Black Isle to publish new games based on classic Interplay IPs

By John Keefer, Aug 22, 2012 8:50pm PDT

Black Isle Studios cryptically reappeared earlier today with no more than a brief mission statement on it relaunched web site stating that it wanted "to make the world's best RPGs." According to a brief release and statement from Interplay CEO Herve Caen, Black Isle is looking to put together a team to work on titles based on Interplay RPG IPs.

"Black Isle Studios returns to game publishing and is inviting the best talent to join its team to bring to market new AAA innovative RPGs based on Interplay’s critically acclaimed intellectual properties," said a release.

"It really feels like getting the band back together as we're seeing opportunities not available to us before," Caen said. "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."

Caen refused to elaborate on the statement when we asked if a studio head had been chosen yet, or if Black Isle would actively start working on a Planescape 2 or Icewind Dale 3. "For now, lets celebrate the Black Isle Studios re-launch. More news to come soon," he said.

The "renewed interest" Caen talked about could conceivably mean the positive press that Beamdog has generated with the upcoming Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition, and the buzz surrounding Wasteland 2, being developed by ex-Interplay founder Brian Fargo. Former Black Isle dev Chris Avellone has stated that he has "tempted" to start a Planescape Kickstarter.

But with this announcement, it appears that Interplay through Black Isle may be trying to get an inside track for a new D&D license from Wizard's of the Coast, or renew one (if one currently exists) for franchises and IPs they already have experience with. Such a coup would give Black Isle huge initial buzz, allowing it to capitalize on the renewed interest Caen talked about.

Black Isle has acted in the past as both developer and publisher, having developed Fallout, Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series, while publishing the Baldur's Gate games for developer BioWare. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for consoles was developed by Snowblind, but published by Black Isle.

Fallout would not be included as an Interplay IP now, however, since Bethesda purchased the rights to the franchise in 2007. Interplay held the rights to a Fallout MMO until January of this year when Bethesda took it over in a settlement with Interplay. A Baldur's Gate redux may also be tough as Atari took the rights for the Baldur's Gate series in a dispute settlement with Interplay in 2008.

Keep in mind that all of this is pure speculation at this point, and Caen did promise more news coming soon.

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