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Game News Former Obsidian Developers Tell About Cancelled Projects

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Dec 22, 2012.

  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: Baldur's Gate III (Obsidian Entertainment); Dwarfs; George Ziets; Kevin Saunders; Obsidian Entertainment; Tony Evans

    After the public reveal of several of Obsidian Entertainment's cancelled games last week, it was only a matter of time before some Obsidian developers spoke up to tell the world more about these lost creations.

    Kevin Saunders, who is probably the project director of inXile's not-quite-revealed-yet Torment spiritual successor and formerly worked at Obsidian, wrote today about the cancelled "Seven Dwarves" project on his Formspring. When asked if he had any regrets, he replied:

    No, in the sense that I think its cancellation was completely out of our control. But I do regret that Dwarfs (that’s what we called it internally) was never made – I was the lead designer and it involved some of my best creative work. I wrote the backstory for the Snow White/Dwarfs world and the overall story outline for the prequel – how cool of an opportunity is that? =) I felt very lucky.​

    This wasn’t a happy-go-lucky Disney game. Disney's Buena Vista Games wanted dark and I gave them dark. In the opening sequence, for example, you, as a teenage prince, awake in your bed to haunting sounds. Exploring the dark castle, you come across a terrifying shadowy creature that you kill in a desperate struggle – its cries shifting from a supernatural shriek to that of a human woman's bloodcurdling cry of death. The illusion is then dispelled, and your mother, the Queen, lays dead before you, the bloody knife that killed her in your hand. This wasn’t a cinematic – it was all a gameplay sequence that you’d actually play out.​

    For the creative lead, I hired Brian Mitsoda, of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines fame. (He’s now working on his creation Dead State, which looks very promising!) He took the skeletal story I had written and was developing it into a true masterpiece. That’s also when Obsidian hired Josh Sawyer and he was the systems/combat lead for the project – he’s an awesome designer and project lead and you can only imagine what he comes up with when focused on a specific component. His combat system combined action gameplay with RPG depth in some very innovative ways.​

    And Brian Menze’s concepts for the dwarfs – just amazing! So much personality and character, reminiscent of Disney’s classic characters, but weathered by the grim realities of a dark fantasy world. Working on the story and character descriptions in an office with Brian, watching his creations unfold – this was one of the most creative and inspiring times in my career as a designer. So I have a lot of good memories about the project. And our producers at Buena Vista Games were great to work with. They gave us good guidelines, a lot of creative freedom, and loved the direction we were heading.​

    The game had a lot of potential and it was sad to have it stopped when the team had been gaining so much momentum. But it was a great experience.​

    And earlier this week, also on Formspring, George Ziets wrote a bit about his experiences with the cancelled Baldur's Gate 3, and hinted at more:

    In 2009, I came back to Obsidian for Baldur’s Gate 3, but it was canceled almost as soon as I got there – probably the saddest moment in my career because I had always wanted to work on that series. The team barely started preproduction, so who knows what the game would have been. It was a solid bunch of people, too –Tony Evans, Jeff Husges, Bobby Null, Justin Cherry, Anthony Davis, Rich Taylor, and more.​

    My “real” canceled project – the one I actually spent a few months on - was North Carolina. Its secrets are bound by an NDA, so I can’t say any more than what’s in the Kotaku article.​

    What they didn’t cover in that article were all the amazing Obsidian proposals that have made the rounds but were never picked up by a publisher. I’m hoping that changes now, but we’ll see…​

    On his Formspring, Tony Evans wrote about Baldur's Gate 3's development team:

    Oh, it was quite the dream team... Many of us who worked on NWN2 and the expansions went on to Baldur's Gate 3, and there were some talented folks from other Obsidian projects that were borrowed, stolen or taken at sword-point.​

    Some members of the BG3 team included me (lead designer), Kevin Saunders (lead producer/martyr), Rich Taylor (lead programmer and friend to the animals), Paul Boyle (the one system designer to rule them all), Bobby Null (leading expert on D&D, whose middle name is Merlin), Matt Festa (tech designer and dark cleric of SketchUp), and Anthony Davis (of Legend). Forgive me for the names I left out. Fingers... cramping...​

    When BG3 was cancelled, many of us moved on to Dungeon Siege 3. Others said "f**k it all" and moved to China or left the game industry entirely. Some are biding their time, waiting for the batphone to ring so they can re-assemble, put their elf ears back on, and make the best damn D&D game known to man. Actually, I'm joking... Or am I?​

    Interesting stuff. Hopefully we'll find out more in the future. Unfortunately, not all Obsidian folks are so cooperative. :/
     
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  2. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    Fuck you all haters. I would buy that Snow White game on day 1.
     
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  3. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    So what happens if I choose not to attack the creature? :rpgcodex:
     
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  4. 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
    Ask him.
     
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  5. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Personally, what I'd write it as a normal fight, so if you don't fight back the shadow creature "kills you", and since it's all in the Pretty Princess' mind, that leaves you in a catatonic state. Cutscene of princess lying on floor braindead, end of game.

    Doesn't leave you with a lot of choices but that's obviously not the point of that sequence.
     
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  6. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    I already know the answer, I'm poking fun at the railroad-y nature of that "playable" intro.
     
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  7. mediocrepoet Arcane Patron

    mediocrepoet
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    Codex 2012 MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Well, Sawyer is the only one who still works there. The others might just have to worry about any NDAs they've signed, while Sawyer needs to also be concerned about saying anything that management might not be thrilled with.
     
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  8. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    Well, it does start to sound... intriguing.
     
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  9. IronicNeurotic Arbiter

    IronicNeurotic
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    SWEET. The Kevin Question was mine.

    :martini:

    The Codex delievers.
     
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  10. 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
    Hey, the question to George and Josh was mine. :P
     
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  11. LeStryfe79 Deal Breaker Patron

    LeStryfe79
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    I wonder if this how Volourn went crazy?
     
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  12. IronicNeurotic Arbiter

    IronicNeurotic
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    Ah, yeah. Misremembered the George Question. Sry. I wrote him also one IIRC.
     
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  13. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    We all have to hope Bioware doesn't jump on the idea, take the game, and add some gay romances with dwarves.
     
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  14. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Hey, this would make a perfect dating sim for girls.

    Which of the seven dwarves will you pick?

    Doc, the intelligent, but nerdy leader of the dwarves
    Grumpy, the dark and brooding dwarf with a heart of gold
    Happy, the outgoing party dwarf
    Sleepy, the mysterious slacker
    Bashful, the shy dwarf with a kinky secret
    Sneezy, the tragic terminally ill dwarf
    Dopey, the boyish younger dwarf whose mental barriers only the Princess can break

    Finish all seven storylines to unlock the harem ending!
     
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  15. Andyman Messiah Mr. Ed-ucated

    Andyman Messiah
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    Definitely Grumpy.

    Shit, that game sounds like it could've been the real Epic Mickey.
     
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  16. Anthony Davis Blizzard Entertainment Developer

    Anthony Davis
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    I think he missed a key detail, they were the ancestors of the seven dwarves. The whole story took place a long time before Snow White.

    For example, the inspiration for Dopey was actually a mute barbarian 'wild' dwarf, and his name wasn't Dopey.
     
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  17. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    So, why does anyone care about canceled products?
     
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  18. Andyman Messiah Mr. Ed-ucated

    Andyman Messiah
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    Yeah, you wouldn't normally think the Codex would care about all the what-could-have-been's.
     
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  19. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    It's not even that, it's just that a majority of the cancelled projects seem uninteresting.
    To me anyway. Maybe some guys like roleplaying a midg that can peek up the skirt of a pretty princess.
     
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  20. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    Nearly all of Obsidian's canceled projects sound more exciting to me than another romp through generic western europelandia or modern/future shooterland.
     
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  21. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Yeah, but there's a good chance I wouldn't have spent my money on them.
     
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  22. suejak Arbiter Patron Village Idiot

    suejak
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    More importantly, if you want a dumbass on-rails platformer, you have a lot of other options.
     
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  23. RK47 collides like two planets pulled by gravity Patron

    RK47
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    Dead State Divinity: Original Sin
    Damn right, look at the leaked screens.
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Harold Arcane

    Harold
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    So I know the Codex isn't very fond of Tony 'one-room-dungeon' Evans, but how did y'all miss this

    http://www.formspring.me/iTonyEvans/q/405151712479824656

    Infinitron I am disappoint
     
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  25. 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
    Actually, he's working on Wasteland 2 now, so he's in our good graces again. I think.

    I actually read this, but I must have forgotten about it. Very well, I'd edit OP.
     
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