Obsidian just had one of its best years ever, without releasing a single RPG

Obsidian Entertainment released not one but two of my favourite games of 2022. It shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that the studio has been keeping me entertained for the better part of 20 years. Formed by former Black Isle developers who had grown dissatisfied with struggling publisher Interplay, it went on to create several GOATs, including Fallout New Vegas and Knights of the Old Republic 2, establishing itself as one of the best RPG developers around. What’s surprising, then, is that neither of its 2022 releases were RPGs. 

Roleplaying is woven into the fabric of Obsidian. The genre is an integral part of its legacy and continues to be what the studio is best known for—whether it’s roleplaying as a super spy in the singular Alpha Protocol or traipsing through fantasy realms in the nostalgic Pillars of Eternity. Only BioWare has an RPG history this impressive. But while Obsidian has always been good for RPGs, RPGs haven’t always been good for Obsidian.

Lore time

(Image credit: Sega)

Until quite recently, Obsidian’s games had a reputation for being a bit rough around the edges. KotOR 2 in particular was infamous for its bugs and cuts, but every RPG the studio released came with a mountain of issues. The narrative that formed around these exceptional but janky games was one that placed most of the blame on publishers, suggesting that, had Sega, Bethesda or LucasArts given Obsidian more time or more resources, these problems could have been avoided. The reality is undoubtedly more complicated. 

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