Back in the glory days of 2012 Kickstarter, Obsidian launched their first crowdfunding campaign. Project Eternity, a isometric, party-based, fantasy RPG would later become Pillars of Eternity. For a brief time, it would even hold the record for highest funded RPG.
Flash forward to today and Obsidian Entertainment is once again cracking the illusive $3M funding mark. This time with their Fig campaign for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Some backers of the original Pillars have voiced their displeasure at the platform change in Kickstarter comments.
Posting Kickstarter updates about a project on another platform seems morally ambiguous. Still, it’s no surprise that Obsidian made the change. If nothing else, Fig has always been big on promoting its own. With Obsidian’s CEO, Feargus Urquhart, on Fig’s advisory board, the studio would have no trouble securing one of Fig’s coveted campaign spaces.
Hey Fig Spender!
In fairness though, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire was going to meet its goal no matter where Obsidian went. The sequel takes players back to the world of Eora. Eothas, the god of light and rebirth, long thought dead, has returned. After Eothas rips his way out of the ground beneath your keep, Caed Nua, he leaves the protagonist on the brink of death. In order to save their soul they will need to track down the wayward god and demand answers.
As a sequel to a critically-acclaimed title, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has a lot to live up to and plenty of great lore to build on. The Deadfire Archipelago will be a living world. Its inhabitants going about their daily lives heedless of the player’s plight. All in a world of dynamic weather and diverse environments. Largely helped along by a new dynamic lighting and shadows engine.
Low Risk, Big Reward
All of this to say, we have every reason to believe the game will continue the rich, choice-driven narrative of its precursor and look damn good doing it. Once again Obsidian set out to raise $1.1M and came away with 3 times that. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire reached its full funding goal within 23 hours of launch and has been steadily chipping away at stretch goals ever since.
Crowdfunding used to be a bastion for indie developers. Allowing them to create games that would struggle to find a publisher. I’ve been critical of Fig in the past for always playing it safe. Promoting titles that would be easy to sell over more innovative projects. I understand why they do it, but I still don’t particularly enjoy it. With this project, Obsidian is looking less towards building a community and more towards building business relationships. It’s not the crowdfunding we’ve grown used to, but it could be where we’re going.
Armchair Development Investors
“There are a lot of reasons we are going with Fig, but they really come down to us wanting to build up our ability to get games financed differently and to let our fans share in the success of the games if they want to invest,” Feargus Urquhart said in an email to VentureBeat.
“Many developers, including Obsidian, have had few options in the ways to get their games funded. Our hope is that with Fig, we can grow a group of investors who trust us and will help us realize even bigger games in the future.”
Currently, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire has $1.57M pledged by backers and $1.49M in anticipated Fig Funds. With a few days left of their Fig campaign Obsidian has to be feeling pretty good about their funding model.