Obsidian, one of the most-esteemed creators of RPG games, including Pentiment, The Outer Worlds, and the iconic Fallout New Vegas, might have had a very different history, according to a new interview with company CEO Feargus Urquhart. As the studio approaches its 20th anniversary, it turns out Obsidian once developed RPG pitches for The Walking Dead, Rick and Morty, and, somehow, reality TV mainstay Cops.
After being acquired by Microsoft in 2018, Obsidian’s latest game, the historical RPG Pentiment, has seen widespread success on PC and Game Pass. Thinking about the Fallout 5 release date, there’s a big part of me that would like to see Bethesda hand the apocalypse open-world game back to Obsidian, particularly so it can focus everything on Starfield. Whatever may lie in Obsidian’s future, however, the studio’s past still sounds pretty colourful.
In a new interview, Urquhart discusses some of Obsidian’s abandoned projects and game pitches over the years. At one time, the studio planned to compete with God of War via an adventure game inspired by Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. More interesting however, Obsidian created several pitches for licensed games that, for a variety of reasons, never came to fruition.
Obsidian developed a pitch for an RPG based on The Walking Dead, but was unable to find an interested publisher. That was followed by an official Rick and Morty game, which apparently ended up on the shelf after Obsidian was acquired by Microsoft. Finally – and most bizarrely – the studio considered a game based around reality show Cops. You can kind of see how that might work. Investors, however, were apparently a harder sell. “We pitched a lot of publishers and they just couldn’t get their head around it,” Urquhart tells NME.
Obsidian’s CEO also discusses Microsoft, and the 2018 buyout deal. While still in the process of developing The Outer Worlds, Urquhart says that, in order for Obsidian to keep making the games that it wanted, it needed to find a more stable financial backing.
“That really was the decision,” he says. “Could we actually go and keep on selling 60, then 80, then 100, then 120 million dollar RPGs? Or do we need to change our business? We didn’t want to change our business, we wanted to make those things. If someone’s going to back up a dump truck with a bunch of gold bars, I would be actually doing a disservice to myself, my partners, and everybody at the company for not actually taking that deal.”
Obsidian’s future games include The Outer Worlds 2 and the fantasy RPG Avowed – which looks a bit Elder Scrolls. Check out some of the other best upcoming games, or maybe some other apocalypse games or the best games like Skyrim if you want to plug the gap while waiting on Obsidian – or Bethesda’s – next big adventure.