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Interview Feargus Urquhart Interview on IGN Unfiltered

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Codex Year of the Donut 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 Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: Aliens: Crucible; Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound; Black Isle Studios; Deus Ex: Human Revolution; Dwarfs; Fallout 3 (Van Buren); Fallout: New Vegas; Feargus Urquhart; Icewind Dale; Interplay; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; South Park: The Stick of Truth; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords; Stormlands; Tyranny

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart was the guest on the latest episode of IGN Unfiltered, IGN's monthly long-form interview show. At 67 minutes long, it's a comprehensive interview that spans his entire career, and the host makes a concerted effort to try to get him to vent about some of the publisher drama Obsidian has suffered from over the years. While Feargus doesn't quite take the bait, he does as usual have some new secrets to reveal.



Did you know that:
  • Van Buren was preceded by an earlier Interplay Fallout 3 project, which was quickly cancelled and turned into Icewind Dale?
  • Obsidian were originally planning on developing a Dark Alliance-style isometric Star Wars action-RPG before they got Knights of the Old Republic II?
  • The infamous Metacritic bonus clause in Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas contract wasn't even added to it at their request?
  • Obsidian almost got to make the sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution? It returned to Eidos Montreal because of "budgetary issues" and "some other games that didn't sell well" (Thief?) which had left them with no work to do.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth was originally going to include a massive treehouse area and a Paris Hilton boss battle featuring a "vag blast" attack?
Feargus also has a few things to say about Obsidian's three most well-known cancelled projects - Aliens: Crucible, Dwarfs and especially Stormlands, the Microsoft-published Xbox One launch title whose cancellation in 2012 led to massive layoffs at the studio. He's reluctant to full-throatedly castigate the publishers for these cancellations, but does admit that he thinks Sega treated Obsidian short-sightedly near the end of Aliens' development. In the case of Stormlands, Feargus ascribes its downfall primarily to the lack of a "champion" for the game at Microsoft. He also admits that he's a bit upset that Obsidian were never approached to make the South Park sequel, even though they didn't have the manpower to do it anyway.

Considering it aired in the middle of the Pillars of Eternity 2 Fig campaign, it's a bit funny that Feargus only spends a scant few minutes near the end of the interview talking about Pillars of Eternity. He does reveal that he's still thinking about the possibility of somehow crowdfunding a big open world RPG, although he's now calling it "a Fallout" rather than "a Skyrim". Take that as you will.
 

Jarpie

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Still chasing that slamdunk what'll take them to the Big Leagues, I see.
 

DeepOcean

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See that Obsidian still didn't recover from the lost of the AAA status. Really hope that they don't have to make "Barbie: Fun House RPG" next to keep paying the bills because this Skyrim through crowdfunding smells like pipe dream. Dunno how Warhorse is doing but they are taking this long and are yet to release the first third of their game with investors and of course paying potato wages. Dunno how an studio on California would do better.
 
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Lurker King

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So IGN said that Fearugus is a legendary RPG developer and we learned that "South Park: The Stick of Truth was originally going to include a massive treehouse area and a Paris Hilton boss battle featuring a "vag blast" attack". That is the most pointless drivel I ever read in the news page. It doesn't make any difference to know what projects Obsidian cancelled in the past. What I would like to see in the news page is one of the more than ninety updates of underrated Overhyped studios about Battle Brothers, which is like a real cRPG, instead of the pointless kickstarter pipe dreams you love to promote.


blog_header_there.jpg

Dev Blog #97: Getting There
With all major features now in place, we’re making sure that everything works as it should and is properly balanced for you to play. At the same time, we’re squeezing in a few more quality of life improvements that you’ve been asking for, and our artist is adding some more polish to the game – such as an overhauled appearance of your employers. Let’s discover what more is new with the upcoming update!

The Nobility
Your employers now actually look like they have the money to hire a mercenary company, as they’ve received a bunch of new clothes and hats that make them look sufficiently spoiled and arrogant.



War between noble houses is one of the three upcoming late game crises. Because you’ll be fighting a lot more soldiers of those noble houses now, we’ve overhauled their units for more variety and challenge. They’ve become more specialized with dedicated users of polearms and greatswords, and they also got some new hats to have the individual units stand out more. Lootable, of course.



You may also recall that they got a second and new glorious music track playing when you fight them.

Quality of Life Improvements
We managed to squeeze in a few more quality of life improvements this week. One of those is a feature many of you have been waiting for: the ability to speed up time on the worldmap.



Have you ever escorted a caravan, got attacked by overwhelming enemy hordes and decided that this really isn’t worth dying over? You’re now able to leave that caravan behind, quite possibly to die, directly from the worldmap. No need anymore to tediously move every one of your men to the edges of the combat map first.



Finally, the tooltip for any faction in the relations screen will now show you a log of all recent events, positive and negative, that influenced your relation. Makes it much easier to understand why someone’s hating your guts.



And Next Week…
Our very own Jaysen will start a new Let’s Play series and guided tour through everything that’s new and yours to experience later this February!
 
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l3loodAngel

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?
 
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Lurker King

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

Talented entrepreneurs can see opportunity when others see risk; mediocre hacks try to copy what everyone else is doing. So even if they “succeed”, they contribute with nothing meaningful. It takes a specific kind of individual to be willing to take these risks, someone with both courage and vision. I think Tim Cain had these virtues, but they died with him when Troika ended. That’s why you don’t need to worry about the remote possibility that Obsidian is going to make something interesting ever again. If you pay attention, their think about game development as process in which you design a product to a target audience doing a checklist approach. Their own preferences, things such as turn-based combat or historical settings, are completely irrelevant to what they are doing, because they are in for the easy money, it's impersonal. I hope this will blow up in their faces, because they represent everything there is wrong and misleading about these kickstarter games.
 
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l3loodAngel

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Well tbh. historical setting is only great on papper. You know why? Because everyone knows how it ended. I believe that not having balls to do one actually saved them. Titanic or Hindenburg the rpg anyone?

The only true historical rpg I have heard recently was conquistador and boy that shit tanked and one of the reasons was it was historical, the other of course being setting no one cares about...
 
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Lurker King

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Well, but the story doesn’t need to follow the big events of history. You can use it as base to make your game world (Darklands), or as opportunity to fill the gaps of poorly know events of history itself with your own ideas, or just as background, etc. Anything is better than generic fantasy setting. Hell, AoD is pseudo-historic but I was so happy that it was not the same old shit. Of course, you also need to deliver great writing and intelligent quests to make it worthwhile. A cool setting with unimaginative writing is even worse than generic shit with poor writing – see Shadowrun.
 

l3loodAngel

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Hell, AoD is pseudo-historic but I was so happy that it was not the same old shit. Of course, you also need to deliver great writing and intelligent quests to make it worthwhile. A cool setting with unimaginative writing is even worse than generic shit with poor writing – see Shadowrun.

Well AOD had history inspired setting, but it's very different from for example pure WW2 setting in a sense that it doesn't follow historical events, people and etc. Thus, AOD suffers none of the problems I mentioned previously.

Now shadowrun had many problems. I believe the biggest problem was simplistic game play and small scope. I doubt that such situation even allows a good writting as there is just so much you can do to describe (n+1) fetch quest. However, even despite aforementioned problems it ended up the best big KS game for me as a full package.
 

l3loodAngel

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

Talented entrepreneurs can see opportunity when others see risk... snip

There is literally very little risk here that I will ilustrate with a simplistic example. Let's assume that to finish a project you need USD 80 mm. So you have 4 projects that are cancelled at USD 60 mm. So the company that takes them and finishes them uses USD 80 mm of it's funds, but it gets four games. The probability of payoff, breaking even or Yuuge profit is 4 times greater. And this is why we can't have nice things. There's no magic just simple math.

Dang I would really like to play some poker this those asshats. Man it would be the easiest money I ever made.
 
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Jarpie

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

It also could be, partially, the legal issues, I imagine that the publisher who cancelled the game still also owns the unfinished code and other elements. It would probably take time and money to figure out what they can keep and have to throw away.

Probably part of the thinking is that "cancelled project has the aura of failure" so other publishers doesn't want to touch others failures or leftovers. Although, if other publisher would manage to make cancelled project into success, it would be big fuck you to the other studio(s).
 
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l3loodAngel

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

It also could be, partially, the legal issues, I imagine that the publisher who cancelled the game still also owns the unfinished code and other elements. It would probably take time and money to figure out what they can keep and have to throw away.

Probably part of the thinking is that "cancelled project has the aura of failure" so other publishers doesn't want to touch others failures or leftovers. Although, if other publisher would manage to male cancelled project into success, it would be big fuck you to the other studio(s).
May be not the case as it depends on contract wording. I think this is how Blizzard's warcraft franchise was born. And Feargus said that they were pitching the project so I doubt they would have pitched it to start over. If changes don't need to be huge it's still better than doing everything from the start.

Edit. Sorry I don't understand shit like "aura of failure" and other mysticisms (the only way to wash aura of failure is to do a rain dance, while being covered with frog innards during the full moon!). It's either a project worth of investing or not. If it's Star Citizen no amount of money can save it, but otherwise...
 
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Jarpie

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

It also could be, partially, the legal issues, I imagine that the publisher who cancelled the game still also owns the unfinished code and other elements. It would probably take time and money to figure out what they can keep and have to throw away.

Probably part of the thinking is that "cancelled project has the aura of failure" so other publishers doesn't want to touch others failures or leftovers. Although, if other publisher would manage to male cancelled project into success, it would be big fuck you to the other studio(s).
May be not the case as it depends on contract wording. I think this is how Blizzard's warcraft franchise was born. And Feargus said that they were pitching the project so I doubt they would have pitched it to start over. If changes don't need to be huge it's still better than doing everything from the start.

Yeah, didn't Troika and/or Tim Cain keep the rights to ToEE source code but Atari/WOTC kept the rights to the game, and even though Cain has the right to the source code they can't release it due legal reasons.
 

l3loodAngel

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?

It also could be, partially, the legal issues, I imagine that the publisher who cancelled the game still also owns the unfinished code and other elements. It would probably take time and money to figure out what they can keep and have to throw away.

Probably part of the thinking is that "cancelled project has the aura of failure" so other publishers doesn't want to touch others failures or leftovers. Although, if other publisher would manage to male cancelled project into success, it would be big fuck you to the other studio(s).
May be not the case as it depends on contract wording. I think this is how Blizzard's warcraft franchise was born. And Feargus said that they were pitching the project so I doubt they would have pitched it to start over. If changes don't need to be huge it's still better than doing everything from the start.

Yeah, didn't Troika and/or Tim Cain keep the rights to ToEE source code but Atari/WOTC kept the rights to the game, and even though Cain has the right to the source code they can't release it due legal reasons.
Yeah exactly, you tweak the source code as it should be cheaper. It won't be ToEE, but nobody says it can't be fucking BOE, LOE or whatever...
 
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Thonius

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FFS. Now I understand the games industry more and why da fuck it gives us so mutch shit. It's littered with fucking retards. When Feargus says that people don't wan't to touch a game that someone has canceled, "just because" they are the fucking prime example of it. I would do the exact opposite, cause that's where the money is. Somebody has already half/quarter/almost funded a fucking project. Just tweak the shit and make fucking money. How hard is it to think rationally?
This and the fact that they are in cucklifornia. Hurr durr we are like google and shit.
 
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My main complain isn't about Feargus.
It's about the quality of gaming journalism.

The quality of most of the "AAA" movies/games/gaming sites are shit.

The more money you got the less quality you produce?!
What the fuck is wrong with this world?!
 
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Lurker King

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My main complain isn't about Feargus.
It's about the quality of gaming journalism.

The quality of most of the "AAA" movies/games/gaming sites are shit.

The more money you got the less quality you produce?!
What the fuck is wrong with this world?!

The whole system is bad. The game journalists are bad, because their work has little value and they must support Triple-A games for revenue. The triple-A (or double-A?) games are bad, because they are designed for the lowest common denominator. The players are bad, because they are the lowest common denominator. How do you solve this if you have any dignity and passion left? You leave the system. Decent game journalists must recognize that they can’t make ends meet with this sub-job and work on this on their spare time. Developers must adopt small teams, focus on their target audience and don’t waste their money on nonsense. Intelligent players should support decent developers and stop throwing money at studios that don’t give a shit about them.
 

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