Veritably engaged with South Park: The Stick of Truth and attempting to rebound from a round of layoffs earlier this year, Obsidian Entertainment, after a week of teasing, has pulled back the curtain on its next RPG.
Project Eternity was announced today after the developer launched its official Kickstarter page. The game is set to feature isometric visuals with party-based gameplay, and takes root in a brand new world crafted by acclaimed designers Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer. And for a studio that lives and breaths RPG's - among Obsidian's credits are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Fallout: New Vegas and, for better or worse, Alpha Protocol - it's quite appropriate that Project Eternity is an homage to several classics of the past.
By its isometric nature - three-dimensional images are projected in-game on a 2D plane - Project Eternity draws inspiration from BioWare's Infinity Engine (no relation to Madden 13's), which helped pioneer the method. Infinity Engine has borne its mark on legendary RPGs Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment, and Obsidian - whose founders each worked the games under Black Isle Studios - cites the three as blueprints for their work of the present:
"Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs that we enjoyed making - and playing."
But of course, richness in content is as important as richness in concept. Obsidian came prepared to their Kickstarter listing with a six-minute trailer (seen above), a rendering of the game's world map (seen below), and a substantial write-up on some old-fashioned details:
Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment.
Combat uses a tactical real-time with pause system - positioning your party and coordinating attacks and abilities is one of the keys to success. The world map is dotted with unique locations and wilderness ripe for exploration and questing. You’ll create your own character and collect companions along the way — taking him or her not just through this story, but, with your continued support, through future adventures. You will engage in dialogues that are deep, and offer many choices to determine the fate of you and your party. …and you'll experience a story that explores mature themes and presents you with complex, difficult choices to shape how your story plays out.
Currently, Obsidian's funding goal for Project Eternity is $1.1 million. The argument can be made - and it's been made before - that a line should exist for big-name studios regarding Kickstarter. That exhorting crowd funds is great for small-scale companies but unbecoming of established reputations. This is perhaps true, to a certain extent, but while Obsidian might be one of the larger, older developers we've seen post their projects to Kickstarter, they're also one of the many, independent studios hurting in the current economy (March's aforementioned layoff also saw Obsidian's cancellation of a next-generation RPG).
To pun the working title (which is a clever pun itself!), there's a near infinite creative potential present in Project Eternity. That's the ultimate goal of Kickstarter - and that's how the public seems to feel. The funds pledged at the time of our publishing , mid-way through Eternity's first day on Kickstarter: $521,025.
Ranters, what do you think of Obsidian's Project Eternity?
[UPDATE]: After little more than a day, Project Eternity has surpassed its $1.1 million funding goals.
Normally when a Kickstarter project hits its mark, the organizer will add Stretch Goals. With 31 days remaining on the clock, Eternity seems like a pretty good candidate.
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