If you’re a fan of good documentaries about great games, Obsidian’s just released The Road to Eternity on Vimeo—a feature-length film chronicling the creation of throwback CRPG Pillars of Eternity from crowdfunding to release. Originally available to Kickstarter backers, you (a member of the general public) can now buy and watch it for a measly dollar.
I haven’t seen the doc yet but I’m excited to dig into it later this week—not just because Pillars of Eternity is one of the best games of the year, but because I’m interested in the process. Remember when DVDs came packed with feature-length docs about the making of films? I used to consume those. It’s fascinating to watch top-tier talent work on a project, or struggle to work on a project as the case may be. And it gives the public some measure of useful insight.
The latter is something that’s desperately needed in gaming. Plenty of people consume games. Few people know what “making a game” entails—budgets, staffing needs, time required, et cetera. How do 100+ people come together and push a game out the door?
Double Fine’s Broken Age documentary (which also began life as a Kickstarter reward) was a good first step in unmasking that process, and The Road to Eternity looks to follow on its heels. And while any self-produced documentary will of course leave the studio looking good in the end, The Road to Eternity promises “testimonials about the bleak lows and the dizzying highs of their journey” (emphasis mine).
I suspect when we eventually close the book on Kickstarter, its lasting legacy will be less about the games that came from it and more about how it pulled back the curtain on a traditionally-secretive industry. Or, at least, I hope that’s the case.