Obsidian's mystery RPG is called Project Eternity - and it's on Kickstarter.
The countdown is over and the truth stands revealed: The big secret Obsidian has been teasing all week is a brand-new fantasy RPG called (as a working title) Project Eternity. Isometric and party-based, the studio says it will pay homage to some of the great RPGs of old, like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment. That's a pretty tall order, but one that's not necessarily out of reach: Planescape and Icewind Dale were both made by Obsidian's predecessor, Black Isle Studios.
"Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back," the game's Kickstarter page says. "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."
And yes, this is a Kickstarter project, with a goal of $1.1 million. The usual range of reward tiers for pledges from $5 to $10,000 are up, and so far things appear to be going well: The Kickstarter will be open until October 16 but has already notched up more than $250,000.
Obsidian is billing the game as very much in the vein of the classic, turn-of-the-millennium RPGs, with pausable real-time combat, a sprawling world map packed with unique locations, NPC companions who will join you on your travels and a deep story laden with complex and difficult choices. It sounds like RPG fan's dream come true, but as the studio noted, "It's been almost impossible to get funding through traditional methods for a game like this." Thus, the studio turned to the fans.
"We are asking for more than a lot of the other Kickstarter projects and that's because we are not only making a game, we are creating a whole new world," the Kickstarter page explains. "That means a new RPG system, entirely new art, new characters and animation and whole lot of lore and dialogue. We've also designed the game to have a flexible budget and scope, so if we reach our target budget goal, we have a list great stuff we can add into the mix through stretch goals. And additional money we raise will go straight into the game to add new levels, companions, NPCs, features, and even entirely new parts of the world which will add hours and hours to the adventure."
I'm compelled to remind everyone that Kickstarter projects should be approached with caution, and never with more money than you can afford to throw out the window of a moving car. There are no guarantees; your cash could end up financing a nice Bahamian vacation for someone, and even if a game is made and shipped as promised, it may just flat-out suck. Buyer beware and all that - which may be easier said than done when it's Chris Avellone, Tim Cain and Josh Sawyer with their hands held out.
Kickstarter lists an estimated delivery time for Project Eternity, assuming it gets financed, of April 2014, but of that's not carved in stone, or even wet sand. Further discussion, speculation and overexcited spaz-outs are ongoing now at obsidian.net.