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Black Day at Black Isle

A post to the Interplay Entertainment Forums (thanks RPGDot and PC Games Online) has word from Black Isle Studios' lead designer J.E. Sawyer that he is resigning his position. Here's the post:

I figured I'd post this here before DAC and NMA got the scoop! I am resigning from my position as lead designer at Black Isle Studios. I will not discuss those reasons here, but I will state that they are my reasons. I apologize to those who may be disappointed by my decision and congratulate those who rejoice at it. My last day will be November 21st.

From this point forward, I will not be discussing any aspect of Black Isle Studios projects that may be currently in development.

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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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22. Re: NDA Nov 8, 2003, 14:32 cappy
 
I still have hopes that Chris Avellone over at Obsidian could do something pretty good. He and Feargus seemed pretty like-minded in tastes, although there is always the endless debate of whether it would/would not be profitable to make another game in the vein of Planescape.

 
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21. No subject Nov 8, 2003, 13:29 Michael Bolton's hair dresser
 
I'm not a hardcore RPGer but I did play and enjoy both Fallouts and if what you said is true, then this definately doesn't look good for F3. :{

 
Dr. Michael Bolton's Hairdreser PhD, MD, LLP, DDS
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20. Re: NDA Nov 8, 2003, 09:40 Saint Proverbius
 
Actually it sounds like a Confidentiality Agreement built into his contract and others. Happens all the time in highly-competitive markets.

The loophole there is that Interplay hasn't been competitive for quite a while now enough to even be considered in the market. Anyone care to look up when the last time Interplay made a quarterly profit from selling *games*, as opposed to selling off licenses, development houses, or dev house contracts?

 
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19. Re: No subject Nov 8, 2003, 07:38 Pineapple Ferguson
 
I always admired J.E. for his knowledge, his obvious love of gaming, and his willingness to get involved with the community.

Good luck to him wherever he lands. I heard he's going to work on games for phones and other mobile devices (just kidding).

 
Avatar 15151
 
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18. No subject Nov 8, 2003, 03:54 Stemo
 
And the downward spiral for Interplay continues.
I just hope that when the company does finally go bankrupt they sell their intellectual property to a trustworthy publisher. Activision or Microsoft, maybe (certainly not EA or Atari).
-
As for Sawyer's departure, I suspect that Interplay was forcing design criteria upon Black Isle. They probably insisted that Fallout 3 be an omni-platform game with the PS2 as the lead platform.

 
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17. Re: NDA Nov 8, 2003, 01:40 Xombie
 
Edit: Yeah, I definitely don't want anything to do with this thread.
This comment was edited on Nov 8, 01:45.
 
Xombie x0mbie x0mb|e Xombie
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16. No subject Nov 8, 2003, 01:13 OneNightStand
 
Please don't screw FO3 up!
I rather it wasn't released than to have something like Ultima IX or UFO:Aftermath.
Or even better still transfer the development back to the original creators.

 
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15. Re: NDA Nov 8, 2003, 01:12 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Well that's it then. There are still a comple of talented guys left at Black Isle but the loss of J.E. is pretty much unrecoverable at this point. Unless Obisidian proves to be a decent dev (they certainly have the pedigree but then again so did Troika) the CRPG genre is essentially dead. Jefferson and Van Buren I will miss thee.

And enough with the Troika getting the Fallout license already. Tim Cain is the original creator, but the only 2 game's he's released in the past several years are both largely underwhelming and unfinished. I'd rather they let it die and move on.

Agreed. While I'm truly saddened that the last Fallout game will be a console 3rd person shooter the last thing I want to happen is for Saint Timmy to fuck Fallout's corpse.


 
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14. Re: No subject Nov 8, 2003, 01:05 raz-0
 
I'll take a stab at his reasons.

Interplay: fallout 3 needs to be like diablo.
JE: If I hear you say that one more time, I quit.
Interplay: fallout 3 needs to be like diablo.
JE: I quit.

Just my guess.


 
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13. No subject Nov 8, 2003, 00:39 OneNightStand
 
He sounds pissed......

 
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12. Re: Eek Nov 8, 2003, 00:24 Soylent Bob
 
Between this and the loss of everyone who left with Feargus and Chris Avalone to start Obsidian, plus everyone who left with Brian Fargo to start InXile, there really is nothing left to Black Isle but the name anyway.

 
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11. Re: NDA Nov 8, 2003, 00:05 Mad Max RW
 
For those who haven't been following lately, JE and his crew were busy with the currently unannounced Fallout 3. This is the second person to drop from the lead design position at Black Isle in the past several months. Both people claimed this was their dream game. It really makes you think.
Whatever his reason for leaving may be it still means Fallout 3 is more screwed now than it ever was.

And enough with the Troika getting the Fallout license already. Tim Cain is the original creator, but the only 2 game's he's released in the past several years are both largely underwhelming and unfinished. I'd rather they let it die and move on.

This comment was edited on Nov 8, 00:06.
 
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10. Re: NDA Nov 7, 2003, 23:27 Halsy
 
Sounds like a conflict over Fallout 3. I bet BI is going to screw it up royally and JE finally had and enough and didn't want his name attached to it.
Good on him if that's the case.
I think BI may as well fold, and sell the FO rights to a good developer. Maybe Troika. I'd like to see Tim Cain have a crack at the FO universe once more.


"Physical reality is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not operate, there is no reality."
- Mr. Spock
 
"And then, suddenly and without warning, it turned into a real-life case of hungry, hungry hippos."
- Stephen Colbert
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9. Well... Nov 7, 2003, 22:50 OCed_5150
 
anit we having a grand-ole time watching programmers leaving and gaming companies going down the tubes lately... <sigh>

I shall be the last! And you shall go first...
 
http://www.doom3xtreme.com
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8. Re: How was this game? Nov 7, 2003, 22:15 Belmont
 
Lionheart was only published by Black Isle Reflexive made it. It is sad to see Sawyer leave as he was basically the last person with talents fitting a lead designer. Meh I could see this coming though as the top people of Black Isle have been leaving the company in groups for the past year.


-Belmont
 
"Choice and Consequence." Gareth 'Section8' Davies on the key ingredients of an RPG.
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7. Re: NDA Nov 7, 2003, 22:06 Kxmode
 
Right which is usually a given. But Sawyer sounds psychotically adamant about not saying anything.

 
Avatar 18786
 
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6. Re: NDA Nov 7, 2003, 21:58 Hunterzyph
 
Actually it sounds like a Confidentiality Agreement built into his contract and others. Happens all the time in highly-competitive markets.

 
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5. NDA Nov 7, 2003, 21:36 Kxmode
 
Sounds like Sawyer got wacked over the head with the NDA clause upon his "dismisal" by Black Isle and Interplay.

 
Avatar 18786
 
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4. Re: How was this game? Nov 7, 2003, 21:31 Tom
 
Lionheart started off ok... ya, dated gfx, but other than that it was kinda fun. There were one or two major bugs that most people ran into, that took em a long time to fix. The net code SUCKED horribly, 3-player on a 100Mbit LAN was choppy!

But the real killer for Lionheart was the latter part of the game - I'm guessing the last third or so. I don't know for sure, since I couldn't bring myself to finish it. It just got so incredibly monotonous. Combat, combat, combat, and not the fun rampaging kind. The kind that gets dragged out because you have to sit around resting for so long after every fight.

Oh well. It was almost a good game.

This comment was edited on Nov 7, 21:32.
 
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3. Hang on there a sec J.E. Nov 7, 2003, 21:27 1stCold
 
Just a quicky Q. J.E... You couldn't tell us a little about any projects that might be in development at Black Isle Studi's could ya m8?

 
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22 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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