Obsidian Is Open To Acquisition “If The Right Opportunity Came Up”
Obsidian Entertainment is quite the unique development studio in the gaming industry. Founded in 2003 by former Black Isle veterans Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan and Chris Jones, it went on to produce some of the most beloved Western roleplaying games of the past fifteen years or so.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Fallout: New Vegas are the prime examples of their work, though the spy-themed Alpha Protocol also became something of a cult hit over the years despite its issues.
Still, the Irvine-based studio often merely managed to stay afloat instead of flourishing like it should have. The advent of crowdfunding did lend them a hand, though, allowing them to create a cRPG like Pillars of Eternity (with a sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, already scheduled for 2018). The studio also recently released two games in partnership with publishers (South Park: The Stick of Truth with Ubisoft and Tyranny with Paradox Interactive).
That said, speaking with Eurogamer Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart explained why these deals are more complicated.
We sign a contract and we must hit that number and it is the end of the earth if we [can’t]. We’ve had to sign away royalties, we’ve had to sign away ownership of IPs…Whereas internal studios, it’s just another month – they’re already paying the people, it’s already in the budget these people are going to be paid.
Urquhart also revealed that Obsidian has had “a lot” of acquisition offers from various publishers, and it’s not something the company is necessarily adverse to.
It’s not like we’re ‘indie for life’, not like we bleed indie blood. We were an internal studio [as Black Isle] for a publisher for a long time and we were successful.
We just didn’t think the offers were commensurate to what we’re worth and then what we would get to do.
In fact, co-owner Chris Parker added:
If the right opportunity came up, it’s certainly something that we would do.
If they were to be acquired by a publisher, which one would you pick? Or would you rather prefer that Obsidian remained independent even if that meant creating smaller games? Let us know in the comments.