Black Isle is a name remembered fondly by fans of classic CRPGs. In it’s tragically short seven year run it gave us such classics as Fallout, Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale games. The studio collapsed in 2003 as a result of the financial difficulties of its owner, Interplay, leading to the cancellation of five games, among them Baldur’s Gate III: The Black Hound and the original version of Fallout 3, known today as Van Buren.
Most of the big names from the Black Isle days went on to form various other studios, such as Troika, inXile and Obsidian, keeping the spirit of Black Isle alive despite numerous difficulties of their own (Troika closed in 2005, while Obsidian has a nasty habit of being screwed over by their partners).
Knowing the history of Black Isle and the various different paths taken by its employees following its closure, it came as a bit of surprise to me this morning to hear that Interplay is apparently bringing back Black Isle. A new website has gone up featuring a statement about its return and a mailing list sign up.
Can Black Isle really be considered “back” when none of the people who made the magic happen back in the day seem to be involved? It feels unsettling similar to how Infogrames hijacked the Atari name in order to exploit the history behind it. I am VERY wary about this.