Obsidian Kickstarter reaches $1.1 million target in 24 hours

Project Eternity adds "stretch goals," Avellone admits he prefers working for the player to working for a publisher

Obisidian Entertainment's Project Eternity Kickstarter project has passed its $1.1 million target in a single day.

Obsidian pitched the game as an RPG fan's ideal game, bringing together the talent behind classic titles like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale to create an original IP that the commercial industry wouldn't support.

The idea has proved popular, with just over $1.4 million pledged to date. Obsidian has now issued a list of "stretch goals" should the game receive support up to $2.2 million: new storylines, regions, races and classes, customisable in-game houses, and Mac and Linux versions of the game.

"It's not like we've had any lack of ideas, only a lack of opportunity or anyone who wanted to finance it," Obsidian co-founder Chris Avellone said in an interview with Kotaku.

"I'd much rather have the players be my boss and hear their thoughts for what would be fun than people who might be more distant from the process and the genre and frankly, any long-term attachment to the title."

Project Eternity will be limited to PC, Mac and Linux, with Avellone admitting his fatigue with, "designing content and interactions that caters to consoles and console controllers." In an interview with Game Banshee, Obsidian co-founder Feargus Urquhart suggested that the game will not compromise in terms of its story, either.

"In Project Eternity, we want to tell a story that treats players like adults," he said. "Does that mean sensationalistic topics? Potentially. It means more that if a story is going in a direction our designers don't need to shy away from how it concludes."

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Latest comments (20)

gi biz ;, 9 years ago
My question is: why would they need twice the original budget to get the linux version done? Are they planning to start it from anew or are they just trying to milk the market? A lot of games work on the three PC platforms (and even more sometimes), yet they have way less money than 2 millions. Sorry devs but I won't back this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by gi biz on 17th September 2012 11:00am

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters9 years ago
Extra testers, extra equipment (they may already have the equipment they need for Windows only so this doesn't count in the original target but does in subsequent platforms), possibly hire extra people with specific knowledge of these platforms. Besides, how is making more money than it cost you to make the game "milking the market"? Most businesses would call that "profit". Why's it any less acceptable for a Kickstarter funded project to make a profit than any other game?
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Brian Smith Artist 9 years ago
@ Dave - I know you are totally right in a sense about why it should not be less acceptable for a project to make a profit on a Kickstarter campaign. However I can't help but feel it's kind of not right but that's just personal opinion. I'd like to see some sort of profit sharing going on between the funding community and successfully sold Kickstarter projects. The CARS project seems to be managing to run such a scheme by themselves so it isn't beyond possibility. The fact that a community funded campaign can go on to make profit just for themselves seems like a bit of a disconnect to me.
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gi biz ;, 9 years ago
It seems to me they are just trying to exploit the fact that Linux users are willing to pay more (as demonstrated by the HB). I think it's not nice that they try to get the same money they got from Windows players knowing that Linux user base is 30% of that.
The rest is simple maths:
win version = profit + dev + win_dev + win_testing + assets = 1.1mil
linux version = (win version - win_testing - win_dev) + linux_testing + linux_dev = 2 * win version ??
This is not even entirely true, as most gameplay bugs they would find on Linux should have already been pointed out by the Windows testers.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters9 years ago
At the end of the day, Kickstarter is just a really early pre-order system. Their targets shouldn't really be relevant, they're really just saying whether or not the project is feasible to go ahead. Just think "I pay <X> and get the game at the end". If that sounds worth your money, I don't see what relevance it has how much funding they've had from everywhere else.
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gi biz ;, 9 years ago
It does have relevance when the money they ask is unlikely to be reached and you know they could do that for less. I'm not sure how stretch goals are handled by kickstarter, but what if I give money and they don't make it to 2.2 mils? Do I get my money back? The Windows or Mac versions are worthless to me, so in fact I would get nothing. As you see, it's not "I pay X and get a game", it's more like betting. That is, unless stretch goals are properly handled, in which case I'm wrong.
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
This is not especially related to the Eternity project but does Kickstarter, or any entity, will regulate how the money is spend by Obsidian? I mean kickstarter is a good way to raise 1.1 million dollars in 24h without giving a bit of planning regarding what is going to be done. There sure could put 100k in their pockets and no one would be aware of it.

PS: By the way, when someone is backing you for 10,000 dollars, you could at least offer him the train/plane ticket to meet you at your "party"
you must be able to pay for travel and accomodations...
What a joke...
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters9 years ago
Well, you can pledge, and if it doesn't look like the linux version target will be reached, you can withdraw your pledge before the target date.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
I don't think your simple maths is so simple:

The rest is simple maths:
win version = profit + dev + win_dev + win_testing + assets = 1.1mil
linux version = (win version - win_testing - win_dev) + linux_testing + linux_dev = 2 * win version ??

IMO it's more like:
Win version = largest customer market therefore most effort goes into this.
Mac version = smaller market but larger than linux - more effort for little reward
Linux version = miniscule market and more effort for virtually no reward

Yes, the assets and most development will overlap but they're not part of the business decisions to not support a small part of the consumer base. Why not complain when they don't offer to port a version to a BSD server for an extra $100,000?
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Martin Harris Senior Programmer, Rebellion Developments9 years ago
@Michele. They'll probably reach the $2.2m stretch goal, so your complaints about the linux version are moot. As someone else has already pointed out you can pledge now and if the goal isn't reached withdraw your pledge before the closing date. Also it is their project so they are entitled to put the stretch goals at whatever values they like. The fact that the linux goal is at $2.2m and not say $1.2m has little to do with how much it would cost to implement, but reflects how high a priority it is for the developers. In fact the marginal difference between the linux goal and the previous one is only $200k. The linux goal also includes extra content, so they presumably think that supporting linux will cost them less than $200k; that is assuming that the values of the stretch goals have anything at all to do with the budgets for the individual items, which isn't necessarily the case as they are partly a marketing tool to keep up interest in the kickstarter.
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David Walgrave Producer, Larian Studios9 years ago
They'll do a Linux version if they reach 2.2 million. Which also "unlocks" a new Region, a new Faction and another new Companion. So they're gonna make it run on Linux, add a region, faction and companion with 200K. Not with 1M.
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Iain Stanford Experienced Software Engineer, Tinderstone9 years ago
Michele Santullo that's some pretty brazen miss quoting of the facts there.

They're adding Linux for the 2.2m stretch goal that comes AFTER their 2m stretch goal.

So they are claiming it costs 200k, NOT 1.1m like you are. Also you neglected to point out that the 2.2m stretch goal ALSO adds a new Region, Companion and Faction. So, all in all, they aren't giving much money towards the Linux build at all....far from your 100% increase in costs of 1.1m assumption.

Now you could complain that Linux is much lower on their priorities as they won't work on it until they reach around 2m and have done all the other stretch goals, but that's a different debate to what you were implying.
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Why does this sound like Dai Katana all over again to me?

Frankly, lining u pall this name talent in one place just scares me as to the game's future. Lots of big egos will be fighting over this one...
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James Berg Games User Researcher 9 years ago
@Michele "I think it's not nice that they try to get the same money they got from Windows players knowing that Linux user base is 30% of that"

Linux is 30% of the Windows user base? Do you have any stats to back that up, because that sounds preposterous to me.
As others have mentioned, it's not a cost issue, it's a priority issue. The number of people that care about gaming on Linux is a very, very small market.

This was the best Kickstarter I've seen - this is exactly the kind of game I'd love to see made, by an almost perfect team. Avellone's involvement alone would have sold me, but they've snagged some other top old-school RPG talent.
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James Berg Games User Researcher 9 years ago
@Jeffrey - Dai Katana's problem was Romero. Nobody on their dev team list has a reputation for being a drama queen or egomaniac.
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gi biz ;, 9 years ago
@Iain Stanford: indeed, I skipped that part, but shouldn't I be interested in having a playable game before caring of the extra content? It's even hard to call that "extra" content if it comes before the port to your platform. See it from the perspective you like, the fact that the Linux port bar is at 1.1 million past the Windows point remains. Indeed, they might not be expecting all the funding from Linux gamers, but please save me the "no one cares, everyone is just giving money for the extra content".

@Dave: I didn't know you followed this site! :) Well, as I said, in this context "extra" is relative. Right, that's where they'll spend most of the money maybe, but well... if they port it I'll buy it afterwards ;)

@James: I was a bit optimistic. From what I gather from various sources, Linux gamers are between 15 and 30% of Windows gamers depending on the source. It's hard to calculate anyways (note that I'm speaking about gamers, not generic users). I typed quickly there, but I think it's not too far from reality (also note that Windows and Linux gamers sum up to over 100% as many users dual boot or use Windows at work - let's just not get into this).
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
Wow, so I guess the warm fuzzy feeling surrounding developers going straight to players is gone. Promising to port to a platform of your choice, which will almost 100% happen at this point, is seen as not enough because it's not lower down on the stretch goals.
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Mike Bale Database Developer 9 years ago
Hi Michele,

Have you looked at their kickstarter page? It explains it, and they've tiered the other things they are adding on(Houses,Mac,Linux and what not)
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David Canela Game & Audio Designer 9 years ago
so what you're truly trying to say is: you think a linux version should be a higher priority.
fair enough, stretch goal priorities are always a matter of taste. But your math was seriously skewed and misleading, as other have pointed out (such as ignoring the 3 or 4 stretch goals in between 1.1 and 2.2)
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Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for 9 years ago
Lets make an Obsidian Cake.

You take $1.1 million dollars of Windows users pledges to make the sponge base.
Mix in increased ingredients through funding from the largest possible market with tiers to add further flavour.
Bake in gas mark tier 2.0 or 2.0 million dollar degrees until soft and nostalgic in center.
Decorate with tier 2.2 million linux icing and further game developments. Rinse and repeat tiers until you have the best looking cake our pledges can buy.

Simply put resources have to be prioritised based on the number of people funding it. Windows gamers are the lions share so will be allocated the lions share of resources. I would rather have them put out a quality game for pc then have to pull a Dead Space 2 tac on multiplayer in the form of linux etc and divert resources that could have been better spent on improving assets in the game.

I'm not hating on Linux its just that you need to keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things Obsidian is still a small but experienced developer with a small budget (but growing budget) for resource and asset allocation. I would imagine they would if they could lower the tier amount if it didnt adversely effect game content.
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