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You might remember that we reported on the cancellation of Obsidian's unannounced Project North Carolina back in early 2012. The project was a next-generation console RPG that was rumored to be an Xbox One exclusive, and its cancellation led to the layoffs of around 20 to 30 employees. Back then, the public perception was that of a company dangerously close to its death, to the point of making many fans clamor for a Kickstarter campaign.
That perception wasn't very far from the truth, we learn today. Obsidian has just published the first 7 minutes of the Pillars of Eternity documentary (available at this link), in which CEO and co-founder Feargus Urquhart, executive producer Adam Brennecke and project director Josh Sawyer confirm that the cancellation of the project was a serious blow to the company's finances and reputation. The limited company funds risked running dry as its pitches were met with a lukewarm reception by publishers who saw the cancellation and layoffs as Obsidian's own responsibility, and therefore didn't trust the company to be able to deliver.
The success of the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter ultimately convinced Obsidian to pursue a Kickstarter campaign, an option that the company had already been considering internally for a while. According to the documentary, Adam Brennecke and Josh Sawyer were assigned to work on the project and came up with the Pillars of Eternity (Project Eternity back then) pitch, which, as we all know, turned out to be extremely successful. The documentary (at least in this abbreviated section) neglects to go into the other deals and projects that ultimately saved Obsidian from the same fate other venerable RPG studios like Troika met, but there's no doubt that the Kickstarter campaign can't have hurt.
Spotted on the official Obsidian Entertainment forums.