Posts Tagged ‘Black-Isle’

“If you treat them as the enemy, it’s not going to be a good relationship.” Obsidian’s Feargus Urquhart on publishers

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Since its foundation in 2003, Obsidian Entertainment has worked with seven different publishers. Commencing with LucasArts on Knights of the Old Republic II, Obsidian has since signed contracts with Atari, SEGA, Bethesda, Square Enix, Ubisoft and most recently, Paradox Interactive. In fact, up until Pillars of Eternity [official site], every single game Obsidian had made was funded and distributed by a different publisher.

This is a highly unusual state of affairs, and has proved precarious more than once in the company’s history. But it has also provided Obsidian with a unique insight into how the world of publishing works, and how the relationship between developer and publisher has changed in the last couple of decades. This topic is especially pertinent today, as new methods of funding and distributing games have seen a significant shift in the power dynamic between developers and publishers.

I spoke to CEO Feargus Urquhart about how it all works (and doesn’t).

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Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition – an elegant remastering, with a few exceptions

Surprise classic RPG remastering attack! Mere weeks after revered 1999 philoso-roleplayer Planescape: Torment [official site] enjoyed a belated spiritual sequel in the over-lored but otherwise strong Torment Tides Of Numenera, it gets itself a modernised re-release too. It’s due out April 11, but I’ve got the thing updating my hard drive’s journal and changing the nature of my VDU right now.

We’re not going to run a full review because we all played PST a thousand years ago and know full well it’s a solid-gold classic of narrative’n’choice-led games, but I do want to look at what’s changed in Beamdog’s ‘Enhanced Edition‘ and whether it’s a meaningful improvement. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, though the net result is the most playable and best-looking version of PST to date. Read the rest of this entry »

Back In: Black Isle Being Resurrected By Interplay

Hmm. Well, this came out of nowhere. OK, not entirely nowhere – we are living in the age of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Wasteland 2, and talk of a new Planescape: Torment, after all – but I can’t say I was expecting Black Isle to just suddenly explode out of the suspiciously human-sized birthday cake that is life. And yet, here we are. Black Isle Studios is apparently back. I mean, look at that picture. It’s as clear as day.

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Black Isle’s Fallout 3 Demo


Some of the Fallout chatter on here reminded me of the canceled “Van Buren” project, which would have been Fallout 3 had Interplay not closed down the Black Isle project in 2003. Most of you will have seen this last year, but I thought it worth mentioning that the tech demo was leaked in 2007 and is now freely available over on StrategyInformer. There’s not a great deal to it, but the very existence of an alternate Fallout 3 makes for an interesting compare and contrast.

Bethesda have said there isn’t going to be a demo for their Fallout 3, which should hit the PC on October 28th.

Last Rites, she said…

It’s always fun when a story generates another story. Regular readers will recall the Planescape retrospective I posted recently. The ever-lovely Slashdot picked up on it, and one of their commentators pointed everyone in the direction of the game’s actual Vision Statement over at RPGWatch, from when it was called “Last Rites” rather than “Planescape: Torment” and they weretrying to persuade management to greenlight the project.

Since I hadn’t read it, it’s likely that a lot of you haven’t either. It’s interesting to see what was planned that didn’t happen. And it’s interesting because it’s incredibly fucking interesting. It’s one of the best videogame documents I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s smart, driven, obsessed and actually really funny. For example, it has diagrams that look like this.

Awesomeosity

Clearly, you should read the whole thing. If you haven’t played the game, don’t go past page 25. It’s relatively spoiler free until then, before immediately revealing the biggest secrets in the game. And I’ll quote some random non-spoiler examples beneath the cut.

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