Interplay, one of the Big Four independant publishers (Others being EA, Ubisoft & Atari. Gathering doesn’t quite make this list yet) recently shut down Black Isle Studios, creators of most of the best CRPGs of the last few years (This was because most of BIS’s most profitable licences – Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale & Planescape – are owned by Atari (Who once were Inforgrames, who cut a special deal for the remains of Hasbro Interactive, who own Wizards of the Coast, who bought TSR, who own the actual D&D Licences. Remember, Capitalism means there’s lots more options in the market-place, and isn’t that neat?).
They were working on Fallout 3, which was – as the others were – a post-nuclear RPG. They were one of the two companies – the other being Bioware – to rebuild the CRPG genre almost from scratch, and it’s really annoying they’ve been let go like this.
On the other hand:
For some reason, there has been a high amount of speculation about Black Isle Studios and intellectual property surrounding the Fallout license. My only guess is that the source of these rumors must be an employee/employees who recently departed Interplay.[…]
Accordingly, if Interplay management had closed its most valuable development asset or chosen to abandon one of its most prized intellectual assets, the Company would have made an announcement.
As always, Interplay management is focused on delivering great, profitable games and maximum shareholder value.
A letter from Interplay
The killer is that last sentance, I feel. But anyway, the fact that Interplay have laid off the entire staff of BIS doesn’t mean that BIS is gone, oh no. In the same way that Disney laying off all it’s 2D Animators doesn’t mean that they’ve now given up on animation.
Doesn’t mean anything.
Just an awfully strong hint.