Interplay re-forms Black Isle Studios

Interplay re-forms Black Isle Studios

Black Isle Studios, responsible for some of the best role-playing games ever created, is coming back - but without its original staff.

Role-playing giant Black Isle Studios could be back from the dead - but those involved in the company's original incarnation claim to have no idea what's going on.

Responsible for some incredibly fondly remembered turn-based titles including the original Fallout games, Planescape: Torment, and the Icewind Dale series - plus for publishing, although not developing, the two Baldur's Gate games and their expansion packs - Black Isle Studios was formed in 1996 and named for Scotland's Black Isle, homeland of company founder Feargus Urquhart.

Parent company Interplay enjoyed the success of the company's titles, but as the market moved away from turn-based games to real-time titles its popularity dwindled. The company played with real-time console action-RPGs, developing the sequel to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 after the original game's developers left to create the rival Champions of Norrath series, but its days were numbered.

When Interplay dissolved the company in 2003, it cancelled several promising projects including an isometric Fallout 3 codenamed Van Buren and a third Baldur's Gate game. Now, however, the company claims to be back and ready to pick up where it left off - but something seems a little off.

A new Black Isle Studios website makes the claim, stating that the company is back for good - and Interplay's boss has confirmed the news. 'It really feels like getting the band back together as we're seeing opportunities not available to us before,' claimed Interplay chief executive Herve Caen of the studio's reopening. 'Given our unique position, expanding online and mobile platforms, and renewed interest in our proven properties, I see an incredible success potential for Black Isle Studios.'

According to Caen, the studio will concentrate on publishing innovative role-playing titles - just like the old days. Unlike the old days, however, it seems that the company will be made up of entirely new staff - a rebirth, in other words, in name only.

Chris Avellone, who left the original Black Isle to join Obsidian Entertainment, has denied any link to the newly reformed company, stating via Twitter that 'I know nothing about the Black Isle Studio news announcement, [it] doesn't involve me or Obsidian[,] or well, anyone that I know' - meaning that Obsidian chief executive and Black Isle founder Urquhart, who has remained silent on the news, is clearly not involved either. Interplay co-founder Brian Fargo has also expressed surprise, stating that there is 'not enough info for me to comment.'

Interplay is currently cagey regarding details of the new Black Isle Studios, but if it leads to true sequels to Baldur's Gate and Fallout we'll be jumping for joy.


Discuss in the forums Reply
SMIFFYDUDE 23rd August 2012, 10:22 Quote
Would be nice if we saw some old skool PC only isometric RPGs from them.
No original staff is a bit of a worry though.
Gareth Halfacree 23rd August 2012, 10:24 Quote
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
No original staff is a bit of a worry though.
Yeah, that's the bit that concerns me. To be fair, I don't know that it won't have *any* original staff - just that every original staff member I've looked in to knows nothing about the project. Assuming any of them still talk to each other, that's surprising if there *are* original Black Isle members involved.
Tyrmot 23rd August 2012, 10:49 Quote
Expect to see a F2P Baldur's Gate MMO announced any day now then... ^^
Hovis 23rd August 2012, 11:44 Quote
No original staff = Brand necromancy. There's no value to the pedigree when a company does this.
Blazza181 23rd August 2012, 11:55 Quote
Originally Posted by Hovis
No original staff = Brand necromancy. There's no value to the pedigree when a company does this.

They're essentially going to be the Sugarbabes of the gaming world.

A stunning comparison, I know.

Sent from my Orange San Francisco using Tapatalk
jamesislush 23rd August 2012, 13:32 Quote
If a new Icewind Dale is released, it will be a very happy day!
KMS-oul 23rd August 2012, 14:54 Quote
Hmm resurrect a studio that is known for certain style of product yet don't hire have any of the staff that shaped that studios identity in the first place...... yay.
Fizzban 23rd August 2012, 15:17 Quote
Some of the staff work at Obsidian don't they? There are also supposed to be some working on the Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition that is in the works.
dolphie 28th August 2012, 00:31 Quote
Lemme guess they are going to pump out a bunch of cash ins that all play like Dragon Age 2.
mclean007 28th August 2012, 06:42 Quote
Originally Posted by Blazza181
They're essentially going to be the Sugarbabes of the gaming world.
Brilliant. Rep++
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