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Default Obsidian Entertainment - Feargus: We Are Doing Fine

February 14th, 2009, 00:10
Feargus Urquhart has told Big Download they are doing fine, with multiple projects under way:
On Thursday rumors started up that developer Obsidian Entertainment had to lay off some team members as a result of Sega canceling their long-in-development Aliens RPG project. Neither Sega nor Obsidian have commented officially on these reports. However Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart has commented to Big Download on reports from our sister site Joystiq that Obsidian is "apparently on the ropes."

According to what Urquhart told us, "We are doing fine and do not have to shut down operations. We are still actively developing Alpha Protocol and are working on another couple of properties." Alpha Protocol is Obsidian's other game for Sega, a first person action-RPG in the super-spy genre that is expected to be released sometime in 2009. Urquhart would not comment on the rumors of the Aliens RPG cancelation nor on the reports of layoffs at the company. One of their other games they might be working on is a rumored third expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights 2.
More information.
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February 14th, 2009, 00:10
I've seen CEOs make statements like that the day before they had to shut down. That being said, with several on-going projects I very much doubt all their funding will simply vanish over night, so I hope (and believe) that Obsidian will do fine.

The worst thing that could happen right now is for SEGA to pull the plug on Alpha Protocol as well. That would put Obsidian in a really bad position.
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February 14th, 2009, 01:10
i have no idea of what the sales were for the last expansion pack, haven't played it yet myself as obsidians characters and dialogue skills are the sellers for me, but it seems like a NW3 with a big 3 on it would sell a heck of a lot more copies than another expansion. maybe they're not opting for that route yet as they plan on using a different engine. anyone know if alpha protocol is using the nwn2 engine or is it being powered by a new or licensed one?

by the way despite being a shameless publisher at least EA isn't known for being the bearer of death to great pc developers and their games, like sega, activision, midway are. what do all of those developers have in common? well…they got their start in arcade/console games which should be forthtelling of what they really care about. toss atari up on that list too.
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February 14th, 2009, 01:21
Huh ? EA killed i.e. Origin and Westwood… and a lot of other great Developers.

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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February 14th, 2009, 01:35
The problem with simplifying it to "EA killed _____" is that in a lot of cases, what actually happened was that _____ wasn't doing so hot and allowed itself to get bought in order to survive. (I remember vaguely an old Escapist article about one of the Wing Commanders being a good game, but because it shipped on so many disks, it was enormously expensive per disk to produce, so it ended up losing money even though it sold well. The company was hurting when EA came in.)

EA did shut the company down, but it did so after giving the company some backing money to at least attempt to rally and find a way to be profitable.

Please don't take this as an attempt to glorify EA in all its dealings. It isn't, and even the current head of EA has said as much about some of the past dealings. But many of the places that got shut down got shut down not because they weren't making money fast enough, but because they were losing money. Whether it's the changing nature of media formats or technology (Wing Commander would fit on one CD or DVD these days, and would have been much cheaper to produce), if you can't make money, you're gonna get shut down.

Part of joining EA for BioWare has meant having to submit schedules and business plans to show that each project we want to make can actually be done successfully. I know that (for people higher up in the food chain than I am) it's a pain to have to show your work and prove your concept, but it also means that, well, the game I'm working on right now is closer to on-schedule than any other game in BioWare's history.

Again again again, because somebody's going to read it that way, I'm not saying oh love love EA. I'm saying that many of the studios shut down by EA would very likely have shut down even earlier had EA not bought them. Getting bought by EA and subsequently shut down is often a symptom of an underlying technology or market change that puts the company in trouble.

(And no, I'm not talking about BioWare. We were sold to EA by Bono.)
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February 14th, 2009, 01:57
Well all I got to say is if ea ever starts smelling like 10 day old zombie flesh, I hope Bioware is like that Hand in The Evil Dead that has a life of it's own and never stops going for the bal… errr throat!

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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February 14th, 2009, 02:05
Even Peter Molyneux couldn't stand EA back in the days. They were buying out hit companies back then, not failing ones, and forced a milking policy on said games that destroyed a lot of gaming companies.

Now is most likely to be another transitional time for video games, on the business perspective, that is going to change the way we see games published for years ahead. Ofcourse, I'm only guessing this, but at minimum we're going to see that games are very far from recession proof: especially niche games.
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February 14th, 2009, 02:20
Let's not turn this into a BW/EA discussion again. Stormwaltz, a BW employee (ME writer; seem to recall PatrickWeekes also being a writer on ME, so they probably know each other), already explained what happened in another thread (correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it was the Mass Effect - New Patch thread). It was never a choice that BioWare took; it was forced upon them, and the developers simply have to accept that. I'm sure they could've quit in protest, but that would've been redicilous considering the fact that the teams behind titles like Baldur's Gate, KotOR and so on are still intact, and working on new projects.

Anyway, back to Obsidian. I doubt Activision, EA or any similar company would consider buying Obsidian Entertainment at this point - they probably don't have the funding right now. Besides, isn't Obsidian owned by Feargus, Avellone and a few others? If that is the case, they can control whether or not they get sold to anyone (and they probably won't even consider that unless they're sinking).
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February 14th, 2009, 02:29
Obsidian is owned by Feargus, Chris, Chris, Chris and Darren.

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February 14th, 2009, 02:43
some would argue origin turned from their series with ultima viii which was before being aquired by ea. my knowledge of it is little so i don't know if they sold themselves out by making ultima online which then forced ea into saying you guys can only do online now. garriot himself has focused on online games rather than single player so as much love as i have for him i don't throw the blame all at ea. they game me a bunch of bard's tale games as well, and weren't responsible for the remake stinker released a few years ago

also i was never a huge fan of the older command and conquer games (blade runner was enjoyable though), so in this case EA didn't kill the franchise just the developer and i actually dig the new CC3 games. EA's drm is what i find irksome but that's a different story.

midway killed stainless steel studios and its games along with ion storm.

activision well the list is long besides the obvious trokia execution. at least they finally tossed boyarsky a bone with diablo 3.

sega-no bad blood for them but again them not having a pc history…as long as creative assembly keeps going strong and isn't forced to make too many more console games things should be alright. besides empire they're also working on a multi-platform game finally which is a kind of sci-fi rts which has gotten little news despite its supposed release soon.
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/…ise/index.html

atari-…who could forget gothic 2 or a lack thereof. least they did right by the witcher and hope that series stays strong even if they need to branch out to consoles to do it.
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February 14th, 2009, 03:26
Is Feargus Urquhart his real name? If that name hasn't been used as a character name in an RPG yet it should be.

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February 14th, 2009, 04:10
It is and it has been, more than once!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 14th, 2009, 06:45
Originally Posted by curious View Post
ianyone know if alpha protocol is using the nwn2 engine or is it being powered by a new or licensed one?
Unreal 3. And to be honest, for an unreal 3 it looks quite ugly.

what do all of those developers have in common? well…they got their start in arcade/console games which should be forthtelling of what they really care about. toss atari up on that list too.
I don't see any proof in that list. All of them have been great pc publishers in the golden years of PC gaming. Anyway, Atari isn't the same Atari as one might assume. Atari is only the new label for Infogrames plus GT Interactive. Both solid former pc developers. They simply bought the name and use it as their new label. But the old Atari has long been gone when they decided to rename their different publishing subsidiaries into Atari Europe and Atari Inc.

Originally Posted by RPG View Post
Is Feargus Urquhart his real name? If that name hasn't been used as a character name in an RPG yet it should be.
The last time it was used in Storm of Zehir, as Feargus Orc-heart.

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February 14th, 2009, 08:39
Alpha Protocol looks cool.
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February 14th, 2009, 08:44
Originally Posted by curious View Post
midway killed stainless steel studios and its games along with ion storm.
Actually, Eidos owned Ion Storm when they shut it down. I was there.

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February 14th, 2009, 09:29
Originally Posted by Michael Dean
Actually, ………… I was there.
Were you that guy at Deep Sushi who sat in the corner wearing the Ninja suit, drinking Sake Bombs and killing all those innocent tunas with your sticks of death?

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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February 14th, 2009, 10:11
Originally Posted by RPG View Post
Is Feargus Urquhart his real name? If that name hasn't been used as a character name in an RPG yet it should be.
Urquhart Castle

Clan Urquhart

As you can see, this name is for real.

And he seems top have deep roots in scottish history.

And for completeness' sake:

Black Isle

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 14th, 2009, 10:59
Originally Posted by curious View Post
i have no idea of what the sales were for the last expansion pack, haven't played it yet myself as obsidians characters and dialogue skills are the sellers for me, but it seems like a NW3 with a big 3 on it would sell a heck of a lot more copies than another expansion.
It would, but it'd also cost a huge amount more to make - I don't know if Obsidian have done their own 'data engine' (can't think of the right term) for a game yet - Aurora has been amazing, but cranking it to 4th ed might be a step too far.
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February 14th, 2009, 12:08
As I understand, NWN tech was based on Infinity tech and KotOR was based on NWN tech, the same as Dragon Age. All of them use different kind of rulesets. So that can't be the problem.

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February 14th, 2009, 14:18
Originally Posted by RPG View Post
Is Feargus Urquhart his real name? If that name hasn't been used as a character name in an RPG yet it should be.
Heh. His introduction at the old Fallout 2 launch party always makes me chuckle. Buncha geeks.
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