By the the time you read this message you already know that the Kickstarter for Obsidian Entertainment‘s Project Eternity ended, raising, well, a lot of money. The current total for Kickstarter only is $3,986,929, setting a Kickstarter record for a single video game campaign, beating Double Fine by more than $600,000 and Wasteland 2 by over a $1,000,000. See the chart below for comparison:
Now, this can come as a little bit of a disappointment. Did Project Eternity fail to reach the extra $4 million stretch goal, which means live instrumentation for the soundtrack, developer in-game commentary and general enhancements to the game, not to mention Chris Avellone being chained to a desk until he finally plays and finishes Arcanum? Not quite. Obsidian stated at the beginning that while PayPal donations do not count towards the Kickstarter goal, they do count for the stretch goals. With the PayPal amount at around $140,000, Obsidian has reached all of the stretch goals outlined for their campaign and topped their original goal by nearly 400%. Quite the success I say.
But what does that really mean, you may ask? With this funding Obsidian plans to bring us an Unity-powered role-playing game in the style of the classic Infinity Engine games, that will feature:
- an original setting, story and characters,
- six fully developed races,
- two very large cities (on par with Baldur’s Gate and Athkatla from the Baldur’s Gate series),
- eleven playable classes,
- eight companions,
- megadungeon with 13 levels (possibly 14, factoring in PayPal donators),
- player stronghold,
- player house,
- and a lot of other stuff.
Of course, Obsidian wouldn’t be themselves, if they didn’t share a ton of info about Project Eternity. First comes a composite image, showing how the first screenshot (or rather, the environment it depicts), came to life:
It’s complemented by a very interesting post by J.E. Sawyer, on Life and Death in the Dyrwood, as part of his scheduled lore update. He goes into detail about the way Project Eternity handles health, dying and worship, both from a gameplay and setting perspective.
Although inspired by (Advanced) Dungeons & Dragons settings, where life and death is a relatively light matter (owing to the presence of a myriad different healing potions, spells and abilities that turn dismemberment into flesh wounds), Eternity is planned to be a bit more gritty in this aspect: the world has a limited understanding of medicine and magic is hardly the great cure it is in most fantasy settings. Most people go through life like normal people do (medieval normal people, that is).
This has an impact on gameplay: characters have two resources related to their well being, Stamina and Health. The former is the primary pool, which characterizes how much abuse they can take before being knocked out in a fight. Health is lost at a lower rate, but the penalties for letting it run out are much more severe; they are maimed (standard mode) or killed (expert, standard with this option enabled) , with no known way to revive the dead.
The remainder of the update focuses on the importance of souls and religious worship in the world of Project Eternity, as well as the gods themselves and necromancy. Of particular interest is the fragment devoted to the god of cycles, Berath/Cirono (Aedyran and Vailian respectively). This fragment mentions that a common feature of buildings in the ruins of Eír Glanfath are two semi-skeletal figures of Caoth i Bhád and Bád i Caothaí (Life in Death and Death in Life, respectively), flanking entrances. This bit identifies the screenshot as that of a temple in the ruins of Eír Glanfath.
Another new update is devoted to a second Q&A session with Tim Cain, who answers questions about low intelligence dialogue, levelling frequency, involvement of Eric Fenstermaker in the game, psionics and minor technical details of the planned look of the game. He also announces the inclusion of a special recipe book penned by him in every pledge tier above $25. If you have doubts, don’t. Mr Cain has previously published his recipes in the Fallout and Arcanum manuals, with no reported casualties, only satisfied gourmets.
We covered older updates in previous summaries, but let’s recap the most important ones:
- The Big Things(tm) in Project Eternity‘s lore and setting,
- an update on souls and technology,
- the player’s party, characters and races,
- introducing the Paladin and Chanter classes,
- overview of the Fighter, Wizard, Priest, Rogue, Barbarian and Cipher classes,
- introducing the Endless Paths of Od Nua megadungeon, crafting and enchanting,
- of special game modes and Godlike races,
- non-combat skills in the game,
- music of Project Eternity,
- characterization with Chris Avellone (original blog post here),
- first Reddit Q&A with Tim Cain.
- Adam Brennecke on Penny Arcade,
- Chris Avellone, J.E. Sawyer and Tim Cain in an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit,
- Chris Avellone on 1up.com,
- Chris Avellone on Forbes,
- Chris Avellone on IndieRPGs,
- Chris Avellone on InGenre,
- Chris Avellone on Kotaku,
- Chris Avellone on Obsolete Gamer (part 2 here),
- Chris Avellone on this place, right here,
- Chris Avellone on Rock Paper Shotgun,
- Chris Avellone on RPGFan,
- Chris Avellone at TheVerge,
- Feargus Urquhart on Project Serenity,
- Feargus Urquhart on PureSophistry,
- J.E. Sawyer on ArsTechnica,
- J.E. Sawyer on GameBanshee,
- J.E. Sawyer on MattChat,
- J.E. Sawyer on shadeheart,
- J.E. Sawyer on XP4T,
- Tim Cain on Eurogamer,
- Tim Cain on LinkDeadGaming,
That’s a whole lot of words. We’re not done yet, however. We’ve previously posted about developers’ blogs and it seems that a summary of them would do good:
- again, Chris Avellone’s excellent post on characterization,
- Chris Avellone on time limits,
- Chris Avellone on Wasteland skills,
- J.E. Sawyer on the Black Hound,
- J.E. Sawyer on building better worlds,
- J.E. Sawyer on writing,
- J.E. Sawyer on mature themes in video games,
- J.E. Sawyer on user interface (Formspring),
- J.E. Sawyer on the magic system in Project Eternity (Formspring),
Last, if you recall, there was a teaser countdown in place before Project Eternity was announced. The passages they hold seem directly related to the game. Let’s end the campaign right at the beginning:
What do the words mean? Nothing. The Dirge of Eír Glanfath is sound without form, a lone voice crying out in mourning because it must.
The book unread is unwritten. The reason we don’t explain it is the reason we use it. Its power is in its mystery. That is the Leaden Key, in part, in whole. Is it clear?
Digging for truth buries the seeker.
I recognize your pain. Your kind must learn it comes from straining against the turning of the world. It spins thus. You cannot stop it. One day, you will wake up. You will stop pulling. The pain will be gone. Until then, all your waking hours are suffering.
This world wants to drag us down, it does. It made you a Watcher. No one asks for that. And the weight, that guilt they want to hang around my neck, you don’t have to carry it one more step. You think they won’t let you rest, but it’s not up to them. It never was.