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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 2.
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84. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 16:34 Miles
Istari asked "Why do good games not sell??"

I work in retail, selling games. There are two things going on here. First, as the number of people playing video games grows, the majority of the newer gamers are interested in shorter games. 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.

The second issue is related to the above. The vast majority of the growth in gaming is happening on the console side. That's just reality. Consoles represent 80% of the gaming market. When you invest millions of dollars and years of work, you can tell me why you would ignore that market in favor of the PC market.

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83. Re: Curse them for this Dec 9, 2003, 16:00 nin
but in the end decisions like shutting down talented developers and canning the sequel to a hugely popular franchise will bring Interplay down anyway.

I hope so. They've got it coming...
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82. Curse them for this Dec 9, 2003, 15:45 Grul
The shutting down of Black Isle Studios is an atrocity that should be punished. I was considering starting a petition for boycotting Interplay products from this day forth, but in the end decisions like shutting down talented developers and canning the sequel to a hugely popular franchise will bring Interplay down anyway. The only thing that can be done is to mourn the tragedy this is. The game community has lost something great today.

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81. No subject Dec 9, 2003, 15:34 Waldo555
'Bioware doesn't know how to make non-shit combat and anything besides FedEx quests. But I'm willing to bet if Interplay sold the Fallout license they'd be the first to snatch it up.'

Absolute rubbish. You might not like some of the cliches of the Forgotten Realms setting they like to recycle, but at least have the decency to disassociate that 'taste' from their general gaming credentials.

Bioware is one of the few great pc orientated game developers left, and probably the most communicative and responsive developers in the whole industry. It is more than a little ironic that you are hyper critical of a game dev who still focuses on PC games and is committed to not go after quick console bucks at the expense of PC titles in a thread about the death of the greatest RPG minds ever who were passed over because of console cash mediocrity. PC focused game devs are already a dying bread, we don't need such exaggerated anal retentive attitudes feeding the publishers ambivalence towards our platform.

Anyway, if you want to talk about hollow fed-ex quests and mind-numbingly banal combat then Bethesda’s massively overrated Morrowind is where it is at.
This comment was edited on Dec 9, 15:40.
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80. It's Dead Dec 9, 2003, 15:13 The End
Being a member of the team I can tell you what they were thinking. The new head honcho doesn't like PC games and has even stated that in the past. Its pretty obvious he was responsible for the death of BIS. There was alot of bad feelings between BIS and the rest of the company since BIS actually produced titles on a regular basis instead of dicking around like everyone else. It was all politics.

So now they have bet the future of the company on 2 unproven projects. Fallout BOS2 (the first hasn't shipped and everyone knows its going to tank) and a console game based on the Exalted license. So instead of supporting the team working on Fallout 3 which has a proven record and was FAR along in development, they rest the future on the unknown.

You can be sure Interplay will sell the Fallout license to someone else. They've made short-sighted quick money decisions in the past (Hunter license is an example). They figure they can sell it off for a quick buck and save all the development money while losing any long term profit. Brilliant.

They will survive for awhile since Vivendi is stupid enough to keep giving them money. Also when BGDA2 ships that will give them a big stack of money so they will screw around all next year on these dead end titles until the money finally dries up and they go under. They might survive until the end of next year if they don't lose all of development. No one trusts them now so everyone still there is actively searching for jobs.

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79. Re: This blows Dec 9, 2003, 13:38 Silicon Avatar
Question: Why doesn't story-rich game foo sell that well?


It's time management. Most people have X hours of "play time" per week and they want to maximize it. Having to surf through a 30 hour "story" that isn't really THAT great to begin with (especially when you are 25+ and have played all this crap before under a different guise anyhow) gets old.

FPS games and the like are easy to sit down and get immediate satisfaction from. Complex RPGs are not. It's not hard to understand.

Avatar 18037
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78. This blows Dec 9, 2003, 12:14 Noctis
I doubt interplay will recover. I thought it was dead too. Interplay is like the Beetle. They try to survive by nesting in your eye socket(which can be very irritating, you would ask why the hell it would choose to nest there), but just end up on the bottom of your boot. Sell Fallout 3! Woop woop. I perfer Trokia or Bioware. I didn't like Trokia with Arcanum though. It was ok, but I have played better.

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77. OMFG Dec 9, 2003, 10:52 Flo
I desperately hope that in some twisted way, Bioware gets the fallout licence and does something with it. And yea, I do agree with Armengar #76, the KOTOR interface was "consolidated".
Anyway, the worst news I've heard for a very long time.....
Supporter of the "Chewbacca Defense"
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76. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 10:15 Armengar
KOTOR interface sucked donkey.
why couldnt we have an NWN style of drag and drop? The interface was clearly console skewed. click and cycle?

Its not the cough that carries you off but the coffin they carry you off in.
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75. Re: Why exactly Dec 9, 2003, 09:23 vacs
It's sad that the world's best gaming licenses are owned by some of the most fucking stupid morons ever to disgrace this planet.

Welcome to the real world, Creston!

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74. From a gamer: heartfelt thanks to BIS Dec 9, 2003, 09:08 wipeout
I have been playing games for most of my life, starting in the mid-to-late eighties and am still a keen gamer now.

While I have played numerous memorable games on various platforms, I must thank the team at Black Isle Studios for producing what in my opinion is simply the best game of all time: PlaneScape: Torment.

Your dedication to the art of crafting amazing computer role-playing games went above and beyond the call of duty. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience your masterpiece.

It's a sad day to see BIS close, but I hope that the talented individuals that comprised this team will move on to accomplish grander and greater deeds. If you decide to change the directions of your lives, please do so knowing your dedication and ingenuity has produced something so wondrous that at least one man would be happy to shout you beers all night were our paths to cross.

A heartfelt thanks like no other in my time gaming goes to you all.

(wow. that was rather sentimental, but that just goes to show how PS:T transcended the medium.)

This comment was edited on Dec 9, 09:10.
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73. Why exactly Dec 9, 2003, 08:54 Creston
is Interplay still in business? They haven't produced anything of note in the last three to four years, as far as I can remember they were pretty much bankrupt two years ago, and they're STILL hanging around fucking shit up?

It's sad that the world's best gaming licenses are owned by some of the most fucking stupid morons ever to disgrace this planet.


Avatar 15604
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72. Re: Piracy Dec 9, 2003, 08:09 Mad Max RW
This has nothing to do with piracy. Over the past several years Interplay made some REALLY bad decisions. They sold off a number of licenses which could have easily put them on top (The Matrix, for one), cancelled projects that were in development for 2 or more years, and the few games they release suck balls and don't sell (Lionheart, Run Like Hell).

This comment was edited on Dec 9, 08:10.
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71. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 08:08 Fillem
The KOTOR interface was a horrible piece of console crap, far from worthy of a PC game.

I thought (pretty sure actually) that they redesigned the whole interface?
I had no problems whatsoever with it (apart from the frankly horrible inventory management :-))

Utterly surpised at the end of Black Isle though!
I thought each game they produced/designed did pretty good on the market?

This comment was edited on Dec 9, 08:09.
"Porno laughs are not funny, ok?"
-David Brent-
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70. Piracy Dec 9, 2003, 07:58 BigAlski
I have to agree with you about Piracy Beaver. I remember the days (early 1998ish) when there were a lot of shit titles on the store shelves and gamers, generally, were getting ripped but by 1999 most titles were quality and the industry was maturing in the way they treated gamers. Unfortunately, this era brought about rampant piracy and small time developers certainly got cheated. Selling 140,000 copies would have saved a lot of smaller units but piracy just kept the sales too low.

Its almost ironic, I have always paid for my games but full grown adults I know bootleg all the time. I am a full time college student and work at a pizza parlor as well and the assistant manager there always asks me "hey can you burn me a copy of this and that game", etc, etc. Plus I think a lot of parents turned a blind eye to piracy in the late 1990's before the digital recession because that 50 bucks would have been out of their pockets so why did they care if lil' Billy downloaded some warez?

As far as Fallout going down the tubes, its a shame. The game sure was great, and we all dreamed of a MMORPG/FPS in the universe, which will alas never come to be. Its too bad some of the great titles never saw the full implementation of 3d technology. When I played KOTOR for the first time the other day, I couldn't help but get the sense of shallowness in it and wonder what it would be like in 3d if it was Fallout. Oh well :(.

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69. Re: SELL IT TO TROIKA! Dec 9, 2003, 05:58 Typhon
Actually those games just prove that Troika shouldn't be making engines

sounds like bethesda...imagine what bethesda could do with a stable engine environment.....

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68. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 04:30 neg
But given the PC port of KOTOR (from what I've heard, they went back to the original concept art and completely redid the textures for high-res, not to mention reworking the interface) and given the way they've listened to the community's input on Neverwinter Nights (the OC was good, SoU was terrible, HotU is--apart from the whole severely broken multiplayer--worthy of note) they MIGHT be trustable with the Fallout license.

The KOTOR interface was a horrible piece of console crap, far from worthy of a PC game.

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67. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 04:05 Dwarf_Snowninja
*sniff* You guys will be sorely missed. I'd have to agree, sell the license off to troika, if they combined the story of arcanum with the combat system of ToEE (its a nearly flawless rendition of 3.0, that alone is amazing) it would be a masterpiece. I highly doubt they'd sell it though, much more likely they'll hang onto it and milk it for all its worth, disposing of it when its a withered shell of its former glory.

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66. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 03:56 tacomodo

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65. Re: No subject Dec 9, 2003, 03:42 Belmont
Its not that BIS went under its that interplay is going under due to series of crap games and no block busters. BIS really only made two good games Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment. J.E. Sawyer's Jefferson project seemed like it would be really good but interplay only extended its D&D contract for console titles killing that project. At least we will get to see Interplay burn for killing two potential great games(oh and perverting the Fallout liscense with the upcoming FOBOS)as they only have around seven million dollars and have pushed all their christmas releases back tell next year.

"Choice and Consequence." Gareth 'Section8' Davies on the key ingredients of an RPG.
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104 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 2.
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