In September we asked you to share your favourite moments from an Obsidian game and we, on behalf of Paradox, dangled prizes in front of you in return: consoles for the two winners, PC Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny keys for the 10 runners-up. And you answered in your droves.
Everyone has a drawer they can't close because it's stuffed too full of things. Mine has a whisk which always stops the bloody drawer from closing, and it's really annoying, but Obsidian Entertainment's drawer has around 100 game proposals in it. Game outlines in various states, from two-page snacks to 60-page feasts. "There's tons of them," Obsidian co-owner Chris Parker tells me. And for Obsidian there was never a time of greater need of an idea than summer 2012, after Microsoft cancelled Xbox One launch game Stormlands, and when South Park: The Stick of Truth was onboard THQ's sinking ship. It spurred a period now referred to in Obsidian history as the Summer of Proposals.
Throw your mind back to Microsoft sharing a dream of an infinitely powerful Xbox One cloud, a box under your TV able to suck an almost mystical power into your living room, transforming games as we know them. The vision wouldn't quite materialise, but while Microsoft was hallucinating over the cauldron it was also throwing money around - throwing money at Xbox One exclusives to embody this future, and Obsidian Entertainment was spinning in its pot.
"We were given a proposal, the million-man raid," Obsidian co-owner and CEO, Feargus Urquhart, tells me. "Conceptually what came from Microsoft was this idea: imagine you're playing The Witcher, maybe with a friend. What happens if at points in time a giant creature pops up that you can see in the distance and it's not just popping up while you're playing, it's popping up for everybody who's playing. You all rush this creature and there's this haze around it, and as you're all rushing through the haze the game is matchmaking you into 40-man raids who are going to fight the creature.
"Then you fight it, but while the creature is being fought all the footage is being recorded up into the cloud. Then at the end we would come up with some kind of intelligent editing thing which would deliver everybody who fought a personalised, edited video of their participation in the raid. That is what was proposed to us."
When Obsidian Entertainment boss Feargus Urquhart told us before the Games Developer Conference that the big new game his studio was working on was "something very different", he really wasn't kidding.
Feargus Urquhart, the leader of Obsidian Entertainment, was playing through that alien probing scene in his studio's game, South Park: The Stick of Truth, the evening before a meeting with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The next morning he'd have to go and talk to them about censoring it.
Thank you, whoever came up with the idea at Blizzard for World of Warcraft's critical hit text. The way it balloons then reduces to normal size, as you unpredictably wallop for extra damage, is unforgettable.
On Wednesday 16 October 2013, South Park hit the headlines across numerous entertainment channels and hard-news outlets when the long-running TV show missed its scheduled air-date for the first time in its history. For over a decade, Messrs Parker and Stone had been turning around episodes of their Comedy Central staple in just six days, pulling off the kind of deadline-baiting that would drive mere mortal writers to mental collapse and, by doing so, ensuring that their parodic social commentary remained on the nose and in line with the week's events.
New IPs, we're told, aren't really feasible at the tail-end of a generation, so it's heartening to sit down and discover that a sizeable part of the games industry is sticking its tongues out at the likes of Yves Guillemot and Peter Moore; 2013's looking like it's going to be an absolutely stellar year for Actual New Games.