I think we’d all assumed, somewhat oddly in retrospect, that Obsidian would not only build Pillars of Eternity themselves, but that Feargus Urquhart would hand-deliver copies of the game to Gamestops around the world. He’d do so in a rusty old Fallout-themed van, naturally, and stop off at the postbox on the way home to mail out t-shirts to Kickstarter backers.
That’s not to be: instead, Obsidian have joined up with Paradox, who’ll handle distribution, marketing and Kickstarter fulfillment. And both sides seem pretty happy with the arrangement.
“What we both know is there’s no BS,” said Urquhart at GDC.
“A lot of publisher handling is just relationship management. It’s asking what's going on, it’s handling that relationship, everybody patting everybody on the back and burping them,” Urquhart told Eurogamer.
“I feel like I could just call Paradox and say - excuse my language here - ‘What the fuck?!’ I probably never would, but we could have a quick conversation about a situation and not do this dance. And that’s great.”
As luck would have it, Paradox boss Fredrik Wester appeared to agree.
“It’s a personal relationship that I feel works,” he said. “This is not like our first awkward date. We’ve both been in the industry for a while, we know the ups and downs. We’ve both had some failures, both had some successes. We've both released some buggy games in the past and now we both want to release a really great gaming experience.”
That means that, in the unlikely event Pillars of Eternity turned out not “up to standard”, Paradox would be sure to mention that fact to Obsidian.
“We’re opinionated people,” said Wester. “We have a QA team of eighteen people who’re going to play the game for weeks and weeks and give their feedback.”
That said, Obsidian will retain ultimate creative control over the game, while Paradox consider retail possibilities like boxed special editions - though “nothing is set in stone yet”.
I’d personally like to take a moment to congratulate Fred Wester on the success of his elaborate scheme to play Pillars of Eternity a few weeks earlier than everybody else. “Financial upside” my arse. Are you as desperate to play it as he?