"By Gamers, For Gamers"
|Traded as||OTC Pink: IPLY|
|Headquarters||Beverly Hills, California, United States|
|Key people||Herve Caen
(Chairman and CEO)
Baldur's Gate series
|Revenue||$1.38 million (2010)|
|Net income||$1.03 million (2010)|
|Employees||11–20 (June 2013)|
|Divisions||Black Isle Studios|
Interplay Entertainment Corporation is an American video game developer and publisher, founded in 1983 as Interplay Productions by Brian Fargo. As a developer, Interplay is best known as the creator of the original Fallout series and as a publisher, Interplay is best known for the Baldur's Gate and Descent series.
Interplay, having gone through hard times financially by the founding management, sold Interplay stock to Titus Software for $35 million in cash to keep the company alive. Approximately two years later, the financial situation was dire and Titus took control by converting bonds into stock. Fargo left the company and Herve Caen took over to perform triage. Interplay liquidated Shiny Entertainment and closed its in-house development studios such as Black Isle Studios and BlueSky Software. Fargo recruited a handful of ex-Interplay employees and founded inXile Entertainment, an American video game development company based in Newport Beach, California, in 2002.
Interplay rebounded following the acquisition of the Fallout IP by Bethesda Softworks in 2007 with Interplay back-licensing the rights to Fallout Online. In 2011, the rights to Fallout Online were transferred to Bethesda following a lengthy lawsuit and subsequent settlement between Interplay and Bethesda.
The company was founded in October 1983 as Interplay Productions in Southern California with Brian Fargo as CEO. The first employees were the programmers Jay Patel, Troy Worrell, and Bill Heineman who had previously worked with Fargo at a small video game developer called Boone Corporation. The first projects were non-original and consisted of software conversions and even some military work for Loral Corporation. After negotiations with Activision, Interplay entered a US$100,000 contract to produce three illustrated text adventures for them. Published in 1984, Mindshadow is loosely based on Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity while The Tracer Sanction puts the player in the role of an interplanetary secret agent. Borrowed Time which features a script by Arnie Katz' Subway Software followed in 1985. These adventures built upon work previously done by Fargo: his first game was the 1981 published Demon's Forge.
Interplay's parser was developed by Fargo and an associate and in one version understands about 250 nouns and 200 verbs as well as prepositions and indirect objects. In 1986, Tass Times in Tonetown followed. Interplay made a name for itself as a quality developer of role-playing video games with the three-part series The Bard's Tale (1985–1988), critically acclaimed Wasteland (1988) and Dragon Wars (1989). All of them were published by Electronic Arts.
Interplay started publishing its own games, starting with Neuromancer and Battle Chess, in 1988, and then moved on to publish and distribute games from other companies, while continuing internal game development. In 1995, Interplay published the hit game Descent, developed by startup Parallax Software. Interplay published several Star Trek video games, including Star Trek: 25th Anniversary for computers and for Nintendo and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. These games had later CD-ROM editions released with the original Star Trek cast providing voices. Interplay also published Starfleet Academy and Klingon Academy games, and Starfleet Command series, beginning with Star Trek: Starfleet Command. Another game, Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury, was in development in the late 1990s but was never completed and much of its staff laid off due to budgetary cuts prompted by various factors. In 1995, after several years of delays, Interplay finally published its role-playing game Stonekeep. Other PC games released during the mid-to-late 1990s games included Carmageddon, Fragile Allegiance, Hardwar and Redneck Rampage.
In 1997, Interplay developed and released Fallout, a successful and critically acclaimed role-playing video game set in a retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic setting. Black Isle Studios, a newly created in-house developer, followed with the sequel, Fallout 2, in 1998. Another successful subsequent Interplay franchise was Baldur's Gate, a Dungeons & Dragons game that was developed by BioWare and which spawned a successful expansion, sequel and spin-off series. The spin-off series started with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance; the game's success forged a sequel as well. Aside from Dark Alliance, Interplay published a few notable console series such as Loaded and the fighting game series ClayFighter and the games by Shiny Entertainment, Murder Death Kill and Wild 9.
In 1998, Interplay went public, with shares sold on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, changing its name to Interplay Entertainment Corp. At the time, the market for IPOs had started to slow from the boom years of the early and mid-1990s, yet the need for capital drove Fargo to file the offering. Increased competition, less than stellar returns on Interplay’s sports division and the lack of console titles forced the company to seek additional funding two years later with an investment from Titus Software, a Paris-based game company. In 1999, the relationship between Fargo and majority shareholder Titus deteriorated and the company then reported several years of losses, as titles such as Descent 3 and FreeSpace 2 had lackluster sales, despite being critically acclaimed Interplay's shares were delisted from the NASDAQ in 2002 due to the company's low share price. Successful Black Isle-made games included Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series.
By 2001, Titus Software completed its acquisition of majority control of Interplay. Immediately afterwards, they shed most of its publisher functions and signed a long-term agreement by which Vivendi Universal would publish Interplay's games. Interplay founder Brian Fargo eventually departed to found InXile Entertainment as Fargo's plan to change Interplay's main focus from PC gaming to console gaming failed. On December 8, 2003, Interplay laid off the entire Black Isle Studios staff.
Following the 2004 release of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, Interplay reportedly shut down its operations, licensing the rights to create three Fallout games to Bethesda Softworks. However, in 2005 Interplay reemerged, only to cancel Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance III, as well as their MMO-RTS game Ballerium, which was in development by Majorem. Interplay was threatened with bankruptcy and sold the full Fallout franchise to Bethesda, but kept the rights to the Fallout MMO through a back license in April 2007 and began work on the MMO later that year.
In 2008, Interplay published Earthworm Jim and Earthworm Jim 2 for re-release on the Wii Virtual Console and announced that in collaboration with Masthead Studios they would continue work on Fallout Online. Interplay also licensed out to Gameloft the rights to create Earthworm Jim HD. In 2010, Interplay launched its own program to publish indie development games, Interplay Discovery, through Discovery they launched their first game in years, Pinball Yeah!, which was followed by Tommy Tronic. Interplay then re-released Prehistorik Man on to the DSiWare being their first direct game on the Nintendo DS, as Earthworm Jim HD was developed and published by Gameloft. Interplay's second DSiWare game was a similarly themed dinosaur game, Legendary Wars: T-Rex Rumble. In 2011, Interplay released MDK2 HD. Continuing their Discovery program, Interplay released Death and the Fly and Homesteader, ported Legendary Wars: T-Rex Rumble from the DS to the iPhone and iPad, and released another Discovery title, Crazy Cats Love. In 2012, Interplay Discovery ported Crazy Cats Love on to the OnLive system while releasing Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancients on the Nintendo WiiWare.
Following the cancellation of Fallout Online in 2011, Interplay listed PV13 for an unknown release date on their website. In 2012, to help promote their upcoming release of Battle Chess, Interplay launched its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Interplay then revealed financial issues occurring at Subdued Software which would require crowd funding via Kickstarter for the multiplayer aspects of the game; the Battle Chess funding was unsuccessful leaving the future of the game in doubt. Soon after, though, Interplay announced the re-release of MDK2 HD on Steam; it was re-released on July 30, 2012. Soon after, Interplay announced the relaunch of Black Isle Studios and launched a website and Facebook and Twitter accounts for the resurrected studio.
Shortly after the re-release of Prehistorik Man for Android, the relaunched Black Isle Studios would revive Fallout Online as Project V13. To fund the tech-demo of the project, Interplay would launch the "Black Isle Mayan Apocalypse Replacement program". This funded an internal discussion group for donors to talk about the development of "PV13". Interplay owned most of the rights to FreeSpace and on June 4 they acquired the remaining rights to the FreeSpace franchise for $7500. Interplay's fundraising campaign ended for PV13 with a total of $6,630.
Due to Interplay using the Dark Alliance Engine for Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, and the GameCube version of the original Dark Alliance without consent from Snowblind Studios, the two studios were engaged in a legal conflict between 2003 and 2004. The lawsuit ended up determining that while Interplay would be allowed to work with materials already using the Dark Alliance Engine, they would not be able to use it for any future games. The lawsuit would have Interplay giving the Baldur's Gate trademark to Atari and the Dark Alliance trademark, albeit temporarily, to Snowblind Studios.
Glutton Creeper Games sued Interplay in 2007 for breach of contract for a Fallout pen-and-paper role-playing game. GCG and Interplay settled the suit for an undisclosed amount in May 2009. Bethesda Softworks sued Interplay on September 8, 2009, regarding the Fallout Online license and selling of Fallout Trilogy and sought an injunction to stop development of Fallout Online and sales of Fallout Trilogy. After several trials spanning almost three years, in exchange for 2 million dollars, Interplay gave to Bethesda full rights for Fallout Online. Interplay's rights to sell and merchandise Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel will expire on December 31, 2013.
After Topware Interactive revealed that they were developing Battle vs. Chess to be published by SouthPeak Games, Interplay sued them and won an injunction to stop sales in the United States. In February 2012, Interplay won the case via default and a settlement for $200,000 plus interest was agreed upon on November 15, 2012.
- Interplay Discovery, a subdivision of Interplay aimed at publishing games made by indie developers.
- Black Isle Studios in Orange County, California, started in 1996, closed in 2003 due to financial problems. Reopened nine years later in 2012 after the financial success of MDK2 HD.
- BlueSky Software in California, started in 1988, closed in 2001.
- Brainstorm in Irvine, California
- Interplay Films, a division of Interplay Entertainment, was formed in 1998 and was supposed to develop seven of the company’s most popular video game titles into movies, including Descent, Redneck Rampage and Fallout. The president of the division was Tom Reed.
- Shiny Entertainment in Laguna Beach, California, founded in October 1993, acquired in 1995, sold to Atari in 2002. It later merged with The Collective, Inc. to form Double Helix Games in October 2007.
- 14 Degrees East, the strategy division of Interplay, located in Beverly Hills, California. The company was founded March 3, 1999.
- Interplay Sports located in Beverly Hills, California was the internal sports division at Interplay. The company was previously known as VR Sports until the name change in 1998.
- Tantrum Entertainment
- Tribal Dreams
- Digital Mayhem, an Interplay development studio that ported Giants: Citizen Kabuto to the PS2 and developed Run Like Hell.
- Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson, "High Score." 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill/Osborne: Emeryville, California, 2004. p.209. ISBN 0-07-223172-6
- Rebecca Heineman Interview. Digit Press, 2006.
- The contract was factually a 9-product deal, as each of the three adventures was targeted for three platforms: Apple II, Commodore 64 and PC (CGA).
- Interplay Entertainment at MobyGames
- Shay Addams. "if yr cmptr cn rd ths..." In: Computer Entertainment, August 1985, pages 24–27, 76–77.
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- June 27, 2002 12:33 pm (2002-06-27). "Information on the change of control to Titus". Frictionlessinsight.com. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
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- "INTERPLAY AND MASTHEAD STUDIOS FINALIZE AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER ONLINE GAME". Interplay Entertainment. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- "Earthworm Jim Remastered". Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Pinball Yeah! now available for iPad/iPhone". Interplay Entertainment. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- "Prehistorik Man flops for the DSiWare". Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Legendary Wars: T-Rex Rumble Out". Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Interplay Discovery press release from Interplay website
- "Legendary Wars going to the iOS". Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- "Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancients Released". Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancients review". Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "Interplay". Interplay. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Interplay". Interplay. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Battle Chess by Subdued Software — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Battle Chess by Subdued Software » Updates — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Interplay". Interplay. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- Single-player (2012-07-30). "MDK2 HD on Steam". Store.steampowered.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Twitter / InterplayGames: Announcing the re-launch of". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Black Isle Studios". Blackisle.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Black Isle Studios (@BlackIsleStudio) op Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Black Isle Studios". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- Prehistorik Man for Android
- Interplay Buys Freespace Rights For a Cool $7,500
- "The Great Fallout Legal Battle Ends Without a Fallout MMO". Kotaku. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 1997-04-12. Archived from the original on 1997-04-12. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- [dead link]
- "14° East". MobyGames. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- [dead link]
- "VR Sports". Answers.com. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 1998-12-12. Archived from the original on 1998-12-12. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- [dead link]
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2002-09-21. Archived from the original on 2002-09-21. Retrieved 2012-10-09.