While the pitch for Project Eternity was an indisputable success, the project likely wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without a period of uncertainty for the studio. Obsidian had been several months into development for an unannounced title when the game’s publisher pulled the plug, leaving the California-based studio little choice but to lay off staff and start shopping for more work.
As one of the programmers who worked on the canceled game, Brennecke joined in the effort of pitching new game ideas to publishers. That meant spending weeks writing design documents, prototyping game ideas, and typically getting nowhere fast.
“It takes a lot of time to go through the pitch process. And right now is not the best time in the world to pitch new games,” Brennecke says.
Fortunately, Brennecke realized that working with a publisher wasn’t the only way to fund their next project. A shift was occurring in the industry, as many game companies began skirting big-name publishers altogether by going directly to the fans to fund games, primarily through Kickstarter. One of the biggest success stories happened in March 2012, when indie studio Double Fine Productions brought in more than $3.3 million to fund an old-school adventure game. Months later, Obsidian’s friends at developer InXile found similar success with their game Wasteland 2.