Chris Avellone Throws Shade at Obsidian in Interview

Considering Chris Avellone was one of the co-founders and co-owners of Obsidian Entertainment, it always appeared puzzling that he would leave the RPG-focused studio he helped found. It now appears clearer and clearer the lead designer and writer of Planescape: Torment simply wasn't happy with the direction the company was going in and its upper management in particular, as evidenced by this scathing interview with Fallout fansite Sugarbombed.

In the interview, Avellone strongly implies the upper management would like for the company to be purchased just so that they would have an "exit strategy", criticizes the high-level creative decisions of Fallout: New Vegas, and implies other developers who left the company feel the same.

A couple of excerpts from the interview, which focuses mostly on the Fallout franchise:

SB: In an interview with Inside Gaming in 2013, you mentioned that one of the locations you’d like to see a hypothetical new Fallout game from Obsidian be located is New Orleans, Louisiana. Now Obsidian has confirmed that they are working on a “Project Louisiana”. This along with Obsidian’s interest in the location as stated before, along with JE Sawyer tweeting out Lousiana “Field Notes” seems to indicate that Obsidian is working on a game set there. Now, this obviously doesn’t mean it has to be a Fallout game, but what do you think it is about Louisiana and New Orleans from your experiences with Obsidian that makes them want to set a game there?

Chris: States have been publicly revealed as codenames for Obsidian projects. I can't reveal what they are actually doing.
So you know, the person who had the idea for New Orleans isn't there any longer (he left many years ago, not long after the mass layoffs), and the last person to publically advocate the desire to do a Fallout game has also departed the studio. [Note: here Chris probably refers to Eric Fenstermaker, who recently left Obsidian to raise his child.]


SB: Hypothetically, if Obsidian were to make a hypothetical new Fallout spinoff, would you hypothetically want to go back to obsidian and have some involvement with it being that Fallout is so close to your heart?

CA: No. While I like the developers and wish them all the very best, there's too many other problems at the higher managerial level to ever consider stepping back, especially when you could make a step in a direction that mattered for the franchise. Even leads at Obsidian have said as much (most after departing), and they told me they felt helpless in their roles to do what they felt was the right decision.


SB: You’ve said that you don’t think Fallout will leave Bethesda’s hands again, and likely not go back to Obsidian. Do you think this would have anything to do with the quarrels Bethesda and Obsidian had during and after development (specifically the metacritic thing) and like I said before, they’re worried about being showed up so to speak? Because with Bethesda’s patterns, the next Fallout game by them likely won’t come out for a long time, so they probably want to fill that gap with something, no?

CA: I doubt Bethesda worries much about what Obsidian is doing (Bethesda's likely way too busy on multiple fronts), but only they could speak to that, I have no idea.
From an outside perspective, however, it appears when Bethesda likes working with a studio or see their potential, they seem to buy them (Arkane). They didn't buy Obsidian, though, even though Obsidian is eager to be bought based on recent interviews. It might be for the best - I don't know what would happen to the devs if Obsidian was bought, but the upper management would likely come out okay with that exit strategy.

We have reached to Obsidian to give them an opportunity to comment on the interview and will update the newspost should we receive any such comment.