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Interview Feargus Urquhart talks shop at GamesIndustry

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Feargus Urquhart; Obsidian Entertainment

    Two months ago, Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart was a speaker at the Digital Dragons convention in Krakow, where he was interviewed by the representatives of various websites, including our own, and revealed that Pillars of Eternity 2 was in development. For some reason, it took GamesIndustry until today to post their interview with him. It's a more professionally-oriented piece, discussing Obsidian's past relationships with publishers and the challenges the company faces today. There are no real revelations here, but it does offer a more detailed look at some familiar Feargus themes. Here's an excerpt:

    Q: For me, you were doing really interesting work in that period, on Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol in particular. Nevertheless, and I'm sure you're aware of this, Obsidian ended up with a reputation for bugs and technical issues. Is that a necessary consequence of towing the line, and working to imposed budgets and time-scales? These aren't simple games you're making.

    FU: So, with Alpha Protocol, the challenge was that we weren't even totally sure what we wanted to make until, like, way into the game - and that's bad. You can do that with your own money; when you're doing that with someone else's money they're just getting mad, they're getting mad at you more and more and more. The story's bigger than that, but I think I'd go back to what I was just saying: you've gotta cut it early. For that reason, as a developer, you have to take it on yourself to prove your ideas quickly. You need to show yourself that you can make the game, that you understand the game.

    It's too easy to not be critical. To not say, 'Okay, that all sounds wonderful, but what's the plan? Like, really, what is the plan?' That's where we've made big mistakes in the past: not holding to our plans. That doesn't sound like sexy development, right? But if we haven't proven it, let's know that now. Let's look at it and go, 'Oh, it's like an ugly little child. That's not good. So what do we do with it?' And it's too easy at that point to add just a little bit more here, and it'll be good, and everything will be fine. No. 'Should we cut it?'

    I think publishers should kill way more games way earlier, but if we do that ourselves it makes us more reasonable about what we can actually accomplish early on. We weren't doing that, and that put pressure on our publishers.

    Q: Isn't that the publisher's call anyway? You say more games should be killed earlier, but surely Obsidian wouldn't decide that.

    FU: No, it wouldn't be my call, but we always should look at the fact of, 'Wouldwe kill this game?' It's nice if the publisher keeps on paying us for another year, but if we would kill it then it really should be killed. So back up from that: what are we doing today to make sure we can do what we want and have the game not be killed? We're now doing that on day 2, and not day 430.

    That's what we did too much of before. We just kept on going, sweeping this and that problem under the rug - sweep, sweep, sweep, it's all fine. And you get to a point and it's screwed.

    Q: Obsidian has been around for thirteen years now, and it would have been impossible to predict the ways the industry has changed in the time since you started. How has the reality matched up to your expectations back in 2003?

    FU: I thought we would have our own engine at this point - and we tried. I thought we would have been purchased by now. I thought we wouldn't be as big as we are.

    Q: The last two seem almost at odds with each other.

    FU: Yeah, exactly. And the big thing I've learned from all that is, it's so hard to plan this stuff. If you told me four or five years ago that we'd be working on a free-to-play tank game, and our own crowdfunded IP, and that we'd shipped a South Park game - there was nothing in our business plan five years ago that said any of that. There isn't a single thing we're doing today that was in that business plan.

    Q: So what do you want from the next 13 years? Do you still want to be independent?

    FU: I am fine being independent in 13 years. I would be okay if we got purchased, but I would be fine independent. Ultimately, we need to be good at what we do. It goes back to what we were saying about things that are beyond our control. Well, there are things that are in our control, so let's not screw those things up.

    We can keep doing great stuff with Eternity. I'd love to turn Eternity into more like a Skyrim product. I'd love to do a science fiction game. I just want to keep making role-playing games - I do, and the team does. Whether that's independent or not, making RPGs we can be proud of is the goal. And that's what I can look back on. We've been very proud of a lot of what we've done as a team.

    Whether the Metacritic was 75 or 95, we've been very proud of what we've done.
    Episodic Skyrim - the dream lives on. According to Feargus, one problem that Obsidian faces right now is that some of the Armored Warfare developers want to switch to RPG development after three or more years of working on the same game, but they've got nothing to switch to. Perhaps that will change as Pillars of Eternity 2 and whatever Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are doing progress.
     
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  2. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

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  3. Space Insect Arcane

    Space Insect
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    I wonder if this new process of realism had an effect on how they have changed from the more "dreamer" company that takes risks with their games to a more "will this sell" mentality.

    And Eternity as Skyrim???
    What???
     
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  4. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    I wouldn't admit something like that publicly, especially as a CEO of a company. I wouldn't want to work with someone like that either if I were in a place of a big publisher but whatever. Obsidian may die for all I care unless Boyarsky and Cain will show us something good (which seems unlikely at this point). Larian and inXile are much more promising companies at the moment.
     
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  5. ArchAngel Arcane

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    AS long as it is still isometric and has tactical combat, I don't mind :D
     
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  6. ThoseDeafMutes Learned

    ThoseDeafMutes
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    They should get a contract with Nintendo to develop Pillars of Go. You capture the souls of backers and get a unique poorly written backstory for each one. Then between that an Armored Warfare they might have enough money to make that big budget RPG they've clearly been trying in vain to make for the last decade.
     
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  7. Mer1 Novice

    Mer1
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    Who would want to purchase Obsidian? Most publishers have their own studios and Obsidian's reputation is a plague.
     
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  8. Flou Learned

    Flou
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    Publisher that wants to put out cRPG's onto the market regularly from a inhouse developer team? Too bad there aren't that many publishers into the whole cRPG genre. EA already has BioWare and Zenimax has Bethesda and the rest of them don't really care enough about the genre.
     
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  9. jungl Learned

    jungl
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    To make a rpg game sell like skyrim is pretty easy tbh. #1 thing you have to have down is the game requires no brain work so its a casual game. If your players have to think too much your game has already failed. So no fetch or kill quests instead have "go here" quests. Make sure the combat is mindlessly simplistic click fest BUT looks fun and deep. Make sure the game world is easy to traverse and requires no thinking so think FATE vs Titan quest. Fate you just go down and down dungeons while titan quest you occasionally have to open your map and THINK a little to get your bearings which is a big big no no for casuals.

    So basically the trick is to make everything casual but make it appear is has depth and "looks good" like skyrims open world is extremely theme park but the mountains and difficult looking terrain makes casuals think they in for a grand adventure. Your game has to apply this design vision for combat, crafting, open world for everything to work right and sell like hot cakes.
     
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  10. Paul_cz Arcane

    Paul_cz
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    Jesus fucking Christ why doesn't Notch or someone with Notch-like money just get agreement with Paradox to make proper AAA sequel to Bloodlines, give Obsidian 50 million or something to make it and be done with it.
     
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  11. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Fixed.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

    Self-Ejected
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    That is a great quote! :D What seemed impossible a few years earlier is now a reality. We don’t need Roguey’s trolling to despise Obsidian anymore. Beware, Bethesda! Obsidian is coming!
     
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  13. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Because people with Notch-like money have made it by pandering to the masses, not the classes. Those with more refined tastes live hand to mouth. Feargus always makes me nervous whenever he opens his mouth as I always feel he'd go full-AAA given half the opportunity. First person multiplayer Arcanum.
     
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  14. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    I do not mind actually.
    Not that PoE hooked me.
     
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  15. aratuk Arbiter

    aratuk
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    Jeff Vogel for CEO!
     
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  16. Paul_cz Arcane

    Paul_cz
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    Notch funded Age of Wonders 3, which is pretty fucking far from mass market game. It seems to have sold half a million copies so it probably broke even at worst.
    I would love Obsidian to go full-AAA if that meant games like New Vegas 2 or Bloodlines 2 or new IP in that style.
     
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  17. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Boy, if Obsidian pulls off another Armored Warfare stunt with the Boyarsky game, man, it will shoot high up on the most hated codexian company list, even higher than Bethesda and Bioware. Now that is a fall from grace from MotB and New Vegas days, maybe Obsidian should try to build its loyal niche like Paradox did instead of guessing on the dark what supposedly sells or not or day dreaming about being AAA while it cant. You know, I liked Obsidian games but those new shenanigans of theirs make me going further and further away from Obsidian, right now they aren't going to get my 40 bucks for Tyranny as I foolishly did for Pillars, hope this Skyrim audience is really ready to give them money for their dumb down, low budget isometric games.
     
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