In a new documentary charting 20 years of Obsidian Entertainment, studio founder Feargus Urquhart has revealed a surprising tidbit about upcoming single-player RPG adventure, Avowed. According to Urquhart, he initially pushed for the game to have multiplayer co-op, before it was acquired by Microsoft.
While the game has since evolved to become a single-player adventure game, it was initially believed that a co-op title would be more appealing to publishers, and therefore easier to invest in.
‘It was a more interesting game to publishers,’ Urquhart explains in the documentary. ‘When you’re asking for $50, $60, $70, or $80 million, you’ve got to have something interesting to talk about, and multiplayer made it interesting.’
Avowed has been in the works for several years, and the initial idea was formed in a period where co-op multiplayer games were both novel and exciting. Late 2010s interest in the genre reportedly inspired the creation of Redfall, and this required developers at Arkane Studios to adapt their gameplay creation style to suit the trend.
According to Justin Birth, head of development on Avowed, the decision to focus on single player was made in response to similar challenges.
‘We were too focused on co-op, too focused on changing how our pipelines worked, the way we write conversations, the way we write quests, and everything else,’ Birch said in the Obsidian documentary. These complications led to the studio focussing on its strengths: narrative, dialogue, and choice-based adventuring.
In developing Avowed, Obsidian Entertainment is reportedly looking at what worked in its past games, particularly Pillars of Eternity, which managed to reach a wide audience and achieve critical acclaim with a focussed plot and approachable gameplay.
We’ll learn more about Avowed as Obsidian Entertainment continues development. It’s currently targeting a 2024 launch.