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Interplay On Verge Of Bankruptcy?

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the sad-but-true dept.

Role Playing (Games) 50

EvilDonut writes "According to Gamesindustry.biz, long-time publisher Interplay is facing possible bankruptcy. Apparently, the company is three months behind in rent, owes almost $280,000 in a mix of outstanding payroll taxes and non-payment penalties for those taxes, and failed to meet its payroll obligations in the middle of this month. Heavy stuff." The piece also notes that, following "the asset-stripping antics of parent company Titus", the company has "lost the rights to publish Baldur's Gate 3 and other future D&D properties, and it may lose the right to continue publishing its Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance titles if it cannot settle a lawsuit from Atari which accuses it of failing to pay royalties on the D&D license." We've previously covered Black Isle's de facto demise, another key part of Interplay's woes.

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Bankrupt? This is bad! (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9010758)

This is bad news. I've enjoyed downloading their games for free over p2p over the years, and would not want to see them go out of business and stop providing new games.

It gets worse: (3, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9010772)

From what I understand, Interplay is also currently in breach of a settlement agreement with Warner under which it owes the media giant some $0.32 million - and having entered into a payment plan to rectify this, is now also in default of that plan.

Mod Parent UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9010846)

+1, Informative.

Do it now.

Re:It gets worse: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9010988)

What sort of dip-shit modded a direct copy and paste from the article up? No wonder the signal to noise ratio is getting so bad...

Re:It gets worse: (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011714)

It doesn't really get any worse. You can rape a corpse, but it's still a corpse.

It'd be nice if someone munged the Fallout license out of it, but eh, still dead.

Hi, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9010849)

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Welcome to Slashdot! (-1, Offtopic)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013236)

"horsepower homogeneity await yucca anticipatory crow bloodline tom versailles shadbush makeshift ovid twiddle chipboard rajah trophic pion alarm andesite opine"

Hi! Reading your message, I'm not pretty sure you are the guy who wrote the manual for my VCR. Welcome to Slashdot! So glad to have you aboard!

An example to others (5, Insightful)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 9 years ago | (#9010867)

This is what happens when a publisher publishes bad games and scraps good games for even worse games. Case in point: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. If they had not tried to convert to a console-only publisher, and focused on what they did well: fund good games (Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Descent, Planescape) instead of crap games (Brotherhood of Steel, Hunter: The Reckoning...) they might not be in the ditch they are today.

Let it be a lesson to the other publishers.. when you publish crap, you go to crap.

Re:An example to others (5, Funny)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011004)

when you publish crap, you go to crap

So then how do you explain the rampant success of the 'Left Behind' series????

Re:An example to others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9011281)


Re:An example to others (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013755)

Sometimes when someone publishes so much crap, it fills up the ditch, buoying up the publisher in question. ;)

Re:An example to others (1)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014375)

It's called Pandering, which can be defined as, "publishing crap that takes advantage of a target audience." I guarantee you if they made a video game version of the Passion of Christ, it would suck as a game, but it would still be successful just from the pander factor.

Re:An example to others (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014728)

If they actually did publish a "Passion of the Christ" video game, the violence would drive the youth of America to commit senseless acts of violence, like what happened at Columbine. I for one do not want to see that, do you?


Dare it be said? (4, Funny)

fuzzhead (750413) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011059)

Is Interplay making their final Descent?

Re:Dare it be said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9011294)

I don't think their going to publish another Descent, based on the things the article said about there financial situation... :-(

Re:Dare it be said? (1)

Matrix272 (581458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011939)

I don't think their going to publish another Descent, based on the things the article said about there financial situation... :-(

That was a pun, goddamnit!

Re:Dare it be said? (4, Funny)

Matrix272 (581458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011970)

Is Interplay making their final Descent?

Perhaps... and there may be some Fallout from this crash.

Re:Dare it be said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9013268)

"It's better to have a gun and not need it than need a gun and not have it." ~ Christian Slater, True Romance"

That's funny, typically quotes from movies are attributed to the Character not the Actor.

Now we watch and see... (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011085)

Now it's time to watch and see which employees are singing, "Go on, take the money and run" while sadly telling a tale of woe about how, despite their best managerial efforts, the company folded.

It's good for a bad business to die. It's bad for a good business to go bad. It's good for a dead business to... wait, where was I again?


Re:Now we watch and see... (2, Insightful)

Quinn (4474) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011661)

Nobody's riding the golden parachute out of this disaster. The Frenchies ran Interplay into the ground. Turn to InXile and Troika for future enjoyment in the vein of the golden age of Interplay. RIP.

Re:Now we watch and see... (2, Interesting)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013691)

Mod parent up. We managed to get clear of Titus/Interplay a while back. But there's a special place in hell reserved for the Caen brothers. I love French people in general, but I make an exception for those fuckers.

A new title? (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011087)

They should bring out a role playing game were you are the CEO of a games software company desperately trying to stave of bankruptcy.......

At least they might get a few ideas!

Re:A new title? (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014392)

What, like SEGA GaGa [mobygames.com]. Although it's a management sim not an RPG. Released at about the same time SEGA dropped out of the console making business as well.

Re:A new title? (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#9017693)

You don't have to limit yourself to game companies or software companies, it works for any company:

Sim MBA - some golfing buddies get you a cushy C*O position at a Reasonably Successful Company... you make various short-sighted decisions, ridiculous cuts, etc. to drive up the stock price, take a huge bonus and exit with a golden handshake, then move on to rape another company...

Interplay effectively dead for a while now (3, Insightful)

dtolman (688781) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011464)

Once the development for Fallout 3 was cancelled, it was just a matter of time before the company folded.

If a company can't continue to publish new titles based on one of its own self-developed intellectual assets, you know its just about done.

Seen it coming for a long time (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9011563)

I worked for Interplay back in it's hey-day (late 97-late 98). They had so much going for them. Lucrative deal with Shiny, the D&D license, Fallout, BG, Carmageddon. There were 400+ employees across three buildings.

Then there was the whole going public thing, and some really bad development choices. They split up all the devlopment teams into "studios" Which is where Black Isle came from. They scrapped some pretty big projects that already had 2 years dev time into them (Stonekeep 2 jumps to mind), and started releasing extremely dated material (Descent to Undermountain). I was lucky enough to leave before the first big round of layoffs.

Last I heard, the company was down to about 40 employees or so, and from this it sounds like they won't be around much longer. Hopefully someone will get in there and buy the remaining licenses they have with any sort of value.

Re:Seen it coming for a long time (1)

Coltman (623132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011852)

Interplay was my inspiration to getting into the game industry and producing games as my career. Ok that was a lie(I always wanted to make games since I was 6) but it certainly boosted me to get going.

Interplay started going downhill when it went public and stoped making games for gamers by gamers. They had the share holders to deal with and wouldn't take chances.

Re:Seen it coming for a long time (1)

huchida (764848) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014758)

I wonder how much the rights to Fallout are. It's a crime they dropped plans for a #3. It's a bigger crime noone's seen the potential for a Fallout movie...

Re:Seen it coming for a long time (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 9 years ago | (#9016377)

Hopefully someone will get in there and buy the remaining licenses they have with any sort of value.
What would happen if nobody did? What would happen to Interplay's IP - Descent, Fallout mainly - if they went under? Does it default to the origional designers, or get dumped into public domain?

Re:Seen it coming for a long time (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 9 years ago | (#9017616)

Interplay's parent company would retain rights. The "Interplay" shell would just cease to be.

The implication of the story, however, seems to be that their parent company seems more than willing to sell off whatever someone is willing to buy.

Back in my day.... (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011615)

this of course sucks for all the jobs that will be lost but interplay has seemingly lost it's edge that it once had.. What happened to games like Battle Chess, Kingpin, and Redneck Rampage, Clay Fighter.... Games that took a genre, hung it by its toes and twisted the life out of it until you get some mangled twisted mess that somehow draws you in. All we seem to get now from them is a bunch of copy and paste.

Re:Back in my day.... (2, Interesting)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013240)

that all went away after their IPO. going corporate almost always ruins game studios. I just wish people would pick up on this fact and stop doing IPOs when they're making tons of cash and awesome games.

On a related tangent, I curse Google's founders for not thinking that $100+ million net profit was enough and filing for their IPO.

Heh. (2, Insightful)

Reorax (629666) | more than 9 years ago | (#9011681)

Serves them right for closing Black Isle. And for not producing more copies of Planescape: Torment. If they made more, they might have another...$20 or so.

Re:Heh. (1)

WinnipegDragon (655456) | more than 9 years ago | (#9012025)

On top of that, there is the rumoured acquisition of Bioware by Microsoft (is this still rumoured?) If it is so, there goes the two best RPG studios in the last ten years.

Re:Heh. (1)

simoniker (40) | more than 9 years ago | (#9012140)

FWIW, somebody on the Gaming-Age.com messageboards admitted they planted that Bioware acquisition story on VGPro.com (using a left-over admin account they had), and pretended it came from Polygon Magazine, because they 'were bored', or similar. Doh.

So, while it could conceivably be true, that particular rumor isn't actually legit. [The same person also posted a 'Half-Life slips to 2005' rumor which caused similar consternation.]

Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (4, Insightful)

genrader (563784) | more than 9 years ago | (#9012103)

If it had not been for Descent, where would Interplay be today? They might still be here, they might not. All I know is that they were good with some kick arse games like Descent and Descent II, but when they published a crap game like Descent 3, well, yeah. Descent 3 was a halfway decent game but it lacked Descent-ness, if I may call it that.

Did Interplay even publish Freespace and Freespace 2? I never played Freespace 2, but I was a Freespace fan and it was a good game too.

If Interplay wants to save themselves, they need to talk someone into, namely Volition or whatever the other split of Parallax software was, to try and develop a good Descent IV and maybe another Freespace game? Those were great, and I think that's the entire reason Interplay ever became as well-known as they are.

Re:Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (2, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014156)

If it had not been for Descent, where would Interplay be today?
You ever heard of the Bard's Tale games? Pretty popular in their time. Interplay have had other successes than just Descent.

Re:Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (1)

robson (60067) | more than 9 years ago | (#9014266)

Did Interplay even publish Freespace and Freespace 2? I never played Freespace 2, but I was a Freespace fan and it was a good game too.

Man, I just replayed Freespace 2 recently. Great stuff. They even released the source.
I'd love to play a Freespace 3. Imagine the massively detailed capital ships you could do with modern video cards!

Re:Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (1)

El_Ge_Ex (218107) | more than 9 years ago | (#9017719)

I was glad as _hell_ when Descent 3 came out and they made the decision to go hardware 3d for it. Originally they had planned to use a modified version of Descent's and D2's enginer for it, but then they saw the games being released during that time and switched.

D3 is a good game, don't be dissing it.

Outrage, one half of Parallax (the other half being Volition which took Freespace) got bought by THQ and closed down a year later, a sad day for gamers here in A2.


Re:Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 9 years ago | (#9025585)

I wasn't trying to make fun of Descent 3, but what I'm trying to say is that most hardcore Descent players I knew on Kali and Kahn (if you people remember those) were pretty bored of it, and we had a nice Descent 2 community going. I remember my lifelong dream to join the Descent-Rangers...ahh the good old days.

Re:Descent is what MADE Interplay what it is today (1)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 9 years ago | (#9020335)

Or just release the rights for it. There was a fan-written D4 in full-swing, but got canned by Interplay+Parallax. From what I understood, it was well along too.

Info here [planetdescent.com] and here [planetdescent.com].

Sigh. Coulda been.

More and more PC-game companies fold ... (2, Insightful)

arhar (773548) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013103)

... yet more proof that making games for the PC just does not bring as much profit anymore... Of course, Interplay made some bad choices along the way, but they also created some of the best games in history, so I'm very sad to see them go.

Maybe a solution is to release games on X-Box or other console, and then on the PC? BioWare has done this with KOTOR, and they just might be onto something here ...

Re:More and more PC-game companies fold ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9013193)

Not necessarily. If you read their 10k filing, it seems like they lost 19.000.000 in PC sales compared to the previous years while only making 100.000 more in console sales in the same period.

Re:More and more PC-game companies fold ... (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 9 years ago | (#9013531)

True, but 'nothing ventured, nothing gained.' Interplay was breaking into new ground with their work on consoles (maybe going multiplatform in the beginning wasn't the best idea) so its hard to judge how good or bad they would've done. Who knows, they mighta become the SquareEnix of action games.

As for their PC games, money doesn't grow on names. And making a sequel which fans of the previous won't tear apart is expensive.

Re:More and more PC-game companies fold ... (1)

Coltman (623132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9017957)

... yet more proof that making games for the PC just does not bring as much profit anymore..

I don't think that there is no profit in PC games anymore, I think that the companies are trying to come out with the same games on the PC as they are on platforms. Then that puts them in direct competition with the console instead of isolating the market.

To me it seems that the games that are now being created on the PC are better played on a console. (more action less strategy) - PS not a fan of FP games more of a RPG fan -

I regularily pick up turn based games and stategy games for the PC because they play better. And other action games(ie FF, WWE, Puzzle) for the console.

I just think that PC game makers are just spending thier time and money in the wrong places. Not that there is no profit.
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