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Interplay Finally In Process Of Going Under?

simoniker posted more than 9 years ago | from the not-well dept.

The Almighty Buck 60

Random Guru 42 writes "GameSpot is reporting that Interplay is sliding further down the spiral of going out of business. Hopefully the rumors of Interplay's demise are greatly exaggerated." We previously covered earlier rumblings of Interplay's demise, and Sivar writes "According to a Fallout news website, Interplay has 'told the employees to file for unemployment' [a later source indicates 'the employees have until Friday to move all of their personal possessions out of... the Interplay offices]." Finally, an update to the GameSpot story has an un-named, masked employee insisting on the closure rumors: "No, that's not true" - it's also pointed out Interplay "...is facing a battery of lawsuits, including one by Arden Realty for $432,000 in back rent and another by BioWare for $156,000 for unpaid Baldur's Gate royalties."

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60 comments

Seems pretty obvious... (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320490)

If they are being sued for such relatively small sums, particularly for unpaid rent, it's highly doubtful the rumors are off by much.

Re:Seems pretty obvious... (1)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331208)

The rent was $150,000 a month.

They were three months in arrears at the start of May.

$600,000 isn't small change.

Re:Seems pretty obvious... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331524)

If there rent is $150,000/month then it's small change compared to how they once were doing.

If I buisness can't pay it's rent, it's long long past time to file bankruptcy.

Actually, the minute their profit level drops below a certain point they should be jumping ship, let alone actually failing to pay bills.

Cancel Fallout 3... (5, Insightful)

metrazol (142037) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320512)

...and fade into the wasteland. Bet they're wishing they'd found that waterchip, eh?

Seriously, sad to see Interplay go, but they've made some dumb decisions. Losing Feagus and his team was probably close to the final blow.

Re:Cancel Fallout 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9329108)

Black Isle's last game with the great Feagus was Lionheart, a monumental failure. I bet you've never even heard of it because if you had you'd know what a stinking pile of shit it was.

Interplay may have made mistakes, but supporting a slow-ass, unreliable developer in a genre that's all but dead (CRPG) on an all but dead gaming platform (the PC) was probably not such a bad move considering they were obviously faced with difficulties even in playing the rent. If anything, they kept Black Isle on too long and should have been shedding divisions many months earlier.

Ahh Interplay (3, Interesting)

isorox (205688) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320532)

A shame. Interplay have been arround for longer then some slashdotters have been alive, and certainly longer then many have been on the internet. List of games interplay have published [gamerland.com]

good riddence to bad luggage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9321486)

Interplay might have released some good titles in the (distant) past, but they became a bloated bastardly publisher that dicked over lots of developers. And let's just say they had some accounting difficulties as well.

Not a shame at all.

Re:good riddence to bad luggage (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#9324978)

I was going to say "how is that different from the other publishers?" but I guess the answer is "they don't have successful franchises to milk"...

That list is only the console titles (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321984)

Interplay has also published a lot of PC titles, under their own name and under that of MacPlay, which has already been retired. Here is a more complete [gamespot.com] list from GameSpot, though it doesn't include anything predating the SNES.

Re:That list is only the console titles (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#9322719)

MacPlay [macplay.com] is still around; Interplay sold the name off a long time ago -- in fact it may have passed through a couple owners since then. (I think WizardWorks/GT/Infogrames/Atari owned it for a while.)

Re:That list is only the console titles (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#9322759)

Ugh! I confused MacPlay with MacSoft in the lineage of the parent post! Now Peter Tamte is going to kick my ass!

MacSoft was the Mac division of WizardWorks/GT/Infogrames/Atari, and is still around, owned by, I thiknk, Destineer Studios.

Ported to Ninnle! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9320543)

If they had ported their stuff to Ninnle, things might be OK. After all, Ninnle Linux is fast becoming the choice OS of gamers.

Bow down before the monolith of EA (1, Flamebait)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320590)

Cue this guy [slashdot.org] to give us another rant about boycotting companies that layoff employees.

Ah choices. You can either manage your company aggressively and effectively, meaning sometimes hiring then laying off seasonal employees, or watch it all go bye-bye. When this happens, noone wins. Except EA. And to me there is nothing worse then EA winning.

Re:Bow down before the monolith of EA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9321103)

Eh.

"EA is a monolith that must be toppled! Quick, fire the masses to save our brown asses! Pooflingers, are you with me?"

Because EA has everything to do with this story. Ah-yep.

Re:Bow down before the monolith of EA (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9332383)

When this happens, noone wins. Except EA. And to me there is nothing worse then EA winning.

Wow, for once you actually said something i can agree with, even though (or perhaps because) i worked for them indirectly at one point.

*checks outside to see if the sky is falling*

Re:Bow down before the monolith of EA (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#9332747)

No! EA perform a very important function - ruining film licenses and pointless incremental updates on official sport licenses. What if a good developer got their hands on things like this? Have you seen the videos for Chronicles of Riddick? I'd be broke in no time!

It's all about Descent (4, Funny)

genrader (563784) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320671)

As I said last Interplay post, Interplay is going under because they abandoned Descent, the best shooter game ever ;) While that probably isn't true, I'm going to stay hold of that belief as I'm in the Descent religion.

Re:It's all about Descent (1)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321162)

Hear hear brother.

However, the saddest thing is they DIDN"T abandon Descent, they're gonna drag it down to the grave with them.

I wish they'd-a left their claws out of the "D4" fangame, it was looking sweet

Re:It's all about Descent (1)

Kyouryuu (685884) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321623)

I don't think so. If Interplay goes, I suspect the trademarks go to the highest bidder. Interplay holding on to the Descent and FreeSpace licenses isn't doing anyone any favors.

Re:It's all about Descent (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321712)

Don't forget about Freespace!

Mentioning Freespace 3 or Descent 4 on one of the fan forums will result in a horde of homicidal maniacs [penguinbomb.com] descending upon you.

(FS and FS2 are two of the greatest games ever created. The community has done some incredible work improving the game using the source code after it was released including a port of FS1 to the FS2 engine)

Drowned God (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320827)

One of the only games I've ever gotten hooked on. I still have the CDs around here somewhere :-)

Rent? (2, Insightful)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9320870)

Not paying rent is one step from the street. No welfare for gaming companies, maybe they should hire Amtrack's lobbyist.

Turnaround strategy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9321024)

1. Change name from InterPlay to InterRacial.
2. ??????
3. Mulatto! [imdb.com] Mulatto! [imdb.com] Mulatto! [imdb.com] Mulatto! [imdb.com] Mulatto! [imdb.com]

Nit picking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9325268)

Tiger Woods and The Rock are not mulatto. Each has a black parent, but neither has a white one.

Also, the word mulatto has a "interesting" etymology and is generally only used by the ignorant or racist. It refers to a mule, the sterile freakish work animal you get when you cross a horse and a donkey. In this analogy, guess who gets to be the inferior, barely-equine, 2-chromosome deficient donkey? [imdb.com]

Star Trek:Secret of Vulcan Fury (2, Informative)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321060)

It would be nice to see this game finally hit the auction block, to be recycled or incorporated into another game. It featured D.Kelly's last performance as Dr. McCoy. It was never finished byInterplay because of costs, so the game never saw the lightof day beyond some cool promo trailers.

Re:Star Trek:Secret of Vulcan Fury (1)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 9 years ago | (#9326452)

I saw the previews come with a couple of my other Interplay Star Trek Games, I was so excited about it. I wanted Vulcan's Fury like nothing else, always wondered what happened.

Re:Star Trek:Secret of Vulcan Fury (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 9 years ago | (#9326751)

Interplay had money problems, even back then. I heard they were overbudget and spent about $5m in development. They just couldn't afford any more. So they shelved the project.

You can do searches on google for Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury and there's websites with leaked production art and videos. They were cookin' some cool stuff.

If nothing else it would be nice to see someone do ANYTHING worthwile with the voice tracks. The tracks were recorded after Star Trek 6, and it's the last time most of these actors played their classic roles.

The good (?) news (3, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321393)

Generally when a gaming house goes into recievership, the game franchises they own go up for sale, the proceeds going to the creditors to pay all that backrent.

So for all you Descent/Freespace fans, there's a chance that somebody decent (are there still decent game houses now?) will pick it up and make it gold again in a year or so.

Re:The good (?) news (1)

Gleng (537516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321533)

Hmmmmm...Maybe (ex Black Isle) Obsidian Entertainment would be interested in acquiring the Baldur's Gate license.

Here's hoping!

Re:The good (?) news (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321798)

There's some promise. Black Isle made many excellent games.

Has Obsidian produced any games yet? Are there any on the way?

Re:The good (?) news (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#9325036)

Somehow, I doubt it... Atari's a much more likely purchaser for that. Given their huge wads of cash and their exclusive rights to the Dungeons & Dragons and Forgotten Realms franchises...

Re:The good (?) news (1)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 9 years ago | (#9326011)

Maybe I'm just old and bitter, but whenever I visit something like the Underdogs [the-underdogs.org] I see too many things that shoulda been picked up, but died on the vine (or even off the vine).

I got FS2 from there one time, way back. Now it points you to the Interplay store. Guess what? No more FS2, anywhere.

Been headed downhill for awhile now (5, Insightful)

FloodSpectre (745213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321490)

"Hopefully the rumors of Interplay's demise are greatly exaggerated."

Hopefully ? I'm hoping they do go under permanently. While I certainly feel bad for those who stayed with the company and have to deal with this now (which the exception of Caen, I have no sympathy for him), Interplay's been going downhill for years. Their tech support has to be the worst I've ever encountered (especially when they stopped replying to any of it two years ago), their "quality control" is completely non-existent.

For that matter, I can't think of a single good game they've released since Baldur's Gate 2. And, to me, the worst part was their decision to axe Fallout 3 (and Black Isle Studios for that matter) and instead pushed out the utterly worthless Fallout: BoS.

.. Well, at least on the bright side, now we have Obsidian and Troika out there (founded by ex-members of Black Isle)..

Re:Been headed downhill for awhile now (2, Insightful)

sckeener (137243) | more than 9 years ago | (#9324501)

And, to me, the worst part was their decision to axe Fallout 3 (and Black Isle Studios for that matter) and instead pushed out the utterly worthless Fallout: BoS.

Ok that seems to be what most people who bash Interplay are talking about; however Fallout BoS has a place and I'm sorry you apparently weren't the target.

I don't blame Interplay for using the Fallout brand name. It makes sense since it is a Gamma Worldish wasteland of a game.

I also don't blame them for the game being so different from the pc Fallout games. Fallout Brotherhood of Steel is on a console! Of course it is going to be different than playing on the pc.

My wife and I love all the games developed on the Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance engine and that includeds Fallout BoS.

Damn (3, Informative)

darkjedi521 (744526) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321577)

Time to order anything I wanted out of their back catalog before they go under and those titles are unavailable and near impossible to find.

I'll Miss Them... (2, Informative)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#9321584)

I still foundly remember those Star Trek adventure games they published back in the early 90's. But especially Starfleet Command which as an old Starfleet Battles player, was a dream come true!

Re:I'll Miss Them... (3, Informative)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9322319)

But especially Starfleet Command which as an old Starfleet Battles player, was a dream come true!
I would disagree here, mainly because I've attempted to write a mod for SFC. The API given for writing SFC mods is not up to par, and can quickly throw you into some very interesting limitations.

For example, I've attempted to modify the Tourneyfest to support AI players. It seemed to work find, but I quickly ran into problems with the AI players. In no particular order:

1. No matter which team I assign to the AIs, they always appear as Federation. There are ways to make sure that they are one of the other six factions, but it is not considered as dynamic as it could be. (tMissionInfo::mSetTeamRace sets the race for a team, but does not change the race for such a team after it has been created. You can't change it directly either, mainly because the team is stored in a Private section of the class.)

2. When you create a ship, you are neither returned a handle to the newly created ship, nor can you determine the existance of that ship without iterating through the entire list (assuming that it is possible.)

3. The documentation that came with the API was fairly poor - requiring the programmer to do a lot of guesswork of whcih functions did which.

The gameplay portion isn't bad - however, if you peek at the gory insides of the game itself, you'll begin to wonder how it managed to hold itself together.

Re:I'll Miss Them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9323544)

You can't change it directly either, mainly because the team is stored in a Private section of the class.

Gah, private members are one of the stupidest ideas ever to come to OOP. They totally break the whole point of inheritance. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to do a copy-and-paste job on some of Delphi's classes because the functionality I wanted to modify was "private".

Developers, a hint - if you want to hide something from the interface, make it protected, not private. A class with private members is not extensible, and if it ain't extensible I have to ask why you're bothering to make it a class.

Re:I'll Miss Them... (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9324668)

Gah, private members are one of the stupidest ideas ever to come to OOP. They totally break the whole point of inheritance.
The problem has nothing to do with extending classes. Rather, it has to do with working with existing classes, which are not very well constructed.


BTW, I strongly doubt that creating a new class to extend an existing one could help - that needs to be created for an SFC mod is a DLL file, indicating that SFC needs to know that an exact class is being used. Also, there is information that needs to be passed between the DLL and the main program, indicating the SFC expects it to be transmitted in a specific manner. While modifing the classes (or extending them) could help, it could also cause problems as the same time depending on how the data is passed.

I still have ways to bypass the private class definition that hasn't been tried yet - it involves tricks with memory pointers (which entirely bypass private member declarations, but kill off any chance of portability. Worth the risk since SFC only exists for one platform.)

Well.... (1)

brywalker (738506) | more than 9 years ago | (#9322284)

If they made a decent game once in a while they wouldn't be boned. I dream of the day I read this same thing about Acclaim.

A bittersweet sight.. (2, Insightful)

Mechcommander (784124) | more than 9 years ago | (#9322765)

While I didn't like Interplay for their business tactics or their snotty reputation, I do feel extremely sorry that the people of Interplay have lost their jobs. My dad works at HP, and he barely escaped with his job intact. For those of you happy to see Interplay go, consider this: What if you/your family lost a prominent job like that? Would you be happy? Would you be even happier that people were cheering your demise? I certainly think not. I'm able to live in my house, visit slashdot as much as I want, and eat when I want, because of my dad's job at HP. These people that just got fired from Interplay deserve at least a little respect. There may even be some slashdotters out there who can offer these guys a temporary job.. I certainly hope the gamer/nerd community comes together for these employees of a once-great company. They deserve it.

*sigh* (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9323764)

It's like a shooting gallery recently. Blam! Another one down.

Guess I'd better go download all their game patches, before they're gone forever.

Re:*sigh* (1)

FloodSpectre (745213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331150)

Why would their patches be gone forever ? You can find them all over the place, like at the Patches Scrolls.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 9 years ago | (#9338552)

I've had problems in the past with this, the company was gone, and the patches didn't seem to exist at these archives. It took me forever to find the patch for Jagged Alliance 1 a few years ago. Oh, there were tons of links to them, but everything came up 404.

The problem is the whole damn internet is so transitory. You bookmark a page for reference, come back in a year, and it's gone. Who's to say how long these patch sites will be up? It's gotten so bad, that I now keep a local archive of everything, software patches, drivers for all my old hardware, interesting web pages...

Is it just me, or is Interplay already gone? I haven't been able to connect to their page since this story first was posted.

Re:*sigh* (1)

FloodSpectre (745213) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340551)

I've actually been pretty lucky with the Patches Scrolls. I've been using their site for years now, and it's been very reliable. Anything I can't find there, I can just hop on eMule and find, fortunately.

As far as the Interplay site, it's been down for several weeks, long before anything was announced here on Slashdot (I've been following the story over at No Mutants Allowed). But apparently it's still responding to pings, which is strange.

well (5, Interesting)

jonaac (763147) | more than 9 years ago | (#9323809)

Interplay failed three times to pay the employees. Forgot for about two months to tell them they weren`t covered by medical, dental and insurance plans anymore, then restarted paying for those plans then stoped again.
They stoped paying rent and the owner of their rented space went to litigation. They stoped paying Atari for the D&D rights for eletronic gaming media,wich meant they lost the right to sell most of their backcatalogue, and Vivendi refuses to pay them anything else on Baldurs Gate: Darl Alliance3 until that`s settled, wich doesn`t seem likely. The crappy fallout game for consoles was an expensive sales failure. After Fallout3 they had already canceled two projects, and were working in just one, that was having some troubles because of yet again legal troubles.

So they told the devs and artists to go pick their personal belongings, while removing things during the long weekend. They are saying to the employees to go and ask for unemployement, in a bid to see if they won`t have to pay them what they owe.

They had 1.2 million dollars in the bank late December, and no one knows what happened to that.
The CEO told everyone last week he needed 3 million to pay salaries, rent and taxes, since they also owe money to the irs.

Good luck for the devs and artists, no matter how good many of them are in the context of the gaming industry in CA things aren`t good for getting jobs, i hope they get what they are intitled from Iplay and find better jobs.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9325693)

Good luck for the devs and artists, no matter how good many of them are in the context of the gaming industry in CA things aren`t good for getting jobs, i hope they get what they are intitled from Iplay and find better jobs.

Remember, Interplay and its dev houses created closed-source commercial software exclusively. With the cancellation of so many potentially great projects in mid-stream, the devs of FO3, BGDA3, BG3, etc. must now realize the inherent folly of developing commercial closed software - the sword of Damocles could fall at any time, and if it does all your work gets buried.

Perhaps what these devs need are not "better jobs" - which would in all cases in the gaming industry involve the development of closed-source commercial software - but a "better philosophy" of software development. These layoffs might be bad for the gaming biz in the short-term, but if it feeds more talent into the F/OSS pool for the long term it might not be such a bad thing.

Re:well (1)

batgimp (323956) | more than 9 years ago | (#9330924)

Vivendi refuses to pay them anything else on Baldurs Gate: Darl Alliance3 until that`s settled

Darl Alliance? Isn't that SCO and the Canopy Group?

*ducks*

Re:well (1)

dackroyd (468778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9331260)

They had 1.2 million dollars in the bank late December, and no one knows what happened to that.


That is bugger all money. The rent was alledgedly $150,000 a month. There were 100 employees left averaging 4k a month salary = $400,000 a month. As it's now june, not surprising there isn't any cash left.

Star Trek's Ally? (2, Interesting)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 9 years ago | (#9326283)

I am sad to see Interplay go, despite my best efforts. You see, I never pirated Interplay Software... I actually bought their games, more than from any other company.

I have originals of: - Star Trek: Judgement Rights (3.5" disks) + the Movie & Sound Pack Expansion (3.5" disks)
- Star Trek: Judgement Rights Limited CD-ROM Collectors Edition
- Star Trek: StarFleet Academy (SNES)
- Star Trek: StarFleet Academy (PC CD-ROM)
- Star Trek: StarFleet Command
- Star Trek: New worlds

Unfortunately, I had always wanted to buy but never got around to buying:
- Star Trek: StarFleet Academy - Checkov's Lost Missions
- Star Trek: StarFleet Command 2
- Star Trek: StarFleet Command 3
- Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

Possibly some others too, alas. Perhaps I shall eventually get them, a load of crap it will do for Interplay though. Interplay gave us the best Star Trek games for more than just one era of video gaming history - from 100% IBM Compatibles with 2 megs of RAM to the Super Nintendo to Fire Breathing Monsters of a Souped up PC. Interplay... I'll miss ya!

Re:Star Trek's Ally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9333514)

I have the 25th anniversary game... I could make an ISO of it, if you'd like...

closed (1)

jonaac (763147) | more than 9 years ago | (#9336637)

Interplay closed doors yesterday and told everyone to look for unemployement http://www.nma-fallout.com/ http://www.gamertalk.biz/viewtopic.php?t=1821&star t=20

Odd reporting (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 9 years ago | (#9338744)

I liked how gamespy had no info as to the status of interplay being open. They are less then 3 miles from each other. In Irvine CA. You would think a quick drive by would have helped clear that little bit of info up.

Re:Odd reporting (1)

jonaac (763147) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340594)

Update: there are still people working there, although many things were moved and no development of games exists, since the staff was told to get unemployemnet as the best choice. And a good article from Gamespot http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/06/04/news_60999 57.html

temporaly shut down (1)

jonaac (763147) | more than 9 years ago | (#9343188)

They were shut down by the labor state departement, after all what they`ve done to their employees they deserved it: http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/06/04/news_61000 19.html
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