Obsidian CEO says Kickstarter lets devs build brands

Kickstarter lets developers build their own brands in an industry dominated by multi-million dollar expenditures, according to Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart. GamesIndustry International interviewed Urquhart about his company's successful Kickstarter for Project Eternity, a revival of PC RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment.

"[W]e're getting the opportunity to go build a brand, and it's a brand that we own," Urquhart said. "And that's what changes the power a little bit. Now I have a game that we're going to go make, and I have a brand. And I own that brand. And it's now something that if I go talk to a publisher to talk about doing something different with a brand … they're not going to get to own that brand."

Urquhart said the crowdfunding platform would not be as useful for breaking into the extremely expensive AAA console game market. Instead, developers can use the platform to generate their own ideas directed toward more specific audiences.

Project Eternity will be a major project, he said, but it will be distributed digitally only on PC, Mac, and Linux — no tablets or consoles. This, and its devotion to a seemingly forgotten subsection of games, put it in what he called a "no man's land" for traditional publishing avenues.

Though the crowdfunding model may seem to clash with established methods, Urquhart said Kickstarter could ultimately be a win-win for publishers and developers willing to look at more progressive models of ownership.

"It's pretty scary when you're a publisher and you have to fund games because that's what you need to go ship. But now maybe some titles can come to you secondarily, or for distribution, or something like that where you don't have to worry about a cash outlay so much."

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.