Obsidian Entertainment is a studio that’s best known in console circles for their development of Fallout: New Vegas and, more recently South Park: The Stick of Truth. They’ve been around for a very long time, and during that time have operated under the wing of a publisher and more recently as an independent studio developing games on behalf of publishers such as Bethesda and Ubisoft.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, studio head Feargus Urquhart spoke at length about the pros and cons of existing as an independent studio, explaining the risks and rewards that are inherent to a studio in that position, and reveals that giving up that independence to create a more stable business environment is something that the company would consider – with the right partner.
“It’s not like we’re ‘indie for life’,” he says, “not like we bleed indie blood. We were an internal studio [Black Isle] for a publisher for a long time and we were successful.”
“If the right opportunity came up,” adds Parker, “it’s certainly something that we would do.”
The biggest cons clearly relate to the way in which publishing deals are done, whilst the biggest pros all seem to surround freedom of creativity.
“The great thing about being independent is we can work on Star Wars and South Park at the same time, where an internal studio couldn’t. I can wake up in the morning and say, ‘Hey we’re going to try and pitch Star Wars for the ninth time.'”
While it’s interesting to hear a studio that has apparently managed to exist independently for as long as Obsidian has speaking openly about the benefits of being part of a publisher, it’s perhaps not surprising – existing as a video game studio is incredibly difficult and the industry is littered with the remains of those that have failed.
What are your thoughts on Obsidian’s perspective? Are there any franchises you’d like to see them revisit – or any ones they haven’t handled yet that you’d like to see them tackle? Let us know in the comments below!