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Black Isle, Fallout 3 Dead

More bad news at Black Isle Studios, where lead designer J.E. Sawyer resigned just last month (story), as Farewell, but not goodbye on the Interplay Entertainment Forums (thanks Nels Nelson) is a post from Damien "Puuk" Foletto that indicates that the studio is now shut down, referring to today as his "last day at the (former) BIS." This follows suit with a note sent along by designer John Deiley:

Today marks the end of an era. Black Isle Studios is no more. In yet another sweeping layoff of employees, Interplay has officially let go the last of it's Black Isle employees (save two that I know of) and dissolved the division. Also, the non-announced title that the division was working on, Fallout 3, has been "shelved" to quote management.

104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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104. Dear Interplay Dec 17, 2003, 02:19 Powerflinch
The next game I buy from you guys WILL be Fallout 3.

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103. Re: No subject Dec 11, 2003, 03:30 Troll
Yes, they were good, but not very good. Certainly not as excellent as the BIS games.

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102. No subject Dec 10, 2003, 17:10 PHJF
All three of those were good...

Well Arcanum wasn't too great, but still.

“The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn. Ok?"
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101. Franchises are bad for you Dec 10, 2003, 14:55 Troll
Let me start with the obligatory
The Fallouts and PS:Torment were my favorite CRPGs too.

However: You guys have to realize that besides the just discussed problem that the industry is increasingly going after consoles in an attempt to make a profit, it is also putting out more sequels and franchise / license based games than ever before. This too is a bad thing because game developers are forced to work on an endless stream of remakes rather than trying to create truly original, eventually experimental games. I may have a hard case proving my point here, because I'm willing to bet that all upcoming games most of you are eagerly anticipating are sequels or franchises. This is only in part your falult because very few original titles have been announced over the last few years. On the other hand, the reason you all like sequels is because you expect that the sequel will be more of your last favorite game, only better. On the other hand, a new game that you have no clue about (someone just mentioned he initially steered clear of Torment because the PS universe was **an uncommon franchise** and he was unfamiliar with it.) is not neccesarily so attractive. However -- in reality, there is no reason a developer can't screw up a sequel if they try to be innovative (see DX:IW). Alternatively some developers have no probem re-releasing exactly the same game in the form of sequels countless times. So remember: Developers make sequels because Publishers tell them to, and they will do so as long as you keep putting them first. I'm certain that a lot of people just bought DX:IW because they loved the predecessor, and even more have bought that sad matrix game because they liked the movie (and part 3 was not out yet!).

I for one would be happier to see something fresh and new rather than a Fallout 3, even though, as I said, the fallouts were favorites. Fortunately there were several recent attempts at original crpgs (Morrowind, ArxFatalis, Arcanum, etc), unfortunately none of them were very good.

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100. Yeah I know Dec 10, 2003, 10:38 Noctis

I know how you feel. Thief I/II were some of the best games ever created and Looking Glass was awesome. I don't know what will happen. I hope they don't mess it up. Should I say MOO3? (no offense to anyone that liked it, but you would have to agree it was a drastic change over previous MOO titles) It does seem too easy to kill people. I remember playing it and shooting an arrow at a guard in the head and he died *if* he wasn't aware of you. Which is how it should be(if he doesn't have a helmet or you shoot him in the face), because a guard should be able to either dodge, deflect, or jump out of the way if he as aware. He is trained for that right? I haven't had much faith in ION after the attitude of Deus Ex, after it came out. We will release the SDK... oh wait we only have 2 people working on it so it will take a few months. I mean I loved the game. I haven't played DX2, so I don't know. I would have to say a flamethrower should not use the same ammo as a handgun! The unified ammo system turned me off right away. I downloaded the demo but I haven't got there yet. I will definately keep my eye on Thief 3, and if they mess it up... Anyway, I hope the MOO3 tradition doesn't continue... Fallout 3, Thief 3... its all about the 3 baby, when the peril comes into play lately.

This comment was edited on Dec 10, 10:41.
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99. damnit Dec 10, 2003, 04:16 imposeeugenics
i wish someone would have just kicked me in the junk. truly a sad day for gamers, whether they realize it or not.

you will be missed.

who's up for burning down interplay's head quarters?

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98. bi Dec 9, 2003, 23:57 Dantastic
i've never heard of black isle but i am sad anyway it sounds like it was a fun game

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97. No subject Dec 9, 2003, 23:50 Silicon Avatar
> It has nothing to do with
> lack of time, it has
> EVERYTHING to do with the fact
> that society and people in general
> are getting dumber

Maybe people are just shifting priorities. The RPG market consistently cycles because the gaming geeks demand ever more complex games - right up to the point at which hardly anybody wants to play them.

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96. Re: Why exactly Dec 9, 2003, 23:06 Dr Freak
Ya know what slays me? After all this crap.. I was thinking "man, am I even interested in anything from Interplay other than BIS? Let's see what they have." So I go to, and their entire front page is plastered with images, ads, and quips about... "Fallout: BOS", "Lionheart", and "BG-Dark Alliance 2"... ALL BIS GAMES...

christ on a crutch....

This comment was edited on Dec 9, 23:07.
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95. No subject Dec 9, 2003, 22:18 Nonicknameforme
It might take 5 more years, but there will be a Fallout 3.

"I'm too much of a narcisist to really hate stupid people."
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94. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 21:39 AgentZero
man, Looking Glass were my favorite developer ever alongside BlackIsle. No-one made games with the quality those two developers sprinkled on their products.

(BTW - I crossed Thief 3 off this list after seeing DX:IW. Anyone else disagree this will be "streamlined" as well?)

I don't. After seeing all the movies it seems so easy to kill people. YOU'RE A THIEF NOT AN EXPERT SWORDSMAN FOR FUCKS SAKE, MAKE IT HARDER!! Hopefully it will have the options like Thief 1 & 2 did where changing the difficulty will make a big difference to the gameplay objectives but I doubt it seeing how its being made for console. Hopefully it will be a classic but I dont have high hopes.

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93. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 21:21 DedEye
I used to be able to look forward to a dozen titles off in the future for the PC, but now????

Not to worry; something will come out of nowhere and blow you away

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92. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 20:40 Istari

Good summary of the PC market. I don't mind having fewer games for PCs than the consoles - that's the nature of the demographics.

What really burns me is that I can't think of ANY games being designed with that PC demographic in mind, with the exception of Half Life 2 & Tribes: Vengeance. We'll see what Bioware does with their PC-only RPG. (BTW - I crossed Thief 3 off this list after seeing DX:IW. Anyone else disagree this will be "streamlined" as well?)

I used to be able to look forward to a dozen titles off in the future for the PC, but now????


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91. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 20:33 DedEye
3) And all the way at the bottom, we have Interplay. Just don't release anything on PC. Fuck the guys who actually made you great.

There was a time when "By Gamers, for Gamers" meant something. Sadly, that time has passed.

I will agree that ignoring the console market is stupid for a developer, since there is a LOT more money to be made in it.

I posted some thoughts on this at the Avault a few moments ago, and I'll repeat them here.

Over the years there have always been more console sales than PC, and that will never change. The reason being is that they're cheaper than a PC, the average parent can relate to a "video game" versus "electronic entertainment", they can also relate to it as an "appliance" in that they require a minimal amount of skill/intellect to setup and use, and because they're directed towards a more mainstream market, you find many many more titles, and a large percentage of family titles.

PC games on the other hand assume that you have the disposable income required to own a decent rig, and have the requisite skills and knowledge for operating, and maintaining, a PC. By its very nature it is more sophisticated and people with these qualifications tend to be adults. This is reflected in the percentage of titles rated M versus E. Needless to say this is, and always has been, a much smaller market.

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90. Re: Fallout 3 Dec 9, 2003, 20:16 Camaro76
Who else thinks that if they release Fallout 3 only 15% completed with a running time of 20 minutes and a $50 price tag, it would still sell several million copies?

First, they'd have to 'streamline' the gameplay elements (i.e. get rid of everything that made the previous games fun), redesign the HUD so that it looks like you're viewing the world through a 55-gallon drum, and make every single weapon use the same ammo pool, including the bladed ones. Intelligent design decisions such as these will no doubt guarantee success!

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89. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 19:42 Creston
I've had these conversations many times, and the reality is that most people don't have the time or interest in spending more than 20 hours on a game. Think about how much free time you have when you are working full time, have family responsibilities, etc. Fifty hour epic games just aren't realistic.

I think that's just hot air people blow up to not have to face the fact that their attention spans are below that of a five year old.
I work, I'm married, yet I have the time, and find the time to play games. Obviously, games are most likely a much bigger factor in my life than they are in that of the casual gamer, but even so, I fail to see WHY a game has to be short enough that "The Average Gamer", with his attention span that's just long enough to watch Britney wiggle her way out of another dress, can finish it in a week.

A friend of mine, just as big a gamer as I am, has far less free time to spend on games than I do. He buys a game, then spends his next five or six weeks just playing that game.

It has nothing to do with lack of time, it has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that society and people in general are getting dumber than fuck, need their entertainment spoonfed to them (look up some numbers for book sales...), and get bored with ANYTHING within five minutes. In ten years time, if developers keep adhering to this kind of stereotype as "The standard for gaming", we'll have videogames that last five fucking minutes (which is about how long kids in my wife's classes can manage to listen before they start whining how they're bored etc.)

I will agree that ignoring the console market is stupid for a developer, since there is a LOT more money to be made in it.
However, there are several ways to "do it".

1) Bioware. KotOR on Xbox, redone for the PC. Still has throwbacks to the Xbox controls, but it works on the PC, and looks a BILLION times better on PC, 1600x1200, FSAA, better sound etc.

2) Ion Storm. Make the exact same game, fucked up controls, looks and runs like shit, but at least they RELEASED it on PC still. (and have been promising a patch now for over a week, watch it come out in two weeks and be nothing more than the five .ini tweaks that gamers themselves found)

3) And all the way at the bottom, we have Interplay. Just don't release anything on PC. Fuck the guys who actually made you great.

I will smile happily when the inevitable news of Interplay's (AND Vivendi's) demise appears here on Bluesnews.

The End, I'm sorry to hear that you guys got so royally shafted. I hope you and the others will be able to find a studio that appreciates your talents and the effort you put into titles soon.


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88. Theory: Lack of Familiarity Dec 9, 2003, 19:02 Istari
I think the interesting test case would be to take an established franchise (Baldur's Gate, KOTOR, Deus Ex), and make a complex, hardcore PC-only game using that franchise.

I say this because I wonder if part of the reason for the PC flops is that they were unfamiliar subjects (Planescape? I remember looking at the box and scratching my head, not knowing what it was. Only after reading glowing reviews did I take a risk).

If a speculative Baldur's Gate 3 - a game using a very established "hook", but made with a plot and dialogue as rich as Planescape: Torment - bombed badly in the marketplace, I think we'd have to concede that the hardcore audience is just too small to support our passion.



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87. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 18:57 Istari

Fair points re: the gaming audience.

However, I would answer that I would "ignore that market" because there are already so many people fighting for a share of that pie. There are dozens of short, "accessible" (or "streamlined" to use Ion Storm's new phrase) games already in the marketplace, aimed at the casual player. Any new game has to compete with all the dozens of titles out there already. How many serious, deep PC games have come out recently? Seems like there's a market niche waiting to be exploited.

Second, I'm not sure about that 80% figure. If I recall, PC gamnes are about 27% of the market, and remember that the remainder of the market in consoles is divided up among several players. It's not like there's some monolithic Console(tm) out there that singlehandedly captures 73% of the market. PC and X-Box market are about the same in market share.

I'm granting you the underlying premise - that the console market is larger than the PC, and has been faster growing in recent years. Yet I think the case is overstated too often. Break down those numbers, and it's not quite as bad as people think.


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86. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 17:35 Valtyr

We'll miss you, good luck for the future!

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85. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 16:39 Satertek
I don't think Bioware would want to buy it, right now there working on their own, totally original game.
Can't wait for that.

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104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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