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Black Isle Studios Shuts Down Development

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the bye-bye-president dept.

PC Games (Games) 392

Zonk writes "RPGDot has a story up right now about the closing down of development at Black Isle Studios. The information comes from an unnamed Interplay source, who says 'Any time you see the [Black Isle] logo on a future product, know that no one who was associated with BIS actually worked on it', as well as a post by BIS employee Damien Foletto on the Interplay message boards, and a Blue's News story that adds: 'The non-announced [PC] title that the division was working on, Fallout 3 [aka Van Buren], has been 'shelved', to quote management.' BIS, you will be missed." Black Isle are particularly known for work on the Fallout series, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.

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Nasty (5, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666518)

This is the first developer shut down that has stunned me since Looking Glass (System Shock, the Thief series...) went under.

Why is it the good companies go under, but the crap ones live on?

Re:Nasty (5, Insightful)

frankthechicken (607647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666605)

The good companies innovate, the bad ones copy success. Guess which one is more likely to succeed. Innovation is a risky business.

On a slightly related note, has there been a good business project management set-up in relation to the development of games? From everything I've seen and read about, the development seems so hodge-podge, it's remarkable any games succeed.

Re:Nasty (0, Flamebait)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666640)

like EA?

Nasty-The "cap" in capitalism. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666613)

"Why is it the good companies go under, but the crap ones live on?"

Because people are voting with their dollars, and crap is king.

Re:Nasty (5, Insightful)

tero (39203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666623)

Mostly because quality costs money. Putting a game through that one extra QA run probably means delaying the shipping date. Unfortunately the trend seems to be just that.. moving away from quality, towards 'assembly line' products (hopefully already licensed, so studios don't have to spend that much $$ on marketing). There are of course execptions (like the Baldurs Gate series and the Knights of the old Republic which do not fall into the 'license-and-ship' trap).
The gaming industry is more and more starting to feel like just another Hollywood branch. I wonder how long it takes before they'll start redoing old games, like they're doing with all old classic movies now?

Re:Nasty (5, Insightful)

smithwis (577119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666683)

Apparently you don't own a gameboy advance.

Nintendo has managed to repackage all the old mario games for the snes and nes and sell them for new(almost identical to the originals). This time, they weren't cool about releasing all the games in one cartridge(ala Super Mario Allstars).

And Nintendo is not the only one doing things like this on the Gameboy.

Re:Nasty (1)

shione (666388) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666636)

If you stand your ground and don't sell out, you get stamped on by those with more $$$.

This news saddens me too.

I'll miss you Black Isle. RIP with Looking Glass and Cavedog.

Re:Nasty (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666664)

This is the first developer shut down that has stunned me since Looking Glass (System Shock, the Thief series...) went under.

Why is it the good companies go under, but the crap ones live on?


I have a pirated copy of System Shock 2 and Fallout 2 on my shelf, that's why.

Individually it's not my fault but if enough people did it...

Needless to say, I've never felt worse about having pirated games and I would gladly dish out the price for both the old and the new game if I'd just get the sequels for the games I truly loved.

For what it's worth. Looking Glass, Black Isle Studios, I'm sorry.

Re:Nasty (1)

shione (666388) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666762)

You can still get Thief 1+2 and System Shock 2 on budget label but whether any of that gets back to the original developers depends on what terms of contract they signed.

Thief 3 is currently underway by the Deus Ex 2 guys. A System Shock sequel is a bit finicky since the rights to it are with 3 different companies.

I can't find Fallout 1 or 2 new anywhere. I hope it get the budget treatment one day...

Re:Nasty (4, Insightful)

instanto (513362) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666770)

You cant pin the demise of Black Isle on piracy.

Poor Management, Xbox, Greed, Suits and Deadlines are probably the more likely reason.

And maybe because crappy games sell - while stellar games - for a smaller audience - do not sell as much, why should'nt they make a hack'n slash that will sell a million titles, instead of a RPG that will sell 100,000.

Re:Nasty (4, Insightful)

morganjharvey (638479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666673)

You ever notice how the companies that produce crappy products and survive are the ones who play dirty?
Unfortunately, the creative sorts who have fairly robust morals and ethics tend not to survive too often in today's business world. How many companies with crappy products can you name that have succeded primarily because they've flexed their muscles? I can name five in under 15 seconds, and I'm tired.
Unfortunately, "normal" business practise now seems to include fighting dirty, and it's usually at the expense of the final product. As much as I know people would hate to hear it, every big company does it. Look at Apple, Microsoft, IBM, SCO... Yes, some of them have released quality products, but none of them would really be where they are today without a little bullying. Apple used to be extremely litigious, IBM has done more than their share of strong arming, and I'm pretty sure that you can fill in the blanks for SCO and Microsoft.
But some of the "favorite" companies fight just as dirty. Perhaps a company should be expected to be able to heft its weight around in order to gain a respectable place in the market. It's not something that I necessarily agree with, but it seems like you can't really survive with out it.
There's my rant for the evening. I've officially been pointed me down the road towards depression thinking about this. :( -mo

Re:Nasty (5, Interesting)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666702)

Why is it the good companies go under, but the crap ones live on?

My guess is that this is not the case (in particular). Game development houses tend to have awfully short lifetimes. They're often small. If developer Jones and Smith decide to move on to bigger and better things, there may not be much company left worth continuing with.

My guess is that you just notice when the good ones go out of business.

Try this. Dig out a bunch of old DOS games and try to locate the development houses that produced them. Some are still around -- id is still happily making games, for instance. A lot of them, however, are long, long gone.

Re:Nasty (3, Informative)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666764)

> Why is it the good companies go under,
> but the crap ones live on?

Good companies don't always make games that sell. Furthermore, third-party developers are becoming extinct -- the publishers have no need for them as they build their own in-house teams.

They've gone away by no fault of their own, save not being acquired three years ago.

And, where the reason? (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666523)

All it states in the quote is that Interplay has cut the BIS team. The rest of the quote is nothing but bashing Interplay

Re:And, where the reason? (4, Informative)

Drakin (415182) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666593)

Well, some of the reasons could be the following:

-Interplay has lost at least $20 million this year
-One of BIS forthcoming products was canned because of a legal mess with WotC
-thier 2 main consol releases, schedualed for the holidays were pushed back to January (one of them BIS produced), because of another legal issue (this time with a distrobuter)

In other words, they were hurting for money.

Re:And, where the reason? (1)

xcham (200708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666634)

WoTC? care to enlighten the rest of us not so familiar with these acronyms?

Re:And, where the reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666644)

Wizards Of The Coast

Most notably, they hold the trademark and other rights to Dungeons & Dragons.

Re:And, where the reason? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666655)

Wizards of the Coast, the company that made a boatload off Magic: The Gathering and took their earnings and bought up valuable properties like TSR.

Re:And, where the reason? (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666672)

As others have stated, Wizards of the Coast.

Black Isle Studios was working on another Dungons and Dragons based game, and Wizards of the Coast, the owner of the property, started a legal battle and Interplay quashed it.

Re:And, where the reason? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666799)

Good reasons, but poor conclusion. Theres basicly no question about BIS being a popular PC developer (fans of Fallout 1 and 2 are quite vocal) so economically, cutting off one of your best teams is not a good judgement. Unless BIS burned too much money with no results or seriously pissed off someone up the line, cutting off BIS and going console is a huge, unexpected shift. Especially for a company whos strengths have been in the PC market.

Re:And, where the reason? (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666632)

  • All it states in the quote is that Interplay has cut the BIS team. The rest of the quote is nothing but bashing Interplay
It's there in the bashing, apparently Interplay has decided the future is Console only, and is getting out of the PC game biz, at least as far as Black Isle Studio games are concerned.

gaming, inevitiably leaving its indie roots, (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666548)

black isle had a wonderful, hand-made game, made by gamers feel to their products, reminiscent of early origin and sierra. sadly those type of developers are becoming rarer. this sucks. i wish them all good luck.

It's all good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666796)

Don't worry, there's always GemRB [sourceforge.net] , the Infinity Engine clone :)

In fact, this is probably good news for GemRB, given that it requires the game data from Baldur's Gate or whatever :)

This is terrible (5, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666553)

BIS made some really excellent games, games that are remembered long after their day. Much like the old gold box games that were released way back when by TSR.

I lost many hours of my life playing through Planescape:Torment and all the other games delivered to us from Black Isle.

One wonders if Interplay have decided that money is no longer a desireable outcome of the game production money? Have they lost all inclination to produce new classics, as I'm sure Fallout 3 would have become?

Perhaps Interplay simply doesn't percieve a value in role-playing games like Fallout and Baldurs Gate and the likes on the consoles of the future. Games with writing are to be frowned upon in console-land, as you can't read text quite as nicely on a TV set. This falls nicely into my growing theory that consoles are causing the end of the brain era of gaming, and sending us back into pac-man twitch land.

Re:This is terrible (1)

captainkibble (725355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666617)

Why produce a well thought out, intelligent RPG that hundreds of thousands of people will buy when in the same time you can produce 10 shoddy platform games/beat-em-ups/1st person shooters that will sell millions? Its all about the money.

Sad but true.

Re:This is terrible (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666641)

  • Perhaps Interplay simply doesn't percieve a value in role-playing games like Fallout and Baldurs Gate and the likes on the consoles of the future. Games with writing are to be frowned upon in console-land, as you can't read text quite as nicely on a TV set. This falls nicely into my growing theory that consoles are causing the end of the brain era of gaming, and sending us back into pac-man twitch land.
Not all companies are going this route. While I must admit I really enjoyed games like Final Fantasy X and Xenosaga that were almost completely voice acted (and voice acted well, not with the company's janitors and secretaries), games like Disgaea have a mixture, but the story's primarily given to you through text. It is interesting to note that the company who made Disgaea is from Japan though, perhaps they still believe gamers are smart enough to know how to read.

Re:This is terrible (1)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666719)

I'm glad you mentioned Disgaea. That game had the most brilliant and engaging writing I've seen in a game in ages. There were a lot of "in-jokes", and the plot was more linear than something like a Black Isle RPG, but it proved that you can have great writing in a console RPG.

I'm not comparing Japanese RPG's to North American PC RPG's and saying one is superior; that's like comparing apples and oranges. A lot of people will like one and hate the other. But a game like Disgaea proves that it really is possible to have great storytelling in a console game...

Interplay wants to make money, not games (4, Insightful)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666651)

This is the sort of thing that happens when the intrests of the developer and the publisher diverge. Interplay wanted to make money, and probably worked its developers at a death march pace. No developer can sustain that for an extended period of time.

Interplay wanted Bioware to churn out its games faster and faster, and make them larger and larger. It also wanted to pay Bioware alot less then what they had coming. Since Bioware was not owned by Interplay, Bioware told them to f**k right off, and went to Infogrames / Atari.

I guess the same sort of crap went on at Black Isle.

Black Isle was owned, so they could not just walk away from Interplay. Their core group of experienced developers probably told their bosses to stick it where the sun doesnt shine, and took a walk. That, or they dug in and refused to work a death march. Either way, Interplay decided to shut down the studio.

Anyway, this is all guess work. But it seems plausible enough to me to explain what happened.

END COMMUNICATION

Interplay has Bioware. They don't need Black Isle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666773)

Look at Bioware's runaway success with Neverwinter Nights and Knights of the Old Republic.

Who needs Black Isle, whose latest title, Lionheart, got stinking reviews.

Black Isle's titles will probably be handled by Bioware from now on. They did the Baldur's Gate games before anyway.

Hopefully Bioware will pick up some of the Black Isle employees because of the closeness of the two companies.

It makes you a little sad, though, to think the media drooled itself dry over the mediocre Neverwinter Nights adventure despite serious flaws in the engine and simply an amatuerish story and then didn't give Lionheart much the same chance. I think people forget it was Bioware that brought us Baldur's Gate, Bioware just coded it up for them.

Let Interplay know (4, Interesting)

Slack3r78 (596506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666777)

Please, let Interplay know how you feel!

pr@interplay.com

The email I just fired off:
Dear Sir/Madam,

Let me open by saying I've been a long time supporter of Interplay, going back to the days of the old Star Trek adventures in the early 90's, and some of my favorite games of all time have been on the Interplay label. With that said, the news that Black Isle Studios has been shut down in order to pursue a console market which myself and many fans of Black Isle's titles have no interest in, I'm afraid that that relationship will be coming to an end. Interplay has demonstrated that they have no interest in me as a dedicated PC gamer, and as such, I can only assume that Interplay is no longer interested in my business.

While I'm normally not a believer in boycotts, the dissolution of one of the most talented group of developers in the industry in a misguided pursuit of the bottom line is more than I can ignore, and since it seems money is the only thing Interplay is listening to these days, I will be voting with my wallet. Perhaps those involved in the decision to cut Black Isle will comprehend the mistake they've made when the fans that have been so loyal to them move on.

Regards,
[Name witheld for Slashdot]

The collective cry of Fallout fans (3, Insightful)

Laplace (143876) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666562)

NOOOOOoooooooo.........

Re:The collective cry of Fallout fans (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666661)

The Fall [the-fall.com]
Not Fallout but a promising alternative.

NOOOOoooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666670)

Yeah... I'm sitting here crying now. Fallout 1&2 are the two best RPG games i've ever played. Great story, great atmosphere, great artwork.

Re:The collective cry of Fallout fans (0, Flamebait)

DarkGreenNight (647707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666716)

Nonono... the collective cry of Fallout fans is:

sigh... YEAH!

FO3 canned? well now with a bit of luck FOBOS will either flop or be canned and they'll need more money to stay afloat and perhaps they will sell the licence to someboy who will not place more whores and mutants!

Not because of BIS, but the managers wanted to whore the francise.

A huge loss with death of Fallout (4, Interesting)

agent oranje (169160) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666575)

Fallout was one of the finest RPGs I've ever played. Storyline was fantastic, gameplay was excellent... graphics weren't spectacular, but that wasn't the game's selling feature. Fallout 2 came along, rehashing the same old graphics, and same old gameplay, into an absolutely amazing game, superior to the original. The story is excellent, blending along with the first quite nicely, and with much more depth...

Fallout 3 would have been amazing. I have no doubt about this. The only thing which could be better would be Fallout Online.

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (2, Interesting)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666608)

The story in Fallout was excellent. Is it just me, or does anyone else see some similarities between the Fallout series story and A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter M. Miller jr.?

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (1)

Dr. GeneMachine (720233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666795)

Now you got me interested... I never played Fallout, but I definitely loved "A canticle for Leibowitz". Do you know if the game is still available?

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666622)

Fallout Online? I call shotgun!

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666686)

Fallout ruled. Very good games. Very good assessment.

Now for a PSA.

WARNING, SLASHDOT NOW TIES AC COMMENTS WITH USER
(Use a disposable account from a disposable IP before moderating this up. Editors generally watch and see who moderates controversial things like this up.)

When you are logged in, /. ties your user account to any Anonymous Coward postings you make... Thus they know who posted it. To demonstrate this:
  1. Get mod points.
  2. Post an AC comment while logged in
  3. Change your dynamic ip, clear all cookies
  4. Log back in and try to moderate your AC comment... you can't!!!

Please *log out* AND use another browser before making your AC comments.
Your UID is being tracked, it's not Anonymous. Lots of people post lots of things to Slashdot as AC only because they believe it is really anonymous - it isn't. They hunt "trolls" (non-karma whores and non-group thinking bots) down.

This is true. I used to be a bit more freestyle and witty AC and be a nice guy logged in [basically a karma whore]. After a short while, I could no longer moderate. Slashdot does brand AC posts with IP and then map them back to users. They lie about AC, AC doesn't exist if you re-use ip addresses.

Big brother is watching. So while I might be a "troll" a lot of the AC things I said were to protect myself from Slash-bot groupthink. They punished me for voicing my opinion freestyle.

They also revoke moderation FOREVER - $rtbl it is called, for any moderations of any post that have been secretly flagged annoying [Slashcode has hidden flags viewable by editors]. If you *EVER* mod up something an editor secretly marked annoying you NEVER moderate again, ever - ever even if your karma is capped.

Also, Slashdot uses the friends system to track "trolls." Mark a troll you find funny as a friend *bang* $rtbl never to moderate ever again. My real account had many many good friends who had good karma, and a few funny trolls later, no more moderation for that account. Again, Slashdot is spying on its users to make the people who find certain things funny uneligible to moderate. You will never moderate again if you are a friend of a "foe or freak" of an editor.

FACT: This is in Slashcode CVS

Revision 1.7.2.5 / (download) - annotate - [select for diffs] , Thu Feb 8 13:12:32 2001 UTC (2 years, 9 months ago) by pudge
Branch: bender
CVS Tags: v1_1_3_0
Changes since 1.7.2.4: +18 -7 lines
Diff to previous 1.7.2.4 to branchpoint 1.7

log more AC info


So AC is a scam here. Hitler-Malda screws AC posts in the caboose. So now all you can do is go 100% AC, or , as they expect you to, KARMA WHORE. And it is so lame and unfair and probably illegal as they lie about anonymity.

Also, sometimes when certain information becomes an active thread, they bitchslap the thread much later so that people think its "safe" to participate and the whole thing gets slapped.

There is a presumption anonymous means something. They lie like rugs to the posting public by using the word anonymous. It is not. They brazenly lie though and the un-assuming poster is having everything he says correlated with him and stored in a computer just waiting to be subpoenaed by the people that Slashdot claims to hate but works for. They work for the fascist forces and components of the US government. I like the US and other Western governments but they have good and bad components - there are things you need to do to protect yourself from the bad components. Basically "covering your ass" so to speak. At Slashdot, in lying about AC, un-protects its posting public (seeding a de-anonymizing privacy stripping pandemic in their own "little" way). This makes Slashdot a very dangerous target for you the posters to have your "anonymous" information subpoenaed and you to be chased down and persecuted for speaking your mind. I think that it is a joke Slashdot editors post about SCO, MSFT, RIAA, MPAA, TIA, FBI, etc. They do the same fascist big-brotherly things that those companies do the public at large as they do to the Slashdot posting public.

Protect yourself. Try and use proxies or a super good second browser with proxies that you never log into such as Opera (which makes it very easy to delete all private data). Thank you.

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666746)

You are anonymous to other Slashdotters, which is what matters. You have never been anonymous to the editors since they can check their logs anyway.

And if you are worried about Slashdot, just stop posting here.

Re:A huge loss with death of Fallout (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666706)

>> The only thing which could be better would be Fallout Online

I can think of nothing worse.

Nothing would ruin Fallout's compelling world faster than the "kewl d00dz"

Bummer (2, Insightful)

DiracFeynman (655294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666588)

Planescape-Torment is one of my favorite games of all time.

Re:Bummer (3, Insightful)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666626)

What about Baldur's Gate 1+2? Neverwinter Nights? These deserve to be mentioned as well. Black Isle was one of those surprising little companies with heart for what they do that totally stunned me and became my favorite, sort of like SquareSoft on the PlayStation. This hurts, because it feels like the big corporation has won over the fanatical creative artist.

Re:Bummer (1)

DiracFeynman (655294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666630)

I believe that those are not Black Isle games.

Re:Bummer (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666666)

Actually Black Isle Studios published the BG games and funded the early development of NWN which they then sold back the rights to to Bioware.

Re:Bummer (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666671)

Then what was Black Isle's involvement in these games?

But answer me this... (-1, Flamebait)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666589)

Who fucking cares?

Pronounce it slowly with me...

Gayyyyyyyymes are gay

Damnit! (2)

captainkibble (725355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666592)

Ahhhh crap! I think that about sums up my thoughts. I always thought it would just be a matter of time before we got Fallout 3. Looks like we will never see it now. Bummer. :(

Fa..fa...fa...Fallout 3!?! (3, Funny)

metrazol (142037) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666596)

They...they weren't really working of Fallout 3 were they? Because... if they were... and it's...it's 'shelved'... I think I might just... must find tall building... bridge... industrial dough mixer... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I'm going to go cry now...

Re:Fa..fa...fa...Fallout 3!?! (1)

xcham (200708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666646)

I feel likewise. I hadn't even HEARD about Fallout 3. There are only so many times you can replay 1 & 2 before they cease to be all that interesting (mind you, there is replay value, just not infinite...)

I loved the first two Fallout games. Fallout Tactics didn't really live up but I have been looking forward to Fallout 3 since I played Fallout 2 for the first time (quite a while ago now). Damnit damnit damnit!

Re:Fa..fa...fa...Fallout 3!?! (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666656)

  • They...they weren't really working of Fallout 3 were they? Because... if they were... and it's...it's 'shelved'... I think I might just... must find tall building... bridge... industrial dough mixer... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Go for the dough mixer, and leave a suicide note. It'll get more press coverage that way. ;) Maybe it'll shame Interplay into changing their minds.

Van Buren (1)

understyled (714291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666743)

i stumbled onto this [nma-fallout.com] a while ago after hearing somewhere about Van Buren.
when Mr. Sawyer [mobygames.com] left Black Isle [gamespot.com] , i had a feelin sumthin shitty was abrew :(

And I just heard about it, too! (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666606)

I saw some of the unofficial stuff about Fallout 3 just a couple days ago and I've been drooling about it ever since. Fate is cruel. Of course, I also found this [nma-fallout.com] thing called IanOut, a third-party Fallout engine...

OSS-the Rin Tin Tin of solutions. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666645)

You know, with all the cries of "noooooooooo" and complaints about "shoddy games", etc, etc. This would be the one area that cries out for open source. But of course, here we all are crying about another game down the drain.

Re:OSS-the Rin Tin Tin of solutions. (0, Flamebait)

captainkibble (725355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666717)

Congrats to the muppet who modded this sad attempt to start an open source argument up as insightful.

OSS-the Rin Tin Tin of solutions.-II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666778)

"Congrats to the muppet who modded this sad attempt to start an open source argument up as insightful."

And congrats to the poster that contributes nothing to a discussion. Your career in managment awaits.

Re:And I just heard about it, too! (2, Interesting)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666681)

Of course, I also found this thing called IanOut, a third-party Fallout engine...

I'm dubious that it would be of much value.

The Fallout engine is actually of fairly little technical significance (well, I haven't worked on the code, but I don't see anything particularly outstanding or unheard of in it). In many ways, it's actually rather behind the times. This isn't trying to bash the authors -- it gets the job done that it was intended to do -- but just to say that it isn't quite the same as, say, the most recent Carmack engine, where the code is really beyond what other folks have been doing. The amazing thing about Fallout is the content. The artwork, design, story, dialog, free form play and neat character creation system are all top-notch, and are what make Fallout fun to play.

So, unless you simply want to play existing Fallout titles, I'm not sure that the engine does much good. The problem is that it's really *hard* to make all the levels and characters and graphics and dialog and audio associated with a Fallout game.

Baldur's Gate? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666615)

What no more Baldur's Gate 3??
That was such a good game.

Several of the Fallout guys left long ago.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666629)

Several of the Fallout guys left long ago, and are working in Troika Games [troikagames.com] , the studio that released the brilliant Arcanum [troikagames.com] , and is currently working on Vampire [slashdot.org] ...

Black Isle is dead.
Long live Black Isle!

Re:Several of the Fallout guys left long ago.. (1)

shione (666388) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666660)

I hope the BI guys can find employment with their old workmates then.
Arcanum is selling for only AU$20 here but I'm still to find a store that still has it. Apparently they got snapped up really quick.

Re:Several of the Fallout guys left long ago.. (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666687)

Arcanum was not brilliant. It felt like a demo, the interface was bad . . . enh.

Many of the problems inherant to Arcaum cropped up on Lionheart somehow, even though it's not an official Troika game(I don't think?).

*Whimper* (1)

Spider[DAC] (129824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666635)

aaagh.. But but.. they can't do this, can they?

*Whimper*

*Whine*

*snif*

I've wasted hours and hours on the previous games, I even invested time in Fallout Tactics (all in wine, yes)...

I admit that i thought Fallout3 was a ways into the future, but ... never? No.. please?

Slashdot commercials... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666637)

I thought it was stupid when slashdot advertised for others for free in disguised articles.
But advertising for free for a company that will go out of business anyway is pathetic.

Wow (2, Insightful)

bat'ka makhno (207538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666643)

Are we at a point where the gaming masses have become so retarded as to ensure that only copycat FPS, RTS and sports games ever get produced? Plots, characters, atmosphere, it's all gone, but who gives a shit. As long as we can all get 90 fps in Doom3 and relive our favorite Monday Night Football moments, the industry'll be alright.

What a fucking waste of technology.

At least the absolute derth of quality PC games cuts short all of the asshole anti-Mac arguments.

Wow-Derth! A growth industry. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666674)

"At least the absolute derth of quality PC games cuts short all of the asshole anti-Mac arguments."

But it doesn't put an end to the "Binary vs OSS drivers" argument though.

Re:Wow (1)

drodver (410899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666689)

Seriously, have you played Star Wars: KOTOR yet? best game in years.

Re:Wow (1)

Tarrek (547315) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666759)

It's good, but it doesn't shake a stick at Fallout 2.

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666694)

  • Are we at a point where the gaming masses have become so retarded as to ensure that only copycat FPS, RTS and sports games ever get produced? Plots, characters, atmosphere, it's all gone, but who gives a shit. As long as we can all get 90 fps in Doom3 and relive our favorite Monday Night Football moments, the industry'll be alright.
The truly sad part is the rabid fanboys of FPSs who obsess over frame rates and ever tiny detail are a great minority of gamers. It's very interesting to look at the top sales charts for any given month. Generally 1-3 of the top 20 will be FPS games, the rest aren't. In fact, games with little hardcore gamer appeal consistently take up top spots. (The Sims & their 100 expansion packs for instance.) Many game companies (this means you Interplay) apparently can't see the truth out there and shoot for the hardcore audience. The problem is the real money is in pleasing the general audience.

Before I'm skewered for that statement, let me point out that you don't have to dumb down a game to make it appealing to both hard core and casual gamers. A game with a great engrossing story, decent graphics (they don't have to be the world's best) and a serious fun value (something a lot of games forget about) will please nearly everyone. Sure the frame-rate crowd will complain about the lack of quantum texturing or some such crap, but most people will be happy with it and it'll sale really well.

The other unfortunate thing is game companies (again, this means you Interplay) that seem to think PC Gaming is dead, when nothing could be further from the truth. Right now PCs are capable of better graphics than any of the current consoles, and the next crop of consoles is at best a year off (if rumors of Nintendo announcing a new console at E3 next year are true). Hell, now's the perfect time to push PC gaming since current consoles are towards the end of their life cycle.

That being said though, I've ended up a console gamer because of the lack of quality control in PC games. (aka the ship it then patch it approach.) I got sick of finding out I'd have to download huge patches to make a game playable, or need to update to fix a horrid glitch and invalidate my save games in the process. No thanks, I'll stick to consoles till game publishers figure out that consumers want a game that works out of the box. Yes I know that not all console games are perfect, but the extra testing they go through from the console maker as well as from the company making them help out a lot.

I just worry that with the next generation of consoles all likely coming with hard drives and built-in Internet connectivity that publishers will move the ship then patch mentality over to consoles too. If that happens, I'm afraid video gaming as a whole will suffer in ways that'll be pitiful, and potentially non-recoverable from.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666697)

What do you expect?

This is what happens when companies listen to American gamers. They hear, "more of the same, only more AWESOME," and their eyes turn into dollar signs - because the same old shit is easy to do.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666708)

Are we at a point where the gaming masses have become so retarded as to ensure that only copycat FPS, RTS and sports games ever get produced?

As opposed to copycat RPGs? This was going to be Fallout *3*, after all..

Self-plagarism is still plagarism right?

Re:Wow (1)

bat'ka makhno (207538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666739)

Was McCarthy self-plagiarising in the Border Trilogy? What about Abel Ferrara and the heavy-handed Christian predictability of his masterpieces? I'd much rather see copycat RPGs than what's been presented to the PC gamer in the past four or five years. A next installment of Ultima plagiarising chapter VII and Serpent Isle or a Fallout 3 would be copies I'd definitely love to play; but it's late and I should probably go dream away from the computer.

Re:Not only are we (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666721)

But we have been for several years now.

Nothing is safe. If it doesn't allow for multiplayer or MMO, it's not marketable.

Not really much room for developing a storyline, plot, or what have you when you've got your hands full enough just trying to keep your servers from crashing under the load of a few thousand players all sitting around doing nothing but whining about how everyone else is a n00b, and whatever is left over is devoted to trying to keep on top of the cheat freaks.

guess at least now we can catch up on our reading lists.

this sucks (1)

IshanCaspian (625325) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666648)

Having played the Icewind Dale series to death, I have to just say that this sucked. I used to hang out on the BIS message boards a lot, and I really got the feel that these guys really put their hearts into making well-crafted stories for the fans to enjoy. This is really a shame. Good luck to everyone who worked at BIS, and best of luck in the future.

sigh (1)

Silvers (196372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666649)

This is a sad day. Some of my favorites have been Black Isle productions.

just who exactly (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666653)

are these bis cocksuckers?

Re:just who exactly (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666668)

Your long lost boyfriends, you crazy faggot.

bounced (-1, Offtopic)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666677)

Goddammit, the /. editors rejected my Phlak .20 release story for this one? Crackheads.

Anyway Phlak .20 is out, phlak.org go get it.

Interplay and the fututre. (1)

DS-1107 (680578) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666680)

So Interplay have decided to go all out console in the future, already planning for Fallout Brotherhood of steel 2 aka FO PoS 2 - before the first have launched.

the problem is of course that they lack capital, and besides that are tangled up in various courtbattles delaying their X-mas games (FoBoS and Dark alliance 2) to january, not to mention jefferson that was canned due to IP problems with wizard of the coast. IPLY needs cash badly, and must stop it's own bleeding at the same time - and they simply decided that PC gamers can screw themselves, and jumped for console only.

Forget quality games from IPLY in the short future they have left, they need to milk everything they still got just to keep running and that will probably only last an other year.

too bad about FO3 though, I was somewhat hoping for that game to come Q4 next year.

that's a damn shame... (2, Insightful)

jermyjerm (705338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666684)

Fallout 2 and Baldur's Gate 2 were excellent games, had great stories and sense of setting, and were largely free of the type of cheesy melodrama that seems to have overtaken console RPGs. I hope their type of deep RPG experience doesn't die with Black Isle, but I fear it will.

What about...? (2, Interesting)

Squeeself (729802) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666685)

Black Isle are particularly known for work on the Fallout series, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. What about the Baldur's Gate series? Aren't they particularly known for that as well, considering it's one of the top RPGs? It's definately sad to see Black Isle go. They've made some quality products that I'm sure will be considered among the best classic games.

Re:What about...? (1)

aka1nas (607950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666699)

Black Isle Studios did not make Baldur's gate. Bioware made baldur's gate and licensed the infinity engine to Black Isle via their then-current publisher Interplay.

Quite a loss (5, Insightful)

Chapparal (584768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666691)

The loss of BIS is a pretty big one. Although they really haven't realeased a lot of great games recently, they'll be sorely missed, especially as the creators of Planescape: Torment, the first game in a long while to actually be intriguing with the whole "Woke up with no memories" bit.

It's held up for 4(or 5) long years as the best RPG of all time IMO. For using such an old bioware engine, it's actually held up quite well. While graphics were never its strong points, the story alone is worth the purchase. I don't mean to plug it or anything, but if you have yet to play it, and consider yourself an RPG fan, drop 10 bucks and pick it up at any store that sells PC games.
And remember, for all Your P:T needs, The Pit: http://torment.db-forge.com/

Black Isle been on the ropes for awhile (4, Informative)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666693)

The only three "true" Black Isle titles were Fallout, Fallout 2, and Planescape: Torment. All were great, of course, but the Baldur's Gate series and NWN were more Bioware titles really. And uh, they weren't of the same calibre either. Don't get me started on Lionheart. That sucked *)

Re:Black Isle been on the ropes for awhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666715)

Don't get me started on Lionheart. That sucked *)

ya.. they said its the fallout skill/combat model..
imagine my surprise when it turned out realtime with more monsters on a spot than diablo2 :(
wasnt made by BIS tho..
and dont get ME startet on that 3d fallout crap D:

Console only... (2, Interesting)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666696)

Console only is the word of the day now.
Is this the beginning of the end for PC games?

Yuioup

funny story (0, Offtopic)

goon america (536413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666710)

I once has a robot like this... thing was, for some reason the think only wanted to read Tom Clancy novels. It was weird.

Good night, BIS (2, Insightful)

klin (308370) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666718)

A sad bit of news right before I head to bed.

I believe Planescape: Torment revolutionized the world of RPG, and not enough people noticed.

I am pretty much a console gamer now, and I've yet to see any console RPG with the level of writing that PS:T possessed. Many games pose themselves as epics, yet feature nothing but shallow dialogue, psuedo-philosophical ramblings, and CGs aimed at horny high school kids.

What may change the nature of a man? This question ran the risk of cliche, but it was interwoven so tightly into the game system and writing that the premise took fantasy role-playing to unmatched heights. Morte, Annah, Nameless..you shal be missed.

Yeah, then there were those Fallout games, too.

So long, Black Isle.

Perhaps the Myth III guys can do something... (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666724)

That would be swell, new games built off the old engines by people who love them. It sure would be nice for the shortsighted people at Interplay to release a 'level editor' for Fallout/2. I would so love to make my own storyline.

Of course they won't, since that wouldn't make them any $$$. (and it probably is an ugly kludge, too.) Bastards.

I've been looking for the mac versions of Fallout since I got my PB. Anyone know where I could find them?

The bright side is that we can look forward to more Final Fantasy/Serious Sam ripoffs. Huzzah!

Black Isle's Ethos (-1, Troll)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666727)

A full grown stallion's cock, when fully erect, will measure some two to three feet long. It can be three to six inches thick at the base, to about two inches thick at the head. Horses are somewhat different from other animals in the way their cock head works

Its good and bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666737)

Its sad to see the loss of a great series such as fallout...

But on the good side i will now beable to compleat my degree wiht out worring about fallout 3 taking over my life as 1 and 2 did.

Heartbreaking, but not unexpected (5, Interesting)

ctrl-alt-elite (679492) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666742)

While it pains me greatly to see the passing of the company responsible for stealing so many hours of my teenage years, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Black Isle has been going downhill since BioWare came into the game, and their games, while always being a bit ahead of Bioware's in terms of quality, never seemed to sell as many copies.

Planescape: Torment is a great example of this. Torment to this day remains one of the best games I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and it stands as perhaps the deepest roleplaying experience and certainly the most powerful game that I have played. According to BIS's sales figures from a couple years back, Torment had sold around 300,000 copies. While no slouch in the sales department (it certainly got them in the black), it wasn't quite up to the sales standards set by Bioware with the Baldur's Gate saga (also a great series of games, but nowhere near as powerful as Torment).

From there, it was downhill. Project after project was cancelled (including Torn, which looked to be a sweet 3d CRPG with all the reactivity and depth of Torment but with a snazzy 3d engine and the Fallout SPECIAL system), until Black Isle was stuck with a sequel to Icewind Dale (using the aging 2d Infinity Engine of the original Baldur's Gate in the era of 3d Neverwinter Nights and Morrowind). Then there was Lionheart, which took some of the elements of the cancelled Torn and tried to turn it into a decent game. What happened was an Arcanum-esque RPG: a great concept (a historical fantasy game that infused magic in the time of the Crusades) but with poor execution and an even worse engine and interface.

I hate to say it, but it looked like BIS was going to shut down since Interplay got bought out by Titus Interactive several years back. They just don't have the sales numbers to appease high-level marketing execs, despite their innovation and depth. The one silver lining of this predicament is the fact that other companies can now have a crack at some of the talent that has graced BIS for years. This could bode well for the phoenix-like CRPG industry if dev houses utilize this influx of great minds. An RPG fanboy can only hope...

A lot of people would have bought Fallout 3 (2, Insightful)

nnnneedles (216864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666745)

I got a lot of gamer friends and they all are die hard Fallout fans. It seems a game like that just couldn't miss!

Many, many gamers think fallout/fallout2 was the best game they ever played! How could they cancel this. Was it really that crap?

FUCK! (4, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666751)

God fucking damn it!!!!! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. Ok, it is out of my system.

BIS was by far my favorite studio. Fallout, Fallout II and Planescape: Torment were my three favorite games of all times. Does anyone remember the end of the original Fallout? That ending was one of the few endings that left an emotional impact upon me. The ending as simply amazing. As he is walking away to that song I felt my gut twist in a knot and left me choking. Ahh hell, I admit it, I was getting watery eyed as he was walking away from the vault with his head down to that old bluesy song. No game had ever done that to me before. To this day hearing that song twists my gut into a knot.

Don't get me wrong, I love games today, but I have had none that made really knocked my socks off. War Craft III has great game play an all, but I have never felt any emotion while playing that game other then annoyance at the bastard over battle net you managed to raise an army and level his hero to 10 in five minutes. Fallout and Torment had an emotional effect like a good book. Nothing in these past couple of years has effected me like that.

I know I sat drooling over the prospect of Fallout III. I simply loved that entire setting. If anything, I was always supremely disappointed that BIS never ran with the title. I would loved to have seen a Fallout FPS or MMORPG.

On that note, does anyone know who the rights to the Fallout title goes to? The studio might be dead, but I would be surprised if someone picked up the rights and a few of the original creators and intend to run with it.

Questions.... (0, Troll)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666752)

Is this going to delay Half-Life 2? How about Doom 3? Halo 2? GTA 4? GT4? Warcraft 4? The next M$ RTS? Then who gives a crap?

As sad as I am to see another game maker go under, the fact of the matter is that the studios that stay alive are the studios that sell games. So what if a few thousand fans are pissed. I'm pissed that I don't get to watch "Undeclaired" any more - that doesn't mean it wasn't cancelled for a good reason.

Enough fans buying a game == the studio makes more. Obviously BIS wasn't that great of a game maker.

(PS - this is not a troll - just one gamer's opinion)

Re:Questions.... (4, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666772)

I think the reason why you see such a large reaction is because all of the games you listed while great, are empty. BIS made games that affected people like novels. The ending of Fallout blew me over. The story and character development (and I am not talking about levels) for Planescape: Torment was just awesome.

Doom, Halo, GTA, Warcraft, and all of those games have an entirely different sort of appeal to me. I don't look at those games like good books. To me they are like action movies. The are without a doubt fun, but I play them in a very detached manner. The ending to the original Fallout left me choking and getting watery eyed. The ending to Warcraft or Half-Life just made me shrug and wonder when the sequel was coming out. Don't get me wrong, I love those games, but for entirely different reasons.

The point certainly is valid that such companies need to make money. BIS made some great games, but they also made some real bombs. The fact that they did a poor job on the financial end doesn't invalidate the quality games they did put out. Hopefully someone will come along pick up the pieces and package it into something more financially sound. I am still going to miss BIS though, despite thier suckage when it comes to making money.

Re:Questions.... (1)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666782)

BIS made games that affected people like novels.

I don't want games to affect me like novels. I want novels to affect me like novels. I want games to entertain me in between.

Re:Questions.... (1)

CrystalChronicles (706620) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666781)

"Enough fans buying a game == the studio makes more. Obviously BIS wasn't that great of a game maker." I agree that the more the studio makes the more likely they're keep the company going but the logic to your second part of that sentence is flawed. sales != quality

Wtf!? (1)

cREW oNE (445594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666757)

How can they do this!? Looks to me that Interplay, Activision and Eidos are playing some game of who can shut down the most and best game studios.

I lost count of good gaming studios that got the axe lately. And at the same time drivel like Tomb Raider 7 hits the shelves :(

Sad panda's all around the world!

RIP western video games (0, Troll)

dankdirk77 (690855) | more than 10 years ago | (#7666776)

This is truly another nail in the coffin of video games development in the west (US, Canada, UK). Granted, there are still a few good ones, but maily just lifeless lawyer filled corporations like Activision, Acclaim, EA, etc. that drain creativity and punish refinement. Heck even our consoles are dying (US/Europe: Xbox, Phantom, N-Gage).

So its times like this I'm glad to be a fanboy of Japan! Sammi's taking over Sega; we got Capcom, Konami, Tecmo, Taito, Square/Enix, Sony, Bandai, Koei, etc!! And the consoles are awesome too (PS2, PSP, GBA-SP, DC, etc)!! I know I know, off topic; flame bait; but its the wave of the future we are just seeing evolution in action.

Re:RIP western video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666789)

RTFA. Interplays switching to console-only games so what you'll probably see is more western video games.

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