Obsidian Entertainment burst onto the development scene in 2004 when their first RPG hit store shelves. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, sequel to the original critically-acclaimed Bioware title, was a success and put Obsidian's name firmly on the map.
Obsidian then took on the next entry in the Fallout series and struck gold yet again with Fallout: New Vegas. It may have had a few bugs, or maybe more than a few bugs, but New Vegas established Obsidian as a power house RPG development studio.
Those successful offerings could not protect Obsidian from the struggles of game development, however. In a preview for a documentary video titled Road to Eternity: Part I, in which Obsidian discusses their work on the upcoming Pillars of Eternity, the developer reveals that it was working on a big title for new consoles in 2012 when the project was abruptly cancelled. And with no source of revenue, Obsidian was actually looking at the prospect of closing down. Luckily for Obsidian, the proliferation and popularity of Kickstarter helped save the day.
By chance, Tim Burton's Double Fine Productions was looking for a developer to handle one of their new projects, and pitched an idea to Obsidian that included using Kickstarter for funding. That concept, called Project Eternity, surpassed its initial $1.1 million Kickstarter goal and closed with an amazing $3.9 million.
Since closing their Kickstarter, Obsidian has used their money to fund the isometric RPG Pillars of Eternity for PC, Linux, and Mac. It's true that Pillars of Eternity, set to release on March 26th of this year, has had a few bumps along the road, like the lack of a disc-based Collector's Edition, but the success of the Kickstarter campaign indicates a strong desire from RPG fan.
It is an unfortunate reality in game development that a single failed or canceled project can be the death-knell for a development studio, but fortunately for Obsidian that was not the case. Double Fine happened to come along at just the right time and presented the company with a life-saving opportunity.
Are you surprised to learn a studio like Obsidian was facing closure? Did you help contribute to the Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter?
Source: Road to Eternity: Part I