Black Isle Studios

Black Isle Studios is a division of the U.S. computer game manufacturer Interplay Entertainment, which specializes in the development of computer role-playing games. It was founded in 1996 and had until its closure in 2003 based in Irvine (California), near Los Angeles. The company is best known for her work on the computer role-playing games Fallout and Planescape: Torment, and their collaboration on the Baldur Gate series. 2012, the studio was reopened.


Black Isle was created in 1996 as a spin-off of the internal RPG development department Interplay Entertainment's ( The Bard's Tale, Wasteland ) by Feargus Urquhart founded. Interplay had come at this time in the possession of two software licenses the RPG Dungeons & Dragons rules, based on which the team should develop new computer games. As a studio for the time being nameless, however, was the post-apocalyptic Fallout, the first track of the newly formed developer. It was a spiritual sequel to Interplay's classic Wasteland, whose naming rights were remained with Interplay's former publishing partner Electronic Arts. Fallout proved a surprise hit, so a sequel was commissioned, which should appear in the following year 1998. Also in 1998, the name Black Isle Studios was adopted, according to the Black Isle from Feargus Urquhart's native Scotland. But left in the same year, three key developers of Fallout - Timothy Cain, Leonard Boyarsky and Jason D. Anderson - the Black Isle Studios to found Troika Games after Project Tim Cain failed to reach an agreement on the team structure to Fallout 2. Despite these disposals Fallout 2 as planned, appeared a year after its predecessor.

Besides our own developments produced and oversaw Black Isle Interplay the RPG - order work of external developers, including BioWare's Baldur 's Gate and Baldur 's Gate 2 In fact, happened to Interplay's job to BioWare based on a recommendation Urquhart, in the course of its production work to BioWare's debut album Shattered Steel a prototype of BioWare's new game engine Battleground Infinity was presented. Published between 1999 and 2002 Black Isle based on this engine used in Baldur 's Gate - officially called Infinity Engine - the games Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale 2 The work on several months of new development called Torn, however, were in 2001 because of continuing technical problems and set a clear excess over the schedule, 56 employees were subsequently dismissed.

In April 2003, studio director Feargus Urquhart left the company after he was unable to reach agreement on the orientation of the studio with the meantime changed Interplay Management. Interplay has worked in deficit for several years. End of 2002 / beginning of 2003 Interplay lost the D & D license, so the Black Isle has been running for two years working on Baldur 's Gate 3: The Black Hound (internal working title: Project Jefferson ) had to stop. According to Urquhart himself Interplay also began to focus more on the console market, and although the Black Isle with Baldur 's Gate had produced Dark Alliance the most successful console game of the company, played the studio in the strategic planning of the Interplay management a subordinate role and increasingly less well supported. Subsequently, additional senior staff left the company. On 8 December 2003, in the midst of serious financial difficulties, Interplay released the entire remaining workforce of Black Isle Studios. Numerous former Black Isle employees came to her dismissal quickly under other developers. A large part of the workforce was employed by Obsidian Entertainment, which was founded in 2003 by a core team of former Black Isle Studios to Feargus Urquhart and Chris Avellone.

(Codenamed Van Buren ) By Black Isles closure of the already advanced work on a third Fallout titles remained without a degree. Interplay sold the license to Bethesda Softworks where the series with Fallout 3 was continued. Some concepts to Van Buren found by Fallout: New Vegas, a commissioned work for Obsidian Entertainment's Bethesda under the auspices of the Van Buren developer Joshua E. Sawyer and Chris Avellone, after all, still input in the game universe.

The use of names of former U.S. presidents as a code name for unannounced title to the usual naming scheme of Black Isle Studios.

In August 2012, Interplay announced a revival of the Black Isle Studios, but without providing information on future projects or the personnel composition of the studio.


  • Fallout (1997, Originally published yet Interplay )
  • Fallout 2 (1998)
  • Planescape: Torment (1999)
  • Icewind Dale (2000)
  • Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (2001)
  • Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter - Trials of the Luremaster (2001)
  • Icewind Dale 2 (2002)
  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II ( 2004)

In addition to developing in-house computer games Black Isle also contributed to the development of some displaced by Interplay computer role-playing games. Since Black Isle had a great name as a role-playing game company and was involved in the distribution of Baldur Gate series, there are erroneous assertions that Black Isle had the Baldur 's Gate series - developed. This is wrong, because it was developed by BioWare, those company which in turn is falsely implicated in the development of the Icewind Dale series. The titles where Black Isle participated include:

  • Baldur 's Gate (1998)
  • Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (1999)
  • Baldur 's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000)
  • Baldur 's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001)
  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance ( 2001)
  • Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (2003)

Under the studio name also two games collections have been published:

  • Black Isle Compilation ( 2002), included Baldur's Gate, including add-on, Icewind Dale, including add-ons and Planescape: Torment
  • Black Isle Compilation Part Two ( 2004), included Baldur's Gate 1 2 including Add-ons, Icewind Dale 1 2 including Add-ons