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Interplay shuts down Black Isle Studios

After months of bad omens, the end has finally come for the veteran RPG developer.

It looks like role-playing gamers will have a boulder of coal stuffed in their holiday stockings this year, as GameSpot has received reliable reports that Interplay has shut down Black Isle Studios.

While nothing has been confirmed by official sources as of press time, Damien "Puuk" Foletto, a member of BIS' art department, broke the news on the Interplay forums late this afternoon. "Today was my last day at the (former) BIS, as it was for my whole team," he said. To date, Foletto's posts have been one of the most reliable sources of news on the development of Fallout 3 (aka Van Buren) including the departure of his former co-worker J.E. Sawyer.

Black Isle's closure is a sad end for the once-great developer. BIS had a hand in some of the most acclaimed PC RPGs of the late 1990s, including the Fallout and Baldur's Gate series. Recently, though, the studio fell on hard times. Its forthcoming Dungeons & Dragons title, code-named "Jefferson," was canned earlier this year, reportedly a casualty of a legal tangle with D&D rights-holders Wizards of the Coast. A host of top-quality talent has fled the studio, including legendary producer Feargus Urquhart.

However, it looks like the financial woes of BIS' parent Interplay finally did the developer in. Interplay has lost over $20 million so far this year. Its two main holiday releases, the console RPGs Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (which was developed by BIS), were pushed back to next January as a result of another legal dispute, this time with distributor VU Games. Interplay's refocusing on console games may have also been a factor in the decision to shutter its more PC-centric subsidiary.

Regardless of the reasons, the closure of BIS will hit many gamers hard. Foletto's final post seemed particularly depressing. "I don't know where I'll end up," he said, "but [people should] know that we were all avid gamers and wanted to make the PC games that not only we wanted to play, but also the fans."

24 Comments

  • fLaMbOaStiN

    Posted Aug 13, 2010 9:53 am PT

    Yea i agree.. Seems like with Black Isle gone a lot of the good p/c games are gone now too.

  • ermhm

    Posted Aug 9, 2010 3:18 pm PT

    The saddest day for every RPG gamer in the world. I don't even play modern RPG's, they aren't worth my time

  • ChiefFreeman

    Posted Apr 8, 2010 7:57 am PT

    what a sad day that was.

  • Xquizite

    Posted Jan 25, 2010 8:04 pm PT

    Bethesda and BioWare, although great in their own regards, can never cover the hole left in my heart. CURSE YOU INTERPLAY!

  • WillDavis88

    Posted Jan 24, 2010 12:52 pm PT

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    *cry cry cry*

  • alert0

    Posted Dec 3, 2009 6:15 am PT

    @suresh
    I just love how righteous your anger is.

  • sureshmiton

    Posted Nov 11, 2009 9:14 pm PT

    The death of this company has now spawned the entrance of shallow games like Dragon Age. I miss Baldur's Gate series. Will there be a time again when we can play games like Baldur's gate? I guess not. The blind rush to games like Dragon Age that scored 9.5/9/10 on review sites by customers who don't know anything about RPG games have just nailed the coffin.

  • green_dominator

    Posted Sep 12, 2009 5:38 pm PT

    I know I'm beating a dead horse here but funk it.......
    To this day Black Isle Studios is one of the few studios I was devastated to see go next to Ion Storm [mostly for Warren Spector and Deus Ex], I love the Dark Alliance games I also liked everything else they did.......

  • lbptoady

    Posted May 9, 2009 9:30 am PT

    Dang!! I really wanted to explore my hometown! Screw this.

  • Malhound

    Posted Apr 5, 2009 12:53 am PT

    No more Dark Alliance!

  • iron_zealot7531

    Posted Feb 23, 2009 7:22 am PT

    I know this is six years belated but:

    WHY GOD WHY!!!!!

    THIS IS THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN SINCE THE BLACK DEATH!!!!

    anyway, these guys are responsible for the greatest RPGs of all time: Baldurs gate, Icewind Dale, Fallout, Planetscape: torment

    The fact that black isle no longer exists, despite thier amazing portfolio is surely a sign of the apocalypse

  • Mr_Versipellis

    Posted Feb 20, 2009 10:13 am PT

    Worst thing ever to happen to RPGs...
    Black Isle(Only just)>Bioware>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Bethesda

  • Jigsaw9798

    Posted Oct 2, 2008 3:31 pm PT

    Planescape Torment was the best game ever so RIP. Oh and dash9099, Black Isle Studios games would've sucked on any console, they're home is on the PC.

  • dash9099

    Posted May 15, 2008 2:58 pm PT

    If Interplay had gone with the PC Market instead of the console it'd be a different story today.

  • VampericX

    Posted Jul 27, 2007 4:41 pm PT

    I was wondering....such a shame I as well thought they made great rpg's...But like someone else said they really just turned it into obsidian.

  • ensignro

    Posted Jul 19, 2007 8:49 pm PT

    Duh, Baldur's Gate was programmed by BioWare, they are still around.

  • StrYgaR

    Posted May 4, 2007 4:03 am PT

    i still can't believe there wont be any more baldurs gate

  • fastpunk

    Posted Feb 15, 2007 5:43 pm PT

    Wow, that was a sad day! No matter, Black Isle still lives, only it's called Obsidian now.

  • teknocack

    Posted Jan 23, 2007 9:35 pm PT

    Why God, why?! Time to abolish money so all games will be labors of love. They may not all be good, but they will be from the heart.

  • Krass_of_nod

    Posted Oct 27, 2006 9:48 pm PT

    oh thats a real bummer i loved all the BIS games......*crys* hated intreplays games though they just sucked. To bad BIS had to suck up to the actually weaker people at interplay....

    BIS - gone but not forgotten.

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