Posts Tagged ‘interplay’

Fragile Allegiance & The RTS Formula That Never Was

The youngest of you won’t remember The Before Times. One of the minor side effects of the millennium bug killing off 90% of the Earth’s population was that not long afterwards, strategy games stratified into a tiny handful of highly formulaic subtypes. There’s a downside to the unquestionably better standards of design we’ve enjoyed in the last decade or so. It’s rare to find a genuinely bad game in the same way that games were bad in the 90s. But I can’t help imagining what other ideas were bounced around before everyone agreed that the wheel was indeed the way forward, and Unk and Thogg would have to resign their posts as Chief and Assistant Thing Hurler To The Village And Sometimes The River.

Take, for example, Fragile Allegiance [Mobygames link]. Its position in game history was odd even on release in 1996 – both a port and a remake and a sequel to the Amiga’s semi-obscure, direly-named, but terrific K240 (itself a sequel to 1991’s Utopia) – and its design still defies the neat categorisation we’re used to. Technically it’s a real-time strategy straddling “city builder” and “4X”, but not quite conforming to any common model.

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Interplay Sells Off Descent, Kingpin, Earthworm Jim Etc

Don’t call it a comeback. Don’t call it, like, three comebacks. Interplay, once renowned as a house of PC ideas, has failed to get back off the ground across various attempts at resurrection, and it seems matters have gone no better for whoever is currently wearing the well-worn skinsuit. ‘Interplay’ has just announced a firesale of various intellectual properties. Which means that the likes of Descent, Freespace, Kingpin, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, MDK, Sacrifice and Earthworm bally Jim are now looking for new homes.

Oh God, come on, let’s do this. Let’s get the RPS community to club together to buy the rights to and make a new Kingpin game.
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Have You Played… Star Trek: 25th Anniversary?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

This is my first time with Interplay’s TOS-set point and click adventure game since the 90s. I was braced for awful things. I was wrong. It’s still rather lovely – and, if the Abramsverse leaves you pining for the more measured approach of the Roddenberry years, rest assured that this is very Star Trek indeed.

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Fluffy Fluffy News! Toonstruck Arrives On GOG

It's been a while, friends -The Phantom Alt-Texter

It bothers me to my core that Toonstruck is not a more widely remembered and adored ’90s adventure. It deserves to be celebrated alongside LucasArts and Sierra, and yet so often goes forgotten. Thankfully, attention is being drawn to it once more as it finally arrives in GOG’s collection. It’s brilliant! You should play it.

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Freespace Boardgame: Sort-Of Interplay Sort Of Returns

It’s the day for gaming comebacks! Just so long as they’re gaming comebacks in which it’s difficult to ascertain whether anyone meaningfully involved in the original thing is on board. Interplay’s latest attempt to re-enter our affections isn’t quite as suspicion-clouded as West Games’ second dodgy-lookin’ gesture towards a spiritual STALKER sequel, but it’s fair to say that whoever wears the Interplay skinsuit are not Interplay’s original founders. They have, however, managed to recruit Chris Taylor, one of the Fallout’s designers, and it’s he who’s made an “officially-licensed” boardgame adaptation of Interplay’s space combat sim Freespace. Wot no Clayfighter 4?
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Descent Reimagining Sol Contingency Foxed

Love will tear us apart again.

Fan remakes and reimaginings are labours of love living on a knife-edge, potentially blooming into a glorious monument to their adoration but knowing that one single letter from the owner could shut everything down at any moment. Sol Contingency has received that letter. It was to be a shiny “reimagining” of Parallax’s splendid six-degrees-of-freedom space shooter Descent in the UDK, but owners Interplay have stopped that. The team say they’ll continue, changing enough to make Sol Contingency their own thing.

But this wasn’t all unrequited love; at one point, Interplay were interested in making Sol Contingency an official Descent game.

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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: Neuromancer

[I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!]

Interplay’s 1988 Neuromancer game is only very loosely based on the William Gibson novel of the same name. As it turns out, legendary acid psychologist Timothy Leary was the one who originally wanted to make a game about the book — he thought escaping into computer games might be the next psychedelic frontier.

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Descent Is 19 Tomorrow, And On Steam Today

Yesterday, when I glanced at the new releases on Steam and saw “Descent” I thought, “Huh, someone’s used that name again – well, it has been nineteen years since it came out.” And then I dropped down dead of old age and horror because it’s been nineteen years since Descent came out. I’ve only just recovered from this death, and looked again. No, it’s actually Descent. It’s somehow appeared on Steam. Descent!

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No Caps: Fallout 1, 2 And Tactics Free At GOG

As the headline says, three Fallout games for free. GO AND GET THEM. These isometric beauties will vanish from GOG at the end of the year. The DRM-free store doesn’t reckon it’ll be allowed to peddle them after year’s end as the current deal with Interplay will expire. After December 31st, the rights belong to Bethesda/ZeniMax. However, the magic of GOG means that if you add the free versions to your account in the next 47 hours (I’m an hour late with this post – SORRY), you’ll be able to keep a copy forever. Go go go.

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Circuitously Fortuitous: Interplay Nabs Freespace IP

Remember the days before Volition exclusively made (admittedly marvelous) games about superpowered crimelords/US Presidents dubstep gunning virtual reality aliens? Those were very different times. For one, we didn’t have smartphones or Facebook or music players we have to actively worry about ingesting or anything like that, but mainly that era saw the Saints Row’s developer craft some of the finest space combat sims in all the ‘verse. Unfortunately, Freespace and Freespace 2 couldn’t out-dogfight the then-mighty retail mothership, and the Interplay-published series crashed and burned. But here’s the fun part: Via Volition, Freespace ended up at THQ, who’s now sold it back to… Interplay.

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Black Isle Asks For Your Money… Badly

You probably remember that legendary RPG powerhouse Black Isle Studios abruptly rose from the dead earlier this year. You might also remember feeling supremely baffled by that fact, given that Interplay’s now a penniless shell of a company, and the “old band” it was hoping to get back together had already, you know, done that – just at Obsidian and inXile. So how exactly does this new studio wearing Black Isle’s pajamas hope to paddle through the overwhelming waters of seeming impossibility? Well, predictably, that’s where you come in. But, to be perfectly honest, you probably won’t want to.

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GOG Adds Mac Support, Witcher 2 Mod Kit Dated

Unfortunately, they can only be played on the bottom third of your screen.

This “Macintosh Personal Computer” thing is never going to catch on, but folks like Valve and now GOG insist on humoring owners of these unnaturally pristine elf machines, so here we are. During its much-ballyhooed news-a-thon, GOG drew back the curtain on a new version of its service tailored to Macs, which brings with it 50 games (eight of which you receive free just for signing up) and some rather tempting deals. Speaking of, there’s this insane 32-game pay-what-you-want Interplay special leading the charge in celebration of GOG’s fourth anniversary. The tearful sort-of-family reunion would not, however, be complete without Geralt’s permafrost tundra of a glare brightening up the room, so CD Projekt Red took the stage to demonstrate its Witcher 2 mod toolset. I’d say “imagine the possibilities,” but imaginations are for people who don’t have extremely impressive time-lapse videos. Check it out after the break.

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Bwah? – Interplay Boss Speaks Out On Black Isle Plans

We're baaaaaack! Kind of? Maybe? Honestly, we don't even know.

Yesterday, golden age RPG powerhouse Black Isle Studios abruptly rose from the dead. Now death – according to the many dead people I’ve spoken to in the name of accurate, well-researched reporting – is frequently permanent, so people were a bit surprised when the fallen Fallout factory suddenly whirred back to life. Even the likes of Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo didn’t know what to make of it. But hey, Interplay’s finally chiming in, so it’s time for the world to make sense again, right? Errrrrr.

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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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Guest Blog: Interplay’s Wasteland Memories

The remarkable Wasteland 2 crowdsourcing wagon rolls on – it’s currently bagged itself $2.35m across Kickstarter and Paypal, and rising. We’ve already heard from Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone, but today returning Wasteland designer (and New York Times bestselling author) Michael A. Stackpole pens a guest post for us, detailing some of his more memorable experiences when working on the first Wasteland back in the late 1980s.

Read on for map design secrets, the unexpected side-effects of the anti-piracy systems of the time, why Wasteland endures, dehydrated cosplay and how Interplay used to scare old men.
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You Could Be Playing Dungeon Master Right Now

I always saw the bodies top-right as some kind of weird logo.

With Legend Of Grimrock coming up soon, my thoughts turned back to the original Dungeon Master. Released in 1987, a year I mostly spent aged 9, it was for me one of the most defining games of my childhood. Smart, enormous, and terrifying, it was such a stride forward for gaming. But I was pretty certain getting it working on a Windows 7 box was going to be something of a fiddly nightmare. Not so!

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Bethesda Own All Rights To A Fallout MMO

He stares at a future that will never be.

You may remember that last week we brought the news that the legal fusspottery over the ownership of the rights to make a Fallout MMO had come to an end. We just didn’t know which way the nuclear chips had fallen. It seems things fell in Bethesda’s favour, in a fight that now looks rather like Goliath squished David with his fist. Eurogamer are reporting that Interplay have completely lost any rights to make a Fallout MMO, with intellectual property rights entirely belonging to Bethesda. However, there’s a sizable fee of $2 million heading Interplay’s way from Bethesda owners Zenimax, as part of the deal.

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Bethesda/Interplay Argy-Bargy Ends

This is fallout online, allegedly, said a man once

It’s the Duke Nukem Forever of gaming-based legal scuffles, and apparently it’s over at last. We don’t yet know the details – i.e. who’s won, who’s paying who what and most of all who, if anyone, will be releasing a Fallout MMO – but we do know that, after an awful lot of back and forth and he said no he said but he started it but yeah but no a settlement has finally been reached in the long-running Bethesda and Interplay battle.
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Law: Fallout MMO Can Continue To Continue

"This post-apocalyptic frippery shall damage the good name of Baron Bethesda, Sirrah!" "Poppycock, you egg!" &c &c &c

Here’s the story so far. Interplay are developing a Fallout MMO title and Bethesda are attempting to block further development through application of The Law. When their previous injunction failed, Bethesda took things all the way to the United States District Court of Appeals, claiming that the previous court had “misapplied the law”. If it was indeed a misapplication, the very same slip up has occurred once more. Stop misapplying Law, courts, you’re getting it all over the drapes.

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Bethesda Barred From Barring Fallout MMO

I want Interplay to win, but mostly so we can finally get some new screenshots to use

The great and terrible Final Battle between Bethesda and Interplay regarding the latter’s right to create an MMO based on the Fallout licence they part-sold to the former some years ago is still yet to be fought, but the litigation-lovin’ folk at Bethesda have seen a potentially major setback in their efforts to take full control of wasteland adventuring. For a while, the two parties have been locked in snarling battle about whether Interplay are still allowed to make a Fallout MMO, with Bethesda claiming they failed to meet time and budgetary criteria outlined in the original license-selling deal. Interplay have claimed they’ve stuck the agreement, and thus continued with working on said MMO (actually contracting developing Masthead Studios to do it for them). Bethesda tried to stop ’em, but a US judge has now stopped Bethesda from stopping them. Got that? Read the rest of this entry »