Black Isle to publish new games based on classic Interplay IPs

It looks like games such as Planescape: Torment 2, Icewind Dale 3 and Baldur's Gate 3 could be on the drawing board for Black Isle Studios, according to a brief announcement on the release of the company.

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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.

Icewind Dale 2

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.
Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 22, 2012 8:50 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Black Isle to publish new games based on classic Interplay IPs.

    It Looks like games such as Planescape: Torment 2, Icewind Dale 3 and Baldur's Gate 3 could be on the drawing board for Black Isle Studios, according to a brief announcement on the release of the company.

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      August 22, 2012 8:54 PM

      It's in the story, but a clarification to this: Wizards of the Coast owns the rights to D&D rules and original D&D IPs. For these to happen, Interplay/Black Isle would need a WotC deal or possibly renew one they may have or have had.

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        August 22, 2012 8:59 PM

        Well, considering that they gave licenses to Turbine (D&DO) and Cryptic (Neverwinter), it wouldn't surprise me.

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          August 22, 2012 9:07 PM

          IIRC, Atari has exclusive publishing rights (or did, if it expired recently).

          And Atari fucking sucks.

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            August 22, 2012 9:11 PM

            Yes, I found that just after I published the story. I added that bit about Atari owning BG franchise rights.

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            August 22, 2012 9:23 PM

            Has Atari even done anything with the D&D license in the past few years aside from D&D Online? What a waste of a good license.

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              August 22, 2012 9:34 PM

              Nope. They've just sat on the license for the entire goddamn life of 4E, which, regardless of how anyone feels about the ruleset, is pretty much objectively the most suited to digital adaptation in the history of D&D.

              It's baffling to me that not a single game using 4E was developed and/or published, especially as RPGs have been becoming more accepted and mainstream.

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                August 23, 2012 2:46 AM

                That's a lie, they released Daggerdale.
                (It wasn't very good.)

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                  August 23, 2012 4:09 AM

                  Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that piece of shit. Of course, it used none of the actual 4e rules, just power names.

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      August 22, 2012 8:56 PM

      *swoon

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      August 22, 2012 8:56 PM

      Bleh, I'd rather not see a sequel to Torment or Baldur's Gate if it's not the original Black Isle doing them. I wouldn't even want a sequel to Torment by anyone at all (not counting spiritual sequels or other games in the Planescape universe)

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        August 22, 2012 9:08 PM

        Yeah, Torment doesn't need a sequel (nor does BG's Bhaal storyline), but additional quality games in those settings with good writing would be nice.

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        August 22, 2012 10:50 PM

        I absolutely do want another Planescape game. Not a literal sequel to the original games story of course (considering how it ends), but something set in the same universe? FUCK YES.

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      August 22, 2012 8:57 PM

      Well, I much rather the team behind the new BG EE overhaul do these, thanks. It sounds like someone had the idea to get a team together under the old name and try their hand at re-releasing these titles.

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        August 22, 2012 8:58 PM

        It sounds like Interplay is doing everything it can just to try to stay alive.

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      August 22, 2012 9:00 PM

      Yeah, fuck these guys.

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      August 22, 2012 10:11 PM

      I'm sorry, but just because they have the name, doesn't mean they have any experience with those IPs. Everyone who did is now working elsewhere. So if WotC decided to give them a new license, or even renew an old one, it would essentially be no different than handing the IP to a brand new team. And if Interplay is resurrecting the Black Isle name in the hopes of grabbing those IPs, I hope that WotC flat out tells them no.

      Unfortunately, I think some project has already been greenlit by WotC. Why else would Interplay resurrect the name at all? I can't see any good reason for it otherwise.

      The whole thing just stinks of a desperate cash grab by a company that hasn't been relevant for over a decade. I just hope that any true fan of whatever series they plan on working on doesn't fall for cheap smoke and mirror tricks. Make sure that it's a quality product worth attention, not just an old name playing to our nostalgia.

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        August 23, 2012 1:57 AM

        They're so clueless. First an MMO will save them (lol), now reviving a brand that only hardcore gamers remember is their next move? Problem with that is those same hardcore gamers know it's a hollow resurrection with none of the original staff. Idiots.

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      August 23, 2012 1:56 AM

      I picture Interplay as a once-beautiful zombie/corpse with no legs, clinging to life and slowly dragging itself along.

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      August 23, 2012 2:45 AM

      Everything is fucked.

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      August 23, 2012 2:48 AM

      Unless their plan is to purchase Obsidian to form this new team, I'm sad to see Black Isle's name resurrected for this endeavor. Anyone old enough to remember Black Isle is the type to read the gaming news and find out its just a cash grab without Obsidian on board.

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      August 23, 2012 3:43 AM

      there is a lot of good news happening in the pc gaming sphere lately. it almost seems like the generation of gaming for dummies is coming to close. That's a bit optimistic as a blanket statement, but there decent is line being drawn where developers are finally joining the long time gamers in saying enough is enough with stupidity being the fundamental tenant of gaming.

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        August 23, 2012 3:46 AM

        auto spellcheck catastrophe. the correction is: "there seems to be a line being drawn"

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        August 23, 2012 4:53 AM

        the pendulum's gonna swing back when new consoles come out soon

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      August 23, 2012 4:38 AM

      Someone please put a boot on these fuckers heads so I don't have to listen to them slowly gasp and gurgle to death anymore.

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      August 23, 2012 4:41 AM

      I would love to see a remake of "Messiah"

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      August 23, 2012 6:24 AM

      None of those names mean anything if the original creators are not attached, or someone with as much talent as those who made those games are attached. Right now it's like those Silent Hill sequels, not the original team and it shows.

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      August 23, 2012 7:22 AM

      Once again LOL. Interplay has no money and no one trusts the guys running the company as far as they can throw them.

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        August 23, 2012 7:47 AM

        How are they still alive? Seriously, like how the fuck are they even making salary on sales of 15 year old games?

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      August 23, 2012 7:50 AM

      Instead of trying to relive past glories, how about, I don't know, making a new game?

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      August 23, 2012 9:08 AM

      Hahahaha:

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-08-23-new-black-isle-intends-to-make-triple-a-rpgs-based-on-interplays-ip

      "It really feels like getting the band back together..."

      Yeah, if you were the bands road manager and didn't actually contribute to the music maybe.

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        August 23, 2012 9:12 AM

        seriously? I feel bad for anyone who is giving money to these assholes. They burned through so much making that Fallout MMO that never came to pass, what makes anyone think they can pull this off other than them lying about 'reforming the band' but without the original players.

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          August 23, 2012 9:13 AM

          and by seriously, i meant i didn't realize this was from the interplay jerkwads, not as a reply to your post.

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      August 23, 2012 1:18 PM

      I don't understand why everyone's hating on this. Sure, it's not the original guys but if they actually make good, deep RPGs like Black Isle used to, who cares? If they're smart enough to understand what us fans of Black Isle want bring on the new games. If it turns out that it's dumbed down trash, THEN we have something to complain about.

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        August 23, 2012 1:37 PM

        Because they are making it sound like it's the original players who made Black Isle what it was when it has nothing to do with any of that other than the name. This is Interplay, they are the Chevy Chase of the video game industry..they used to be good, but have spent the past decade and a half wallowing in their own filth.

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        August 23, 2012 1:44 PM

        The guys running Interplay are class A number one douchebags. Is that reason enough? Nothing will come of this.

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        August 23, 2012 2:21 PM

        You're predicating all your expectations on a name, even though everything that name stood for will not be attached to it. The new Black Isle Studios does not have its founders or any of the original team, no D&D license for any platform, no rights to the Fallout or Baldur's Gate properties and possibly not even Icewind Dale, and has a man who has wasted millions of dollars on projects that couldn't remotely be feasible.

        So tell me what's positive about this? It's an announcement from a talking head about a non-existent team which is insanely unlikely to garner even a single person from the original studio. If anything it's insulting to Obsidian, which pretty much is Black Isle Studios, who if you've forgotten, were all laid off by Interplay, hence why Obsidian was formed.

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          August 23, 2012 7:07 PM

          Would you rather the chance not even exist that they might put a team together with the goal of making good, deep RPGs? Sure, there's cause for skepticism and it should be understood that nearly none of the original employees are involved, but on the off-chance they actually do what they say they'll do and make black isle games this announcement isn't inherently a bad thing.

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            August 24, 2012 1:37 AM

            But they're consuming money, time, and resources that could be spent far more effectively somewhere else in gaming. I'd much rather that all the attention that Interplay is garnering now go to Overhaul Games and Beamdog, or Chris Avellon and the good folks over at Obsidian, who currently actually are working toward bring back those great deep RPGs we loved, because they're the people who made them in the first place.

            This new Black Isle Studios will be a massive disappointment without the people that made the original great and will never live up to its name sake. It'll be huge waste of time and money just like Interplay did with the Fallout MMO. Giving Interplay and their cash grab with the new Black Isle Studios a chance is like taking a huge pile of money out into the parklot and setting it on fire.

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      August 23, 2012 1:58 PM

      [deleted]

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        August 23, 2012 2:04 PM

        Are you kidding? It's a cash grab, why would they do that?

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        August 23, 2012 2:08 PM

        lol if it weren't for the property titles, how else would they dupe clueless investors into giving the money? It's why they fought tooth and bloody nail to keep the Fallout MMO rights.

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      August 23, 2012 2:28 PM

      Free to play or else 93% piracy right guys!

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      August 24, 2012 11:40 AM

      Sigh, RIP Fallout. Bethesda is the Wal Mart of gaming. I can't stand their practices and weak production values.

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        August 25, 2012 2:51 PM

        At least Bethesda isn't afraid to give a full size world and let players have freedom to play how they want. Bioware EA are the greedy controlling ones you should be hating on...

        I will say in regards to Fallout that while I disagree with you since I thought Fallout 3 was very good, Obsidian is who got it perfect with New Vegas. It's too bad the critics didn't see it for the masterpiece it is.

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