recall reading something here or on the codex about their operating costs that implied $4m alone wouldn't be enough to keep their studio open for the length of time PE is planned to be developed during. Which is why they're working on projects other than PE and South Park as well.

Couchpotato December 15th, 2012 18:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkling (Post 1061175666)
I also don't think the full budget for PE is $4m. Obsidian certainly will be footing some of the bill for production. I don't have a link to back this up, but I seem to recall reading something here or on the codex about their operating costs that implied $4m alone wouldn't be enough to keep their studio open for the length of time PE is planned to be developed during. Which is why they're working on projects other than PE and South Park as well.

There still taking paypal for very late backers so spread the word still.

Link-http://eternity.obsidian.net/

ChienAboyeur December 15th, 2012 19:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChaosTheory (Post 1061175661)
Hmm… So if they thought they needed 25 mil to make a great game, I wonder what we can expect from 4?

It was four years ago. Probably wanted to developp their own engine, keep using ADD licence and the rest.

Brother None December 15th, 2012 20:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChaosTheory (Post 1061175661)
Hmm… So if they thought they needed 25 mil to make a great game, I wonder what we can expect from 4?

You need $25 million to make an AAA, polished production levels, voice acted game. An AAA product like Dragon Age: Origins, it costs at least $20 million to make something like that. What can you expect for $4 million? Not an AAA product. An indie product.

Quote:

Originally Posted by azarhal (Post 1061175662)
It's the overhead that is different, not the game.

There is some difference in overhead. But at $20 million you get a VERY different game than Project Eternity. 20 million would also be the development budget, not the PR budget, those tend to be separate, with the PR budget often exceeding the development budget for modern AAA games.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Couchpotato (Post 1061175618)
The were asking for 20-25 million though which is more than what project eternity achieved on kickstarter. Makes you wonder how the game would of turned out.

There's a reason they mention BioWare. At 20-25 million you're looking at a game of a scope and look of Dragon Age: Origins. In other words, they weren't looking to do a niche sequel, but something of the scope of Dragon Age. Which makes sense, it's a big IP and that comes with big expectations. If it played similarly to DA:O that could've worked.

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkling (Post 1061175666)
I also don't think the full budget for PE is $4m. Obsidian certainly will be footing some of the bill for production.

I *seriously* doubt that. Obsidian doesn't have any running income from anything else, they don't own any of the games they've made so they don't make any money from continuing sales. Where would they get the money from to foot the bill? This is a studio that has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy several times already. If they don't get another AAA project after South Park then basically, once again, they'll have to either slash down completely and move out of their current place or just close the whole studio.

Obsidian is not and never has been in a safe financial environment. They are completely dependent on an operational level of having not just one but preferably two major publisher-backed projects running. There's not much other choice for an independent studio of their size but to run like that. It's working so far, better hope it keeps working!

darkling December 15th, 2012 22:14

Aren't they working on at least one other project than South Park and PE right now?

Moriendor December 16th, 2012 01:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkling (Post 1061175666)
I also don't think the full budget for PE is $4m. Obsidian certainly will be footing some of the bill for production.

Agree… and remember that they only asked for US$1.1 million which is ridiculously modest. My guess is that they needed the US$1.1 million to get a bank credit of US$x(x) million.
I have no idea what the ratio might be. Maybe they'd need US$1.1 to get a credit of US$5 million or US$10 million or even more.
The final loan amount that Obsidian would receive for a US$1.1 million security deposit or through raising their own capital would depend a lot on Obsidian's (financial) track record, their annual revenues and quite a few more individual factors.

I mean it's obvious that neither US$1.1 million nor the ~US$4 million they got is realistically going to cover the entire budget if you look at average game developer salaries. And this is just the salaries, i.e. the employer's gross employee costs are not fully covered yet.
I think I read somewhere in conjunction with Star Citizen that Chris Roberts projected costs per employee are US$127K per year on average so it's easy to imagine that US$1.1 million wouldn't get you very far and given the now massive scope of PE (thanks to the stretch goals), I sincerely doubt that US$4 million is the full budget.
There must be an additional source of funding which -in absence of a publisher- is most likely a good old bank credit or possibly some sort of private equity funding.

Couchpotato December 16th, 2012 01:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkling (Post 1061175700)
Aren't they working on at least one other project than South Park and PE right now?

Yes it's supposedly a Wheel of Time game but there is hardly any info right now. I'm starting to think it's another failed project.


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