What will Obsidian's second Kickstarter project be?
Feargus Urquhart teases ideas and a spring reveal.
Developer Obsidian is not only keen on using Kickstarter to fund another game, it has an idea it hopes to talk about as soon as March or April next year.
That's what studio boss Feargus Urquhart told Rock, Paper, Shotgun in one of a few pieces published on the site around the Pillars of Eternity name-and-video reveal (one was a preview of Eternity based on a studio visit).
The idea is not Eternity 2 - a game Urquhart would "be really surprised if we didn't make" - but something that uses the same technology to different effect, much in the same way Black Isle made Baldur's Gate then Icewind Dale then Planescape: Torment.
"Those games used the exact same engine, but they all felt very distinct," Urquhart said. "That's what we want to do now too, and that's just gonna help us make each of those games better and better."
One idea he's particularly fond of is an open-world experience like Skyrim, which sounds ambitious and expensive. But what if it was realised in more digestible chunks?
"Could we create 10 hours and have people pay 10 bucks?" he mused. "And generally, when we say 10 hours, it's usually 15. But if we go with five episodes, then people get between 50 and 75 hours."
Another idea is a game like Eternity but with a smaller party size - the emphasis being less on big-group tactics and more on character development.
Whatever the game is, it sounds like some ideas are already solid.
"There's something we're talking about that would be really cool, but it's not an original property," he revealed. "It's a licensed property. But it's not Alpha Protocol!
"It's something we can still do a ton of creative stuff with, though. And then the other thing is an original property. Also, there's a third thing that somebody approached us with, but I really don't think that's going to work out."
This is forward-thinking and a necessity for a 100-plus-sized studio such as Obsidian. Only 15 people are making Eternity, more or less, while the rest are finishing South Park: The Stick of Truth, now a Ubisoft game. That's a lot of people to keep busy.
Obsidian's developer buddy inXile kept designers busy by funding - and getting to work on - Torment: Numenera before Wasteland 2 had hit beta.
One thing Urquhart is plain about Obsidian not doing, however, is asking for more money before proving itself with Pillars of Eternity.
"I don't want to go back to the well before we've proven anything. That would be really lame of us."Feargus Urquhart
"We're very grateful for what people have given us," he said, "and I don't want to go back to the well before we've proven anything. That would be really lame of us.
"But we have a good idea and we've kind of proven things with Eternity to a point. Obviously we have a larger studio, so we actually have people to work on stuff [beforehand], but I don't want people to feel like we're taking advantage of them."
I spoke to Obsidian's chirpy creative director Chris Avellone earlier this year. We talked about the future of Eternity, a future he hopes will be funded by sales of the first game. He also showed enthusiasm for returning to Kickstarter and making more games of a budget and size with Eternity.
"If we had multiple isometric hardcore role-playing games going on at the same time, with the scale of Eternity, that is something I think we'd be very very happy about as a studio," he said, "because that was Black Isle."
Pillars of Eternity has no release date beyond 2014, although spring was once the target. It's in development for PC and Mac, with tablets possibly to follow.