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Default Obsidian Entertainment - Crowd-funding Fever

February 11th, 2012, 03:58
Yeah for something like this to work it would most likely HAVE to be an IP.

I'd being willing to help crowd fund an RPG on a few conditions:
1. Old School RPG. Stats, character creation, big maps, Critical hits AND misses, and combat that isn't twitch or shooter based. Numbers on the screen is not essential, but a big plus. If I wanted a game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2, I'd buy those.
2. No "streamlining" I like RPGs since they make me work, and make me think. Find a balance. You want to skip the publishers? Then make it a niche title.
3. Put your best writers on it. You give me the promise that they will be able to write something like Planescape, with no limitations put on them for fear of frightening the audience, I'd fund that sucker in a second.
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February 11th, 2012, 04:21
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
Ah, thanks for the explanation Dhruin, I think i understand now. So it's basically more of a "donation" thing rather than being driven by the principles of full-on "investments" where you seek a monetary return. It is a bit of risk on the side of donors, but it makes sense - especially if a donation is a reasonable amount. I could potentially see myself donating $10-20 on a project if it seemed like it had solid potential. Thanks for clearing that up.
Well, it also feels a bit like a pre-order, since for most of these kind of things the lowest rewards at least contains one option that gives you the end-result (Movie or series on dvd or game).

It isn't that different from how some of the indie games are available before they are finished. One difference in this case is that this kickstarter doesn't have any indication of what the adventure will be beyond genre and 'classic' , but that's because it has the star power of two devs (whose fanbase is probably on average older than 25).

Another thing that is interesting on Kickstarter is that unlike simple pre-order the project can give a goal, if the goal is not reached by a certain date, none of the pledges have to pay. DoubleFine's goal was 400.000, but the response has been so amazing it is a multitude of that. A failed funding was featured, right here on RPGwatch in the article on I Shall Remain.

With pre-order, you are already in development and you can't know how much you'll collect so you can't consider it in the budget. With a kickstarter project you get a budget right from the start, and if you offer the result as thank-you gift you already have an audience so you'll know you're product actually gets consumed.

In the end, I don't think this is for every developer. The star power is a major factor. This is the third 'famous' person's project I've backed (both on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo). And there's two other projects I backed that were featured on the Escapist. So in either case you have to either have a following or be able to spread the word.

The difference between Kickstarter and IndieGoGo is that the later allows non-US projects and incomplete funding (=not reaching goal) is still given to the project. Also, IndiGoGo allows charity and personal funding (=fund my education/health issue) and allows paypal. I bet there are some differences in how much of a take the sites take out of the donations.
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February 11th, 2012, 05:17
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post
I'm still playing new adventure games, the genre isn't dead, it just isn't producing AAA games that get covers on magazines, or sell for over 50 euros because they don't have nor need that kind of budget.
The adventure genre is in the best condition in decades. Currently good titles are coming out ca. every 2 months.
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February 11th, 2012, 05:20
Originally Posted by quasimodo View Post
If they would make a TB, iso view, party based game with a controllable party and great combat like ToEE I would give them lots of money. Nobody other than Spiderweb is doing that any more.

If they made it RTwP I wouldn't give them a dime.
There you can see the difference to an adventure in action. "Point & click adventure" is all the description needed. In the RPG genre you immediately have segment your target audience by either making combat RT(wP) or TB.
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February 11th, 2012, 07:40
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The adventure genre is in the best condition in decades. Currently good titles are coming out ca. every 2 months.
Uh what good Adventure titles are these exactly that are coming out every 2 months?
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February 11th, 2012, 08:56
Originally Posted by Jaesun View Post
Uh what good Adventure titles are these exactly that are coming out every 2 months?
Newer productions only. There's probably more. My favourite adventure site boycott's the internet today.

Deponia
Lost Chronicles of Zerzura
Both came out here within the last two weeks.
L.A. Noire (A lot of people say this counts as an adventure. I don't know.)
Nov.

The Book of Unwritten Tales
Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles, The
A New Beginning
Black Mirror III
Harvey’s New Eyes (Sequel to Edna & Harvey: The Breakout)
Lost Horizon

upcoming
Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, The
Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles, The (international release)
Jack Keane 2
Secret Files 3
Deponia sequel (before Christmas)

Generally most (if not all) adventures by Daedalic (as developer!), King Art, Animation Arts are good.

Tim Schafer knows what he's talking about. Except for L.A. Noire these are all German productions. Add the stuff Telltale makes, plus there are a couple of other devs with interesting projects. Pendulo, Future Games, Frogwares for example, or the Cranberry Productions (part of publisher dtp, 2 games in the list above). Each of them has made good adventures before.
Last edited by Gorath; February 11th, 2012 at 09:10.
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February 11th, 2012, 10:39
it's an exciting prospect - at least if you've got some celebrity power to drive the demand.

A fine point of detail, but of great importance. It was raised previously by indies (I Shall Remain if I remember correctly) that basically demonstrated that kickstarter and the like only helped those that could send people there themselves, so it isn't much more effective than a paypal donation button. Well, at least people aren't charged if the target isn't reached, a reassuring plus.

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February 11th, 2012, 11:09
what happens if the project dissapoints me after finishing, or it will never finished?
can i have my money back ?

i dont like bioware games
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February 11th, 2012, 13:02
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post
I'm still playing new adventure games, the genre isn't dead, it just isn't producing AAA games that get covers on magazines, or sell for over 50 euros because they don't have nor need that kind of budget.
Partly depends where you live.
Yes, they aren't covered that oftzen anymore, but sometimes they still are here.
And yes, their budget is incredibly small compared to *real* "AAA" titles.

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February 11th, 2012, 13:03
I'd love them to do Torn. I've been waiting for it's revival for quite some time.
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February 11th, 2012, 15:26
I expect we wouldn't ever get much in the way of details on these proposals. That would make it too easy for compitition to steal your ideas before you had anything solid to copyright. So you just pays your money and takes your chances, I suppose.

It would be interesting to see how this funding system would affect games. Instead of pandering to the publishing companies, they would be pandering to people with enough disposable income and passion for gaming to be willing to toss $50 to the wind in hopes that it becomes a good game later on. That's likely to have a real affect on game content. Or at least on game descriptions - heaven only knows what they will actually make once they get the money.

P.S. Kerebos? Look what you could have done with Sword of the Stars 2 instead of screwing your customers over by releasing the game half a year before it got done!
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February 11th, 2012, 16:22
Originally Posted by JuliusMagnus View Post
I don't think someone would ever pitch they were going to make a game with a 'weak narrative' or with a 'boring average setting'.
I was just echoing Drithius' words. But I think they meant that narrative and settings where important; generally one doesn't mention narrative if one isn't interested in it (and there are plenty of good games with pretty much no narrative).
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February 11th, 2012, 17:13
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
There you can see the difference to an adventure in action. "Point & click adventure" is all the description needed. In the RPG genre you immediately have segment your target audience by either making combat RT(wP) or TB.


I agree 100%. RPGs and their audience are a lot more diverse. Go to a forum for RPG fans and you're lucky if you can find 2 people who can even agree on the definition of an RPG.
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February 11th, 2012, 17:17
Originally Posted by turian View Post
what happens if the project dissapoints me after finishing, or it will never finished?
can i have my money back ?
No.

If you're hessistant, just wait untill the game is finished and just buy it then. But even when I buy a game I can never return it because I disliked it only if something is technically wrong.

For more info check the faq about this.

It's the honour system.
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February 11th, 2012, 18:10
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I don't mean to be negative but I can't imagine why a developer would crowd-source funds then do a game beholden to a publisher. Arcanum is owned by Activision.
Yeah. This is what surprised me on Twitter/Blog/Facebook. Everyone is suggesting sequels to titles Obsidian doesn't own. Planescape 2? Arcanum 2? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose? This would be the perfect opportunity to launch a creative idea that Obsidian would fully own.
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February 11th, 2012, 22:04
I'd throw $5-10 in the pot for anything close to Arcanum, Bloodlines, ToEE, Bladur's Gate or Planescape…Hmm, possibly in that order
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February 11th, 2012, 22:15
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
And yet people have given well over $1M for nothing more than Schaefer promising a point-and-click adventure made with a small team under his supervision. No specific details whatsoever.
The scenario is very different though, for several reasons:
- Point and click adventures are a very specific concept, especially when associated with Schafer, who's possibly the most famous adventure game developer in the business. There's nothing boring or generic with that idea - people expect Monkey Island quality.
- RPGs are much bigger in scope. In the world of RPGs, a million bucks is little more than a big indie. If people really wanted a turn based indie, they'd be much better off simply donating money to Jeff Vogel than Obsidian.
- Obsidian is a fairly big company by now, which means every developer costs more per hour than they would at a smaller company. It's simple economics - the bigger the company, the bigger the structure that must be supported.

In other words: Obsidian would have to raise a lot more than a million dollars if they want to be free of publishers. A lot more. A million dollars might be enough to get them started, and it would give them better cards when negotiating with a publisher, but they'd still need an actual publisher/investor of some sort.
Last edited by Maylander; February 11th, 2012 at 22:36.
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February 11th, 2012, 23:12
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
In other words: Obsidian would have to raise a lot more than a million dollars if they want to be free of publishers. A lot more. A million dollars might be enough to get them started, and it would give them better cards when negotiating with a publisher, but they'd still need an actual publisher/investor of some sort.
You're adding things that weren't mentioned - or, at least, I didn't understand from your post.

I think MCA is as - or bigger - celebrity than Schafer, so I think they could easily match this effort. If they used him as a figurehead and targeted an old-school experience, I don't think the public would see that as "generic". If you do, we disagree.

But, more importantly, I didn't even remotely imagine this would support all of Obsidian or free them from publishers. I'm imagining a small team, doing a small project - which they themselves have talked about before. That one little project would be free of a publisher (maybe, just maybe, they'd earn enough to expand the concept in the future).

Tim didn't promise all of Double Fine would work on this project - he promised a small team that he would oversee (the way I read it, he's not even promising to lead the development, possbibly only providing mentoring and oversight). I don't know how big Double Fine is but they made the console project Brutal Legend, so they're a bit more than Tim and three other guys sitting in a garage as well.

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February 11th, 2012, 23:26
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Tim didn't promise all of Double Fine would work on this project - he promised a small team that he would oversee (the way I read it, he's not even promising to lead the development, possbibly only providing mentoring and oversight). I don't know how big Double Fine is but they made the console project Brutal Legend, so they're a bit more than Tim and three other guys sitting in a garage as well.
Tim said in a recent interview that Double Fine split into 4 small teams after Brütal Legend. Nobody was fired. He also said they couldn't go back to one big team so easily because they now have too many senior developers for only one project.
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February 12th, 2012, 11:26
I wouldn't fund an Obsidian sequel of anything.
Tim Schaefer promised only something extremely vague: a classic point and click adventure game, without giving out any other details and backed up only by his good name. But I bit and gave them money if only to actively be part of the proof that all those marketing pimps that say there's no audience for such games are morons. I certainly don't intend to keep paying for games that haven't been made yet, I just wanted to prove that I am willing to pay for something like this so as to make it easier for adventure game developers to get funding in the future, but I'm not going to make a habit out of it.

And of course I too doubt that Obsidian is in a position equal to that of Double Fine as they are more or less part of the AAA crowd. They supported themselves by making sequels for years, so I don't see why they would need help to pull off another one. And don't tell me there are doubts that there was an audience for, say, Fallout NV or for their South Park game.

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