Obsidian Entertainment, the RPG developer born from the ashes of Interplay’s famed Black Isle Studios, is getting back to its fantasy roots. After taking a couple of years off from developing original intellectual properties to focus on existing franchises and properties — 2010’s troubled collaboration with Sega, Alpha Protocol, was its last original IP — the company has announced a new fantasy RPG for PCs codenamed Project Eternity. Plus, Obsidian’s using Kickstarter to get its game made, rather than relying on the backing of a publisher.
Obsidian opened its Kickstarter campaign for Project Eternity on Friday, hoping to raise $1.1 million by the end of the month. Hours after opening, it’s already raised more than $140,000. Designer Chris Avellone is heading up Eternity’s development, and he’s promising that the game will call back to some of his most popular RPGs, namely Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, and Baldur’s Gate.
“Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs that we enjoyed making—and playing,” reads the announcement, “At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back… and that’s why we’re here—we need your help to make it a reality!”
Nostalgia is a dangerous ingredient in any creative endeavor. Too much reverence for the past can lead to stagnation. Avellone and Obsidian are already hard at work on another retro project funded through Kickstarter, namely InXile and Brian Fargo’s Wasteland 2. Obsidian was brought on to that game when its Kickstarter reached $2.1 million. It’d be a shame for the company to spend so much time, effort, and money looking backward that it stops trying to push itself.
Ambition, of course, has pushed Obsidian into a shaky development pattern with its games. Starting with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, Obsidian’s worked on a string of well written, intriguing titles, but all of them have suffered from crippling bugs and many have been released in what could charitable be called an unfinished state. Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, KOTOR 2 were all broken upon release.
Things are looking up for Obsidian though. Despite being hit by layoffs at the beginning of 2012, work on its licensed RPG South Park: The Stick of Truth is progressing nicely thanks to the help of series creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone. Now it looks like Obsidian’s fans will provide it the funds it needs to finish Project Eternity on its own schedule.