Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPS
Rock Paper Shotgun talked to Feargus Urquhart and Fred Wester the respective CEOs of Obisdian and Paradox on the publishing deal for Pillars of Eternity, potential other opportunities for Paradox and the bugs in South Park: The Stick of Truth.
RPS: But it’s an interesting situation to be in. The notion of publishing a Kickstartered project is new. One of the things that you don’t necessarily know is, you had all this interest in the Kickstarter, but is that the full amount of interest for the game? Did everyone who might have thought about buying the game contribute their bit?
Wester: No, not really. For everyone who will pay up front for the game, there are 10 who will buy the finished game. That’s always the math. I wouldn’t call this a traditional publisher-developer relationship either, because that’s very important to emphasize. This is more of a partnership between two strong and independent companies. When we truly publish a game, we go in and fund it from day one and we have a lot of things that… This is a project from Obsidian, by Obsidian, with help from Paradox to bring it to market and reach the maximum audience. It’s different.
Urquhart: I hate the use the way to associate… It’s almost a mindkill for me to say this, but I don’t want to associate the idea of Kickstarter with preorders… It’s not the same thing. However, it is kind of the same. There’s a certain similarity in some ways. There are only so many people who go out and preorder a game versus the people who end up paying for the game, ultimately end up buying the game. It’s just different. So these are the people that… I would love to say that I could say ice to the Eskimos, but I can’t. People need to see proof of something and its success before they buy it. And maybe it’s just our gut. We’ve been doing this a while. Our gut and our hope is that this will work. We could have a conversation in however long and say, whoops, we were wrong! And we’d still be drinking beer and crying.
Wester: On the other hand, it wouldn’t be the first time we were wrong either, so it’s not a big deal that way. I would be kind of devastated if this project tanked, though. When you look at it, it fulfills all the boxes for me as an old-school RPG player. If the game is crap, of course it’s going to fail. But if the game is good and we still don’t reach that audience we want to reach? I would be disappointed. I think this game deserves to be played by a lot of people.
RPS: There’s the slight elephant in the room, which is that on consoles especially, South Park had some complaints about bugs and glitches and whatnot. What ended up happening there? You’ve been pretty adamant recently about having QA locked down. How did a rather worrisome number of bugs slip through so easily?
Urquhart: There were some bugs and some glitches. I don’t mean to sweep it under the rug. All in all, it was a pretty solid game, though. Everyone who bought the game could finish it.
RPS: That’s kind of a low bar, though…
Urquhart: I’m not saying that’s the whole bar. But the first thing to say is, when we talk about this whole thing about how, oh, it’s buggy… 13 hours after it was on Steam, I had people emailing and saying, your game is awesome! So obviously it worked and it worked well. On the console side of things, I can also tell you… It’s hard for me. I can’t give you any exact things, because it’s all one person saying it’s buggy and another person saying it’s not.
All I know, which I even told Fred earlier, is that we passed PS3 with zero points. When we submitted to Sony in America, we got zero points. Which is, you can have 20 points on their scale and get approved. We passed with zero. So on a scale of how buggy [it was or wasn't], to me it was a pretty solid game.
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