Baldur’s Gate 3 Was Almost Made Four Years Ago
Four years ago, Obsidian Entertainment came incredibly close to securing a contract to work on Baldur’s Gate 3 after years of effort put into meetings and pitches, only to have it snatched away from them at the last minute.
Speaking with Kotaku, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told the sad story about how Atari promised Obsidian the world before pulling the rug out from under them. He said:
“We were talking to Atari, and we started talking, and oh my god this was like the Cherokee Trail of Tears pitch,” he said. “They asked in 2007 if we wanted to do Baldur’s Gate 3, and I’m like ‘Yes, if you guys are serious about it.’ They were like, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘If you’ll put a real budget behind it: it can’t be $10 million, it needs to be $20 million, $25 million. If you really want to do this, then you need to put a real budget behind it. You need to give a budget that BioWare would have to do a Mass Effect or whatever. It has to be a real budget.’”
A few months later, Atari gave Urquhart the green light.
“They were like ‘OK, we really wanna do this, we feel we can get funding, we feel this we feel that, so let’s start talking about it.’”
In April, Obsidian began putting together the pitch.
“That pitch, over the course of six months probably went through thirty revisions. I personally had probably spent 80, 100 hours—just me—on that one pitch, answering every question and asking everything and working on the budget.”
By the end of 2008, Atari and Obsidian had completed work on a contract, which was ready to be signed.
“And then we came back from break and they were like, ‘Okay, well this is going on, that’s going on—we’re real close. We should be able to sign it real soon and get it to you.’”
This is where the story turns sour. Atari started to stall.
“Then they said they wanted to come see us to look at things. And so they came into see us and they looked at things. And then about a week later they said you know we’re concerned that you can’t make the game. And then a week later all of Atari Europe was sold to Namco Bandai.”
Suddenly, the Atari producer that Obsidian had been working with was no longer at Atari.
“All this work got done. We negotiated a whole contract. Years worth of work, and it turned out they didn’t have the money.”
Can a Kickstarter campaign raise $20M for BG3?