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Black Isle Studios reopens without involvement of original founders

Black Isle Studios is "back"--at least in name--and the company still wants to make great RPGs.


Black Isle Studios--at least in name--is back. The company, which closed in 2003 when publisher Interplay laid off the entire staff, quietly reopened its website with a brief statement: "Our goal has always been to make the world's best RPGs." The company certainly did that in its short history, creating such masterpieces as the original Fallout, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale.

However, most of the original Black Isle team have moved onto other projects, and many key members of the team have been caught off-guard by today's announcement.

Black Isle founder Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone started Obsidian Entertainment in 2003. Avellone tweeted after the relaunch of the web site that he was not involved, nor was anyone he knew, and Urquhart told Shacknews "It was news to us over here at Obsidian." Brian Fargo, who founded Interplay and was instrumental in making Black Isle a division of that company, tweeted that he didn't have enough information to comment on the relaunch.

A quick WHOIS search shows that Interplay CEO Herve Caen is still listed as contact for the site, and that he has continued to renew the domain since it came into existence in late 1997. The Black Isle Twitter feed has not been used as of yet, and the Facebook page only offers a history of the studio's games.

We've reached out to Caen for details and we'll update the story as we get more information.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 22, 2012 1:45 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Black Isle Studios reopens without involvement of original founders.

    Black Isle Studios is "back"--at least in name--and the company still wants to make great RPGs.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:58 PM

      Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me the type of folks who would know the Black Isle name enough for it to be valuable to them are also the type to notice this kind of news about it only being Black Isle in name

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        August 22, 2012 2:41 PM

        It's a gamble interplay is willing to take. It's all they have now.

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      August 22, 2012 2:05 PM

      one of my favorite studios ever, but none of the original members? meh.

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      August 22, 2012 2:11 PM

      It's like reviving the 'Atari''s nothing other than monetizing nostaglia.

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        August 22, 2012 2:16 PM

        Yeah if it's an Origin / Atari nostalgia cash-in, that will be in pretty bad taste.

        I'm holding judgment until we get more info though. It could turn out to be pretty cool.

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      August 22, 2012 2:14 PM

      Boo hoo. All the big companies that people blindly buy every game of have lost most of their key members anyway.

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      August 22, 2012 2:15 PM


      One the one hand, I can get enthusiastic about devs trying to make some more RPGs in the Black Isle form (if that's what's actually going on here).

      On the other, bringing back the name without bringing back any of the people seems like it can't really do anything but garner ill will from the start, which doesn't sound like a brilliant strategy.

      Or maybe they're doing something like BG:EE with the BI games? That would be rather keen.

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        August 22, 2012 2:17 PM

        I'm trying to follow up on that. I think Interplay still owns IWD and P:T IPs and if so, they could be looking at a BGEE style revival of the games or maybe even a Planescape 2.

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      August 22, 2012 2:21 PM

      Well hey I guess this won't be a bad thing if they do exctly what black isle did and not dumb it down. New blood is fine if they still make Black Isle games.

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        August 22, 2012 2:53 PM

        Pretty much this, make kickass isometric Tactical RPGs and so long as they aren't horrible I will love you forever.

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      August 22, 2012 4:10 PM

      I'd probably buy Icewind Dale III if it retained the combat heavy style of Icewind Dale II and kept in the possibility to grind for a little extra xp when I feel like it, unlike Dragon Age. Matter of fact throw in a little more exploration or an open world and I'll pre order it. Just saying...

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