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Obsidian CEO describes Fallout: New Vegas as 'almost' original IP

Kevin Kelly

Obsidian Entertainment has worked on a number of games based on existing franchises, including Star Wars, Forgotten Realms and Aliens*. While the studio will release an original IP in Alpha Protocol in just several weeks (through publisher Sega), its following release will be the next installment in the Fallout franchise, Fallout: New Vegas, with publisher Bethesda.

At a recent Bethesda press event, I asked Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart about the studio's decision to take on the next Fallout versus pursuing an original IP. Head past the break for Urquhart's thoughtful response.

*[Editor's note: The Aliens-based game was ultimately canceled.]

Gallery: Fallout: New Vegas (preview) | 31 Photos

What was the deciding factor for you and the rest of the Obsidian staff in electing to create Fallout: New Vegas versus an original IP for your next game?

This is different than going off and making the Iron Man 2 game. I mean this isn't a movie game. It's taking a license that, first off, we already love -- and a lot of us actually were involved in making the original Fallout games. So this is sort of just something fun to do.

I mean literally, when I was at Interplay, a lot of the reasons why I didn't leave when I probably should have left before was so I could get to make another Fallout. And so I kind of look at New Vegas as a different kind of license.

Now, from kind of more of a business perspective ... I know it's a big surprise to everybody that the economy hasn't been what it has been. And in some ways, as a developer, it's easier to get licensed products signed up, just because it's sort of like -- usually, when a publisher is coming to you to talk to you about a game, you know, if they are saying, "Hey, we got this license we want you to use" -- you're already like 10 steps into the process.

And with a ready to use game engine from Fallout 3, especially.

Yeah, exactly. But I think kind of the true game developer side of me is like, "This is just a fun game to make." So if we get into this highbrow, like, "What's a license and what's original, and why aren't we being an original studio?" and all that good stuff, I'm like, well, I mean, so much of what's in Fallout is original.

You know, New Vegas is a story we came up. It's all our own characters. It's a bunch of new weapons. It's a whole new part of the world. I mean, it has "Fallout" on it, and we are very faithful to the canon and what's come before, but we can do whatever we want. So, I mean, at that point, it's almost like it's an original.

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