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Feargus Urquhart's Talk at Digital Dragons 2016

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Feargus Urquhart's Talk at Digital Dragons 2016

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 June 2016, 23:44:43

Tags: Feargus Urquhart; Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity: The White March; South Park: The Stick of Truth

The Digital Dragons organizers have finally gotten around to uploading a video of the talk Feargus Urquhart gave there last month. It's a pretty typical Feargus talk, full of management tips and lessons learned. The talk itself is about 35 minutes long, with an additional 13 minutes of Q&A. As usual, there are various interesting tidbits strewn throughout, which I'll list after the video:

  • Feargus reveals that Atari were unable to fund the entire development of Neverwinter Nights 2, forcing Obsidian to invest an additional one million dollars of their own into the game. This nearly bankrupted the company.
  • Feargus regrets using the UI-centric Scaleform graphics middleware to develop South Park: The Stick of Truth and wishes they'd switched to something else early on. It caused lots of complications, as opposed to Fallout: New Vegas which benefited from excellent development tools.
  • Accordingly, for Pillars of Eternity 2, Obsidian are focusing heavily on developing efficient tools before going into full production.
  • Feargus also regrets splitting the Pillars of Eternity: The White March expansion pack into two halves. He says the full expansion took about three months longer to finish than originally planned, an additional 500,000 dollars in development costs. The delay was both due to complications caused by the split and due to a failure to account for the manpower required to support the base game.
  • Feargus says that the White March expansion wasn't priced competitively - people would rather buy an AAA game on sale for $10 than an expansion pack for $15 or $25. Future Eternity games will use a Fallout: New Vegas-like DLC model, with more, smaller and cheaper releases.
  • Feargus reveals that he's been on the brink of resigning from Obsidian 2-4 times in the past, but he's always stepped back at the last minute due to a rekindled passion for gaming.
  • In the Q&A session, Feargus reveals that there's a game currently in development at Obsidian that was "immensely hurt" by the lack of design documentation reviews. That sounds kind of dramatic - I wonder which game he's talking about?

I understand why the Gamepressure guys asked that last question in their interview now. We know a lot less about what Chris Avellone said in his talk - hopefully that'll be uploaded soon.

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