Project Eternity Developer Interview: The Fans Are In Charge

Project Eternity is the next big Kickstarter hit from Obsidian, makers of Fallout New Vegas, Alpha Protocol and a slew of old school RPG’s that revolutionized the genre. This particular project is a re-imagined throw back to the classic games of the past (like the Fallout franchise, developed by many faces now at Obsidian). For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter it’s a crowd funding service that allows producers, artists and visionaries to tout their projects directly to the consumer- eliminated any collusion by middle men.  Video Game Sophistry spoke to Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian right after the funding process ended, we talk about the game, his dedication to the fans and of course, how you can get your hands on the game!

We spoke a few months ago with Feargus Urquhart, head honcho at Obsidian Entertainment on their upcoming Kickstarter product, Project Eternity. At that time PE funding was just getting started, now it’s all over- we’ve come full circle to talk to Feargus once again. Thank you for taking the time.

F: Always happy to chat.

Gotta be the first question the funding stage is now over.  How do you feel and more importantly, how did you?

F: Well if you asked me a couple days ago I’d say really tired. We are just so excited with the amount we are able to fund. Which ended up being as of that day- adding up the Kickstarter total and Paypal total it was about 4 million one hundred and twenty one thousand dollars.

And your initial estimates were?

F: Well our initials numbers were 1.1 million, that’s how much we needed to make a great game. So it was pretty amazing that we were able to earn 4.1 million.

For those who did miss out on the first cycle, are they out of luck or can they still contribute and get the game?

F: Actually for a limited time we still have the Paypal open, we don’t want to keep it open forever because, you know, we want to have it be special for those who backed us during the Kickstarter time. But for a while gamers can contribute here:

How has this process compared to other development cycle, as it is a new and almost revolutionary way to make games, how did it differ from the norm?

F: Now that we’ve gone through the funding, what’s different is that we are publishing it. So that is going to be something a little new. On the development side a lot of us have been doing this for 20 years, but the one big change is ensuring fan involvement. Really invite people into the process, we are working on how we are going to do that right now, we have websites, web-blogs and constant updates for the fans. On the publishing side, we have a lot of contact in the publishing world so we are up for the challenge.

 You mentioned the website and other avenues for fan involvement. What else are doing to make sure that the fans who did contribute have a voice?

F: We worked very hard over the years, to pretty much be constantly involved in our community. I visit the forums nearly every day, on the Kickstarter side there is a comment section, we will be up there at least everyday. This isn’t going to stop it’s an going process.

Because this is such a revolutionary way of producing games, have there been any ideas from the nearly 75 thousand contributors that you’ve heard, or read that maybe you never considered for the vision of Project Eternity

F: That’s a good question, whats interesting about RPG’s, the games are huge and broad and come from a rich pen and paper foundation, so I don’t want to say there’s no new ideas. But a lot of what we do is adapted on already proven methods. An example would be, someone was saying in the comments section the other day, and I know this may sound dorky- but he said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if after I come back from a quest, instead of just selling off my stuff to a vendor I could invest my money into a store, earning money that way” It’s nothing something we ever considered and we are actually talking about and looking at if we can add that to the game.

 Finally, Obsidian has these really robust features like  perma-death and low intelligence characters are you considering bringing back that way to play?

Games have changed a little bit since then, it’s one of those thing where we have to think about what’s right for Project Eternity. Is it about the player playing someone who goes, “Ugh Urgh Ooh” ? While it was entertaining in Fallout, it still a conversation tier that made sense. In the end when it comes to the companions and perma death; RPG’s are all about options and choices, and even in choice in how you want to play this version of the game and that’s something Josh REALLY feels strongly about. Having features like that, that can be turned on.

Sometimes people think adding options to a game is just designers and game developers not making a choice (laughs) “we’ll just give a players a choice, makes it easy” that sorta thing! In the case, for an RPG I think that’s appropriate. When you go back to the DND games, we made choice in Icewind Dale to have max hitpoints on by default- a lot of times…because wizards would get killed in the first 7 minutes of the game. But for those who want a true DND feeling they could turn it off….and die….often.

So that’s how we look at it, with perma death you can have that experience. We also know the side effects of that though, usually when players turn on perma death all it does is force them to reload when someone dies. For the people who want to have that Ironman experience, we have you covered.