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Neverwinter Rights

BioWare sends along a press release announcing that Neverwinter Nights, their upcoming 3D role-playing game, will no longer be released through Interplay as it has terminated its contract on the game after previously filing two lawsuits against the publisher (story). Here is an excerpt from the announcement, which does not mention a new publisher for the game:

On Thursday, November 29, 2001, Canadian software developer BioWare Corp. terminated its contract with Interplay Entertainment Corp. to develop its latest computer game, Neverwinter Nights. BioWare announced that, though it has ended its association with Interplay on the project, it is looking forward to releasing Neverwinter Nights on schedule, early in 2002. Development at BioWare is continuing on both Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic as well as on other as yet unannounced projects.

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19. Re: So.... Nov 30, 2001, 20:19 anon@63.80
 
The outlook for Interplay is grim and has just become even bleaker. The PC situation for Interplay breaks down like this:

Star Trek:
Interplay doesn't even have the rights to make Star Trek games anymore. Activision picked up all the Trek licenses more than a year ago. Interplay and Simon and Schuster had enough left on their licenses to finish out the products they already had in production and to support them for a year after release, but other than that, Activision is the only Trek publisher.

Sports:
Interplay "Sports" died a couple of years ago so they don't have sports games either--not that they really had any sports games anyway.

Shiny:
Microsoft owns the first few million is revenues from the Matrix game due to a deal Interplay cut awhile back to keep themselves afloat, so if the Matrix game doesn't do gangbusters business it will be a money loser for Interplay. The Matrix license is golden, and I hear that the Wachowski brothers are watching the development like hawks but this does not guarantee success. Shiny hasn't had a runaway hit since EWJ for the 16bit consoles, it's possible they may find a way to screw the pooch and fail to meet expectations again despite the favorable conditions. MDK, Messiah, RC Stunt Copter, Wild 9, and Sacrifice were all profit disappointments on some level, though a couple did garner critical acclaim. But good reviews do not equal money in the bank.

Black Isle Studios:
BioWare was the source of pretty much all the revenue from BIS. BIS has not released an internally developed title that reached the sales levels of the Baldur's Gate series. Fallout 2, Planescape Torment, and Icewind Dale didn't make a fraction of the money that BioWare's products did. They certainly have a track record for production critically acclaimed titles internally, but the sad truth is that they often just don't sell.


All in all Interplay is floundering, literally hemmoraging money and employees. If their console lineup is disappointing in sales then all is lost. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, their OEM division and their Valueware line cannot keep the company afloat forever.
 
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