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"Those budget numbers are just right for what we are trying to make," Cain answered. "We have an engine already, and we aren't using an established IP with pre-defined game mechanics and an art style that we have to mimic. Both of these things save us a lot of time, because we are now free to make those elements ourselves.
"Here's an analogy: if you ask me to make you a cake, I can bake one and have it ready for you in a couple of hours, and it'll be very tasty."
Great; can you make me a cake?
"But if you come to me with a photo of a cake and ask me to replicate it, that'll take me a lot longer to do, even though the final result might not taste any different than the first cake. Does that make sense?"
How about that cake?
"Damn, now I want some cake."
Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale were all cited as touch-stones for kind of game Project Eternity will be. The influence of those games will be felt in "a more general way", Cain told me. "We like the isometric view, the real-time-with-pause combat, and the general vibe of those games, but we are not planning to replicate any particular feature from them."
Also, Project Eternity will be a more traditional fantasy game, whereas Torment was almost surreal. Nevertheless, Eternity "will have its own special twists"; "It is definitely not going to be a standard, cookie-cutter fantasy realm," Cain stressed.
Multiplayer isn't ruled out. "Interest?" Tim Cain mulled. "Yes, but not if it risks reducing the scope or quality of the single-player game in any way. Single-player gaming is our focus."
Oh, and Project Eternity "will have guns", Cain told me, "but we are not going into their details right now".
While Shacknews has a briefer chat with Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart:
"D&D is awesome and we absolutely want to make more D&D games here at Obsidian," he said. "For Project Eternity, though, we wanted to stretch again and put together a new game system that is really tied into the world. The new system is something that Josh Sawyer has been working on for a while now and he has some really great new ideas not with just combat, but, in particular, support abilities and skills."
Project Eternity is only a working title, however, and it is something the team has been mulling over, looking for a way to create a sense of a future for the series. "The Infinity Engine games created stories that felt epic and brought everyone who played them (and still plays them today) along for an incredible ride," Urquhart said. "We wanted to come up with a name that gave that same feeling and one that also let everyone know that we don't want to stop with the first game. Baldur’s Gate 2 was great in part because there was a Baldur’s Gate 1. We want to do the same with a Project Eternity 2, 3 and then some."
On the subject of engines, it's worth noting that Chris Avellone tweeted that the title won't be using Onyx, Obsidian's proprietary engine used for Dungeon Siege III and South Park: The Stick of Truth, not to mention the ill-fated Aliens RPG, due to the licensing costs of the attached middleware.