Obsidian have a Kickstarter project going on for a game entitled Project Eternity. Said project reached its required $1.1 million funding target in 24 hours and is breaking through the stretch goals like nobody’s business. As such, Obsidian’s CEO, Feargus Urqhart went online last night to answer some questions and, in the process, revealed something rather a bit sinister about the whole “major developers asking for Kickstarter money” business.
Eternity backer Steven Cameron asked the question, “With the popularity of Project Eternity, Wasteland 2, Double-Fine, etc., do you think Publishers might look at making games like these or are they too far gone?” What Feargus put as a response is very interesting indeed. Here it is, unedited and direct from the Kickstarter comments page.
We were actually contacted by some publishers over the last few months that wanted to use us to do a Kickstarter. I said to them “So, you want us to do a Kickstarter for, using our name, we then get the Kickstarter money to make the game, you then publish the game, but we then don’t get to keep the brand we make and we only get a portion of the profits” They said, “Yes”.
Several fans then immediately demanded further information (quite rightly so, in my opinion), and Feargus was was all too happy to help clarify in a series of posts. Again, these quotes are delivered straight from the source and unedited.
The best way I can answer it is that in actuality, almost everyone I know at publisher is a great person. Heck, I was at a publisher for almost 12 years. The challenge for the publishers is that they have a bunch of different departments that all have different goals and as a whole they have a huge overhead (hundreds / thousands of people and office space) that they have to pay for every day. So, that creates infighting and the success of one group comes at the expense of another.
For a developer, it means you are not only working to make a game – which is hard. But, you have to be able to work through all of the politics of your publisher. I know somethings have been said publicly by us about Bethesda, however they are not political. They are still human, but they work very hard to make games the focus and not the rest of the BS.
I think they were trying, honestly, to be able to do something with us and they felt that was the easiest way to do it. They would then not need to go get budget approved and deal with the challenge of that. What I don’t think they did was to think about our side of it and what they were really asking.
The very first quote was then picked up by a NeoGAF user and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it circulates the web. But, still… Holy sh*t! That’s both unbelievably greedy (for trying it) and ridiculously stupid (for thinking that the big developers would accept such a deal) of the unnamed publishers. Also, kudos to Obsidian for actually speaking out about it. That takes balls. We need more developers willing to speak out against such things, nowadays.
You can still help fund Project Eternity. Just follow this here link.