Earthworm Jim, Descent, and other Interplay IPs are up for sale

The legendary developer/publisher will sell off more than 70 of its properties.

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Interplay president Eric Caen announced that it will sell off more than 70 of its intellectual properties (via US Gamer).

"Interplay has entertained millions of players with its well-recognized games, including Earthworm Jim, Freespace, Giants, Kingpin, Messiah, MDK, Run Like Hell, Sacrifice, Battlechess, Clayfighter, Dark Alliance, and Descent," Caen said.

Wedbush Securities is assisting Interplay in the sales.

For long-time fans, seeing the publisher-developer part ways with properties that helped define gaming during the 1990s and 2000s is one in a long series of stumbles for Interplay. In 2013 the company partnered with Subdued Software to remake Battle Chess by way of Kickstarter.

When the tandem fell short, Interplay rallied back in 2015 with Freespace: Tactics, a miniatures spin-off of the popular Descent Freespace brand. That, too, failed to gain traction. Some months later, Interplay took a different tack when it licensed the Descent IP to Descendent Studios; Descendent successfully crowd-funded Descent Underground, currently available on Steam access. (One wonders if Descendent might purchase Descent and put it toward future releases.)

Interplay was founded in 1983 by Brian Fargo. It began as a port house, industry parlance for a studio that paid the bills by taking contracts to port a publisher's game from one platform to another. Fargo later left and founded inXile Entertainment, through which he purchased the Bard's Tale and Wasteland IPs that allowed Interplay to clear its plate of port work and design unique titles.

Popular in its own right, Wasteland gave Interplay the momentum it needed to create Fallout, widely considered the standard bearer for post-apocalyptic RPGs. Black Isle Studios started as a division of Interplay, and its lead developers—names that include Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone—came up with RPG classics Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale.

Interplay was responsible for lending other start-ups a helping hand. Brian Fargo gave his friend Allen Adham contractual work when Adham's studio, Silicon & Synapse, was struggling to get off the ground. Thanks to Interplay's boost, S&S went on to become Blizzard Entertainment.

"As game creators, we are proud of the entertainment these properties have provided over the years," Caen went on. "With the proliferation of mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality and other new forms of consumption, we believe that consumers are ready to experience and interact with Interplay's characters, stories and gameplay in ways never possible before. We look forward to seeing how this unique portfolio of interactive entertainment icons will evolve for the worldwide audience."

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 8, 2016 12:47 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Earthworm Jim, Descent, and other Interplay IPs are up for sale

    • reply
      September 8, 2016 3:04 PM

      Groovy!

    • reply
      September 8, 2016 3:26 PM

      Who owns the rights to the Gorgar pinball table? I want to own the rights to the Gorgar pinball table.

      • reply
        September 8, 2016 4:01 PM

        I'mma let you finish, but F-14 Tomcat had the best Multiball of all time!
        Or maybe Pinbot. Pinbot was good too, but the play area was too stark.

    • reply
      September 8, 2016 3:32 PM

      BioWare swooping in to buy MDK?

      • reply
        September 8, 2016 3:38 PM

        Omg MDKVR. First person sniper hat, First person flying/gliding jump puzzles.
        3d vr Worlds Most Interesting Bomb unfunf

    • reply
      September 8, 2016 3:40 PM

      For the love of god someone other than those motherfuckers at gearbox pick up freespace.
      Volition needs to put all that saints row money to some good use here.

      Thank god gearbox shit the bed recently with their moba or this would be something for them to pillage, remove everything from GOG/Steam and release a half-assed anniversary edition of freespace for 20€.

      • reply
        September 8, 2016 3:44 PM

        aint that the truth

      • reply
        September 8, 2016 3:55 PM

        I thought people like what they did with Homeworld?

      • rms
        reply
        September 9, 2016 7:37 AM

        Mike Kulas & Matt Toschlog (formerly of Parallax, now Revival) somewhat wistfully talked during their Overload kickstarter of wanting to do a Freespace sequel afterwards. I'm hoping either they or Volition gets the IP. Descent itself, with the bad taste left after Descent Underground was offered it under the table, seems toxic to me; a shame.