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Black Isle Studios

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Black Isle Studios
Company typeSubsidiary In Name Only Unit of Interplay since original shut down in 2003
IndustryVideo games
Founded1996; 28 years ago (1996)
FounderFeargus Urquhart
SuccessorObsidian Entertainment
Key people
Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, Darren Monahan, Chris Parker
ParentInterplay Entertainment
Websitewww.blackisle.com at the Wayback Machine (archived November 5, 2014) [a]

Black Isle Studios is a division of the developer and publisher Interplay Entertainment formed in 1996 that develops role-playing video games. It has published several games from other developers.

Black Isle is based in Irvine, California.[1] The idea for the division's name came from the Black Isle in Scotland – founder Feargus Urquhart's ancestral country.[2] Black Isle Studios is most famous for its work on the Fallout series as well as the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment. They achieved success with the Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate series of role-playing video games, though they only published the Baldur's Gate series. In 1999, IGN's RPG Vault gave it the award for a Developer of the Year.[3] The company was closed in late 2003 due to Interplay's financial troubles.[4]

Interplay briefly revived the Black Isle name in August 2012 with the intention of producing new role-playing games under that label.[5][6] Black Isle Studios released Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance remastered in May 2021.[7]


Created in 1996 by Feargus Urquhart, the studio was named Black Isle after Urquhart's homeland. The studio, although credited for the creation of Fallout was, in fact, not responsible for the game. Rather a key portion of the original studio came from the team that made Fallout. When developing Fallout 2, several employees left Interplay to form Troika Games after they "were unable to come to an agreement with Interplay as to how [their] next team should be structured."[8] The remaining team would go on to release such critically acclaimed games as Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale. The studio also released critically acclaimed Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn developed by BioWare.

In the years leading to the closure of Black Isle, Interplay's financial difficulties would worsen, leading for the team to cancel anticipated games as Black Isle's Torn and Stonekeep 2: Godmaker, releasing only Icewind Dale II, publishing Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader and developing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II. On December 8, 2003, in the midst of serious financial difficulties, Interplay laid off the entire Black Isle Studios staff, which also resulted in the cancellation of Baldur's Gate III: The Black Hound, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance III and the original Fallout 3.[4]

In 2012, Interplay had been trying for several years to get the troubled Project V13 off the ground. Originally conceived as a massively multiplayer online game set in the world of Fallout, the project suffered a significant setback when Interplay lost all rights to use the Fallout brand. As part of their efforts to restart the project anew, Interplay revived Black Isle Studios with two of its original team members and began a crowdfunding campaign to fund a prototype in 2012.[9] The campaign did not raise sufficient funds to develop a playable prototype, and communications from Interplay and Black Isle about the project had ceased completely by early 2014.[10]





Two compilations bearing their name were also released:

  • Black Isle Compilation (2002)
  • Black Isle Compilation Part Two (2004)


Cancelled projects include:


  1. ^ Additional archives: Last live version after 2003 shutdown at the Wayback Machine (archived April 5, 2004), Revival Announcement at the Wayback Machine (archived September 19, 2012)


  1. ^ "Black Isle Studios". IGN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
  2. ^ Keefer, John (January 2001). "Black Isle Studios: We are not BioWare". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2004-12-11. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
  3. ^ 1999 Vault Network Awards
  4. ^ a b Thorsen, Tor (2003-12-08). "Interplay shuts down Black Isle Studios". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. Retrieved May 1, 2006.
  5. ^ Sarkar, Samit (8 August 2012). "Black Isle Studios is back in name only". Polygon. Archived from the original on 22 July 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Games – Page 83 – Black Gate". 23 October 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2023. Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  7. ^ "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 Re-Release is "On the Table" – Black Isle Studios". Archived from the original on 2022-07-22. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  8. ^ Blancato, Joe. "The Rise and Fall of Troika". The Escapist. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2007.
  9. ^ Rougeau, Mike (23 December 2012). "What The Hell Is Up With The New Black Isle?". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  10. ^ monokoma (5 September 2017). "Project V13 (Strategy RPG Version)". Unseen64: Beta, Cancelled & Unseen Videogames. Archived from the original on 13 September 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2018.