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A closer look at the ambitious creation (and cancellation) of Obsidian's  Stormlands

A closer look at the ambitious creation (and cancellation) of Obsidian's Stormlands

September 11, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

September 11, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Console/PC, Production

"Sometimes adding people to something doesn't mean it's going to get done any faster. It's actually just going to be more complicated, more people running down the wrong path."

- Obsidian co-founder and VP of development Chris Parker recalls the development of Stormlands

Microsoft had high hopes for the launch of the original Xbox One, something the senior staff over at Obsidian can attest to. Thought it was eventually canceled, the studio had at one point been developing an exclusive launch game for the system.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Obsidian co-owners Feargus Urquhart and Chris Parker talked about that process and explored the development and eventual cancellation of studio’s ill-fated Xbox One launch title Stormlands

In addition to containing a never-before-seen look at the game, Eurogamer’s interview with Urquhart and Parker offers game developers a closer look at what can cause a high-profile project like Stormlands to end in cancellation. 

"Microsoft's ambition was to do a lot of things and do it very new,” recalls Parker. “Nothing that was standard or typically accepted in video games should be taken as acceptable. It was always, 'Try to get it up to the next level, try and figure out something different or some new way to approach it or put a different spin on it.' Every feature it was, 'How do we change this feature to make it better than it has ever been before?’"

As an example, Urquhart brings up the concept of “million-man raids” pitched to them by Microsoft at one point. He explains that the idea behind that concept would be a massive enemy that appeared in the game for all players at once, who would then be able to come together in 40-player raids to take down the beast. 

The pair notes that it took many of those lofty feature pitches as inspiration rather than something to be incorporated into the game exactly as described. But still, the disconnect between Microsoft’s ambitions and Obsidian’s reality would ultimately doom Stormlands. 

The full story on exactly how the game met its fate, and a look at how Tyranny rose from Stormlands’ ashes, can be found in the complete interview on Eurogamer

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