Interplay - All News
Saturday - May 02, 2015
Digital Antiquarian - Brian Fargo and Interplay
The Digital Antiquarian published a history lesson about Brian Fargo, and Interplay.
I touched on the history of Brian Fargo and his company Interplay some time ago, when I looked at the impact of The Bard’s Tale, their breakout CRPG hit that briefly replaced the Wizardry series as the go-to yin to Ultima‘s yang and in the process transformed Interplay almost overnight from a minor developer to one of the leading lights of the industry. They deserve more than such cursory treatment, however, for The Bard’s Tale would prove to be only the beginning of Interplay’s legacy. Let’s lay the groundwork for that future today by looking at how it all got started.
Wednesday - January 04, 2012
Interplay - Bethsoft Suit Settled?
Duck and Cover reports the long-running suit between Bethsoft and Interplay over FOOL rights has been settled - at least according to an unnamed source who apparently attended the court. According to the article, details are expected later this month.
Tuesday - May 31, 2011
Interplay - Dire Straits Again
Corporate zombie Interplay is in dire straits again, with Gamasutra highlighting their financial situation from the latest SEC filings. A sample:
A lack of available credit caused Interplay's cash-on-hand to dwindle to $3,000 at the end of 2010, the filing states, as the company accumulated operating deficits of over $2.8 million over the past few years.
That number includes roughly $239,000 in promised compensation that has not been paid to the company's board of directors, $410,000 in unpaid federal taxes and penalties since 2008, and over $80,000 in unpaid California state taxes, the filing states.
The publisher's financial status puts future releases in jeopardy, most notably an embattled Fallout MMO, the rights to which Interplay licensed from Bethesda Softworks.
Monday - January 10, 2011
Interplay - Counters Bethsoft Claims
Ausir from The Vault writes they have more court documents relating to the ongoing Interplay vs Bethsoft suits. If you recall, Bethsoft recently surprised by changing tack and claiming Interplay only had rights to use the "Fallout" name with its MMO - but not the setting or characters. The Vault has several responses from Interplay, using some of Bethsoft's own statements to counter the claim.
Tuesday - January 04, 2011
Interplay - The Roots of CRPGs @ Bitmob
Bitmob pointed out we have to catch up on a "Forgotten: Ruins - This roots of computer role-playing games" articles. This one chronicles the rise and fall of Interplay:
Interplay once dominated computer role-playing games in the late eighties alongside its peers. Although they would later be known as a publishing powerhouse responsible for Black Isle's Fallout series and Planescape: Torment in the late nineties (along with the revolutionary Descent franchise), it started with an idea, a game, and a programmer who wanted to kill lots of monsters.
Brian Fargo wasn't the stereotypical coder living in his parent's garage or a student at a place like Caltech. He was a sprinter on a track scholarship when he walked out of school to work on his first game: Demon's Forge. Like Richard Garriott and Jon Van Caneghem (New World Computing), his house was literally his office as he managed marketing and sales from his bedroom.
Thursday - December 23, 2010
Interplay - Yet More Legal Dramas
Ausir writes that another batch of court documents from the ongoing Bethsoft vs Interplay drama reveals Bethsoft is arguing Interplay has the right to use the Fallout name for their MMO (and back catalogue distribution etc) - but nothing else. From The Vault:
Among other things, Interplay asserts that "Bethesda has breached its agreements with Interplay by refusing to allow Interplay the right to use the Fallout related intellectual property assets". However, Bethesda lawyers now claim that when Interplay licensed the rights to develop and publish Fallout Online from Bethesda back in 2007, it actually never had the rights to use any elements of the Fallout universe and Fallout games aside from the title Fallout itself.
Saturday - March 06, 2010
Interplay - Legal Drama with Bethesda Continues
Interplay and Bethesda's legal battle continues. Duck and Cover has the full story on this as they have acquired the latest court document pertaining to this case. Apparently, Interplay now wants Bethesda to pay Interplay's legal fees:
The document itself is 23 pages long, and I've gone through and highlighted the most relevant and interesting points. From what Interplay says, it seems that Bethesda opposed Interplay's first motion for court fee reimbursement, arguing basically the same things which the court struck down in the Preliminary Injunction hearing. For example, Bethesda said that Interplay did not deserve the fees because "Interplay had not secured any kind of financing for the [Fallout] MMOG...within the required two year period and its license automatically terminated." Interplay argues that not only had they already presented evidence of a financing arrangement that was made within the timeframe, but that the entire argument is without merit in this motion for attorneys' fees:
"In any event, Interplay's Motion is unrelated to Interplay's financing for the MMOG or Interplay's financial circumstances. The Motion is based solely on Interplay's successful defense of Bethesda's PI [Preliminary Injunction] Motion."
Source: RPG Codex
Wednesday - January 27, 2010
Interplay - The Fallout Extreme Story
Ausir writes in with some information on a long-canceled Interplay development that never quite got off the ground, called Fallout Extreme. The article has some introductory details and then more on the story:
You probably don't know what Fallout Extreme was. Don't worry - even most of the ex-Black Isle developers I asked about it didn't even know that this game existed (which can tell you a lot about the lack of cooperation between Interplay's divisions at that time).
Fallout Extreme was a canceled squad-based first- and third-person tactical game for the Xbox, using the Unreal Engine and developed by Interplay's 14 Degrees East division (co-developers of Fallout Tactics). It was in development for a several months in 2000, but didn't really have a concrete development team and never made it out of concept. After it was canceled, Interplay's next attempt at making a console version of Fallout was Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, this time for both the Xbox and PS2.
Interplay - Project V13 Gets Official
We haven't really been following Interplay's escapades with Project: V13 / Fallout Online but Lemonhead writes in to point out the announcement of a formal arrangement with developer Masthead:
INTERPLAY AND MASTHEAD STUDIOS FINALIZE AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER ONLINE GAME
LOS ANGELES, CA, January 21, 2010 — Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC BB:IPLY) announced today that the Company has signed definitive agreements with Masthead Studios concerning the development of Interplay’s post-apocalyptic Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG), code named “Project: V13.”
Project: V13 has been under development at Interplay since November 2007 by some of the original Fallout® creators. Masthead joined the project in early 2009 and development continues under Interplay’s direction and control. Project: V13 will utilize the proprietary tools and MMOG technology Masthead developed for its “Earthrise” project.
Commenting on the announcement, Interplay Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Herve Caen said, “Masthead’s technology is impressive and perfect for our Project: V13. Its team is passionate to bring our vision and game play to the market. This MMOG will have many unique features that we will disclose before launch of the public Beta in 2012.”
Masthead Studios President Atanas Atanasov said, “Project: V13 incorporates many creative and technological innovations. We believe it will be a unique experience. Our technology will continue to evolve in order to realize all the extraordinary content and features Interplay has designed.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tuesday - January 12, 2010
Interplay - Bethsoft Injunction Transcript
I haven't read any of it but if you're a crazy devotee of either Interplay or Bethsoft or you just love masochistic rituals, Duck and Cover has a partial transcript of the Bethsoft preliminary injunction. Here's the executive summary for the rest of us:
DAC has obtained some partial transcripts for the Bethesda v. Interplay preliminary injunction hearing. Below you can find some of the opening statements made from the case. It's rather long, but I'm going to post it up anyways. For those who can't remember, Marbury is Bethesda's lawyer. Gersh is Interplay's.
Things we learn from the transcript below:
- Talking about Project V13 hurts Bethesda (kind of like how saying "I don't believe in fairies" hurts a fairy)
- Bethesda is NOT working on a Fallout MMO, they are "working on something else"
- Bethesda's lawyer didn't really understand the concept of a "preliminary injunction" and the judge called him out on it
Interplay's lawyer believes that there was never a breach of contract in the first place
Interplay - Stonekeep for the Wii
Here's an odd one. Interplay has announced a partnership with Alpine Studios to develop a Stonekeep game for the Wii, according to Blend. Here's a snip:
Interplay announced today that they're reviving one of the games from their heyday. They're partnering with Alpine Studios to create a Wii game
based on the role-playing game Stonekeep.
Stonekeep is a first-person dungeon crawler that was originally released for the PC in 1995. A hero named Drake journeys into a forgotten castle to defeat an insane god. The press release mentions that Interplay and Alpine's project is a "new game" but doesn't go into details. It's not clear whether it's just a remake of the original Stonekeep or an all-new adventure inspired by it.
Friday - December 11, 2009
Interplay - Wins Injunction Hearing over Bethesda
From Ausir's Fallout Wiki comes word that Interplay has won the preliminary injunction filed by Bethesda Softworks:
Motion Hearing held on 12/10/2009 re  MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Bethesda Softworks LLC - Argued - "DENIED" as stated on the record by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow. (Court Reporter - Sharon O'Neill) (td, Deputy Clerk)
This means that Interplay can continue selling the Fallout Trilogy as well as working on Project v13, the Fallout MMORPG - until the case has been finally decided. This news is also on No Mutants Allowed as well as Duck and Cover - and Blues News.
Do you think this means that Interplay will win the case?
Source: Blues News
Thursday - November 12, 2009
Interplay - More on Bethsoft Lawsuit
Ausir writes about having all of Bethsoft's filing against Interplay, with an article at The Vault discussing the details.
The Vault also notes that artist Brian Menze is selling original Vault Boy concept art on eBay. The first two pieces went for reasonably low prices, in my opinion.
Friday - October 30, 2009
Interplay - No Ruling Yet!
NMA writes their earlier newsbit that Bethsoft had failed in a preliminary injunction against Interplay was premature - the hearing hasn't taken place, yet. Apparently their source misinterpreted a proposed ruling included with the documents. From Interplay's lawyer:
You will not often hear from me, but as Interplay's in-house lawyer I feel the need to set the record straight here...
The Court has not ruled on Bethesda's Motion for Prelminary Injunction. A proposed order was filed with our Opposition to the Motion, but that is not the same as an Order of the Court. The hearing is weeks away. Interplay will issue an official statement if there is a material development that needs to be addressed. Please do not rely on rumor or speculation.
In the meantime, we all appreciate your enthusiasm and support.
Edit: Gamasutra has done an article on the current state of affairs between Bethesda and Interplay. It details what has gone on before and what the current state of affairs are between Bethesda and Interplay.
Wednesday - October 28, 2009
Interplay - Bethsoft fails to win Preliminary Injunction
NMA writes that Bethsoft has failed to win a preliminary injunction against Interplay to stop them selling back catalogue Fallout products and working on Fallout Online. This is, of course, not the main suit and we only have Interplay's side of the argument, so bear these points in mind.
NMA's piece outlines their four main arguments, such as this bit on the funding of FOOL:
Then Interplay argues the 30 million USD in the TLA is not defined as having to be held in Interplay's account, or that "the entirity of the funding must be received in a single installment or a single line of credit", and that "no provision of the TLA requires Interplay to spend US$30,000,000, or any other amount, to create the game. Thus, the funding requirement serves no material purpose." Hence Interplay claims the funding requirement served only a quality control function, and Interplay's arrangement with Masthead satisfied the financial conditions.
If you recall, Interplay was required to have $30m in funding and commenced full production earlier this year.
As a result of the action, some concept art for FOOL has been released, which you can also find at NMA.
Saturday - October 17, 2009
Interplay - Legal Fallout
This post on an investing website and this follow-up post are from an Interplay investor, who outlines the current state of the legal tussle between Bethesda and Interplay over rights to the Fallout series. The posts, obviously a bit biased towards Interplay, describe suits and countersuits, explaining that Interplay is currently attempting to persuade the court that Bethesda's interference in their attempts to sell older Fallout games leave their contract null and void, and that Bethesda should pay them royalties for Fallout 3, something the shareholder making the post calls an "AMAZING LEGAL SWITCHAROO."
Sunday - September 13, 2009
Interplay - Bethsoft Sues for Copyright Infringement
A couple of readers have written in about Bethsoft's lawsuit against Interplay, apparently overlooking our post on MMOWatch. Additional details have surfaced, anyway, so here we go for RPGWatch readers.
Bethsoft has launched a suit against Interplay with a number of complaints. First up, while Interplay was permitted to sell the Fallout back catalogue, they allegedly failed to obtain the required authorisation for the packaging and promotional materials. The name "Fallout Trilogy" is also an issue, as Bethsoft believes this implies Fallout 3 is included. Further, Interplay's agreements with digital distributors such as GOG and Steam is another issue.
Finally, Bethsoft wants a determination against the continued development of Fallout Online (aka Project V13) because they believe the license conditions have been broken, namely that certain levels of funding and "full scale development" were not in place by last April as required.
Saturday - September 12, 2009
Interplay - Bethsoft Sues over FOOL [Updated]
Ausir writes that Bethsoft has commenced action against Interplay for trademark infringement after failing to meet the terms of their license for Fallout Online aka Project V13, which required funding and full-scale development by last April.
Read the full details and check out a new piece of concept art at The Vault or NMA.
Update: Gamasutra has seen the actual complaint and FOOL is only a component of the suit, with Bethsoft first alledging Interplay failed to seek the required approval for the packaging and promotion of The Fallout Trilogy and by signing agreements with digital distributors such as GOG and Steam.
Source: No Mutants Allowed
Wednesday - September 24, 2008
Interplay - Website Launched
Interplay has launched a new wesbsite, complete with forums - although gone are the glory days of the old Interplay boards. The official announcement touts the hiring of Chris Taylor, although the mention of "other original Fallout team members on staff at Interplay’s internal game studio" is news to me:
Interplay launches new web site; adds Chris Taylor to growing development team.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, Setember 22, 2008 – Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC BB:IPLY) announced today the launch of an all-new web site at www.interplay.com.
The site, developed over the last several months, is designed to improve the company’s communication with customers, investors, and partners. The new site includes forums based on past and future Interplay games, a customer support section, detailed information on the company and its products, and much more.
The company also announced that Chris Taylor, a game designer who was a part of the original Fallout game development team at Interplay in 1994, has rejoined the company. Taylor will serve as Lead System Designer for “Project V13,” the working title of Interplay’s next generation Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) currently in development. Taylor joins other original Fallout team members on staff at Interplay’s internal game studio, which recently opened an office in Irvine, Calif. Additional development staff members continue to be hired as the project ramps-up.
Edit: Forum posters point out that Jason Anderson has been the creative director for a while (duh), making Taylor the second original Fallout dev.
Saturday - August 09, 2008
Interplay - D&D Rights Sold to Atari
Stanza writes that according to bigdownload.com, Interplay's latest SEC filing shows they sold (or really, relinquished in return for canceling a promisory note) their last remaining D&D properties to Atari. Since IPLY long ago lost the license to release any D&D games, this presumably means titles such as Icewind Dale and so on. From the original article:
Under the terms of the agreement, Atari has agreed to purchase all rights that Interplay had on licensing games based on the Dungeons and Dragons franchise (One of Interplay's most popular games in the 1990s was the D&D themed RPG Baldur's Gate, developed by BioWare). In return, a previous agreement by Interplay to pay a promissory note of $1, 050,000 to Atari was cancelled.
Friday - April 04, 2008
Interplay - Latest Financials
Interplay has lodged their latest 10-K with the SEC, showing $1.1M in the bank but $1M due to Atari on March 31st (so, presumably now overdue). They have four employees - three in admin/finance (it's hard work keeping those books straight) and a lone Jason Anderson in Engineering. Despite this, Jason has apparently been very busy with 5 titles "in the early stages of development". FOOL remains their primary focus and they continue to search for $30M in financing for the development.
Friday - March 28, 2008
Interplay - Sold!
If I understand this SEC filing correctly, a controlling interest in Interplay (56%) has been sold by Titus to a Luxembourg company called FPD without Herve Caen's prior knowledge (?):
On March 21, 2008 the Chief Executive Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer, Herve Caen, received a letter providing written notice of there having been a change in control of the registrant. According to such letter, Financial Planning and Development S.A., a Luxembourg company ("FPD"), acquired the holding of approximately 58 million shares of common stock of the registrant, representing approximately 56% of the outstanding shares of capital stock of the registrant, previously held by Titus Interactive S.A. (in bankruptcy) ("Titus") on April 30, 2007 in a private sale by the bankruptcy trustee of Titus. The amount of the consideration paid for such holding by FPD is not known to the registrant. The source of the funds used for the acquisition is not known to the registrant. There were and are no arrangements or understandings with respect to election of directors or other matters of the registrant, known to the registrant. There are no arrangements, known to the registrant, including any pledge by any person of securities of the registrant or any parent, the operation of which may at a subsequent date result in a change in control of the registrant.
Those of you with expertise in SEC filings can expand on the ramifications in our forums. Thanks to a poster on Qt3 for the link.
Monday - December 03, 2007
Interplay - Jason Anderson MMOG Interview @ GameBanshee
Although this is strictly MMOG territory, some readers may be interested in GameBanshee's interview with Jason Anderson on
Fallout Online Interplay's unnamed MMOG, where he is creative lead:
GB: How did you end up back at Interplay?
Jason: Even though I have been away from the game industry for the past couple of years, I have kept in contact with people. Hervé has wanted to do this project for a long time, but has not been in a financial position to move forward. He and I have been talking about it for nearly a year and he has worked steadily to get the project up and running. I have always felt that it was one of the few projects that could entice me back into the game industry. I am very happy to finally get a chance to work on it.
Interplay - MMOG Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee caught up with Jason Anderson to discuss Interplay's unannounced MMOG:
GB: If you could name one or two things you want to improve when it comes to MMO standards, what would they be?
Jason: The 2 big things that I always think about improving upon are the storytelling and the character development, because I personally have not been happy with it in any of the MMOs I've played.
I think the core storytelling methods used in current MMOs could be improved on. A lot of the concepts of the worlds I've visited feel very convoluted to me. When you have a couple thousand quests that are given out sporadically, it is very hard to keep the story together. The story can easily get lost in the noise produced by the designers attempting to be creative with their quests. And this can make the world lack cohesion.
True character development is another thing I would like to see improved. It seems like most MMOs have reduced characters to a grouping of stats and a configuration of skills. I don't want to go into details about my ideas at the moment, but I will say that I believe there needs to be a feeling that you are making choices in the world and at the very least I believe these choices should affect your character personally.
Tuesday - November 27, 2007
Interplay - Now Hiring
Tired of working for a stable company that pays regularly? Looking for something exciting and edgy with a company we last saw getting turfed out because they couldn't pay their rent? Then check out Interplay's three openings advertised on Gamasutra - Jason Anderson is listed as the contact to hire an environmental concept artist, system designer and content designer for their next-gen MMO.
Source: No Mutants Allowed
Wednesday - November 14, 2007
Interplay - Starts Internal Development
Proving that you really can't can't trust the undead to stay down comes the Bizzaro-world news that not only is Interplay reviving an in-house development studio to work on an unannounced MMOG (no prizes for guessing) but that they have hired Jason Anderson (Fallout and ex-Troika-ite) as Creative Director:
"This quarter marks an important milestone in the company's difficult turnaround period of the past three years," commented, Interplay Chairman and CEO Herve Caen. "We are now focused on a two-pronged growth strategy. As we are working to secure funding for the development of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on the popular Fallout franchise, we are at the same time exploring ways to leverage our impressive portfolio of gaming properties through sequels and various development and publishing arrangements."
Caen went on to note that the company is resuscitating its in-house game development studio and has hired Jason Anderson, veteran of Fallout 1 and 2, as creative director of an unannounced MMOG.
Wednesday - August 15, 2007
Interplay - Ready for Fallout Online
Interplay has announced that an increase in revenue following the sale of the Fallout IP to Bethesda means it is now ready for Fallout Online.
Interplay CEO Herve Caen said in a statement, "I am pleased with the progress the company has made, particularly with our debt load, which has improved from $59 million in December 2001 to less than $3 million today.
"With that difficult period behind us, we are focused on securing funding for development of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on the popular Fallout franchise. Along with our strategy of leveraging our existing portfolio of intellectual gaming properties, Fallout Online will play a key role in the future of Interplay."
Interplay - Keeps on keeping on
Gamasutra has news of Interplay's latest financials, which sees them almost out of the red and still keeping an eye on Fallout Online (FOOL):
Said Interplay chairman and CEO Herve Caen, "I am pleased with the progress the company has made, particularly with our debt load, which has improved from $59 million in December 2001 to less than $3 million today. With that difficult period behind us, we are focused on securing funding for development of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) based on the popular Fallout franchise. Along with our strategy of leveraging our existing portfolio of intellectual gaming properties, Fallout Online will play a key role in the future of Interplay."
That said, they've sold almost everything so that last few million and then the capital for FOOL might get harder. Still, the very definition of gaming undead, you can't write them off because if there is one thing Caen has demonstrated, it's a fiendish survival tenacity.
Tuesday - November 21, 2006
Interplay - still FOOLish
As usual, No Mutants Allowed continues to track Interplay and the latest news is that following a (relatively) successful period of debt reduction, they will actively pursue securing funds for Fallout Online (FOOL). Head to NMA for the nitty gritty on the SEC filings and the full story but here's a grab from everyone's favourite, Herve Caen:
Having significantly reduced our debt over the past two years, we are now in an improved position to raise capital. This private placement will be another critical step toward the funding and development of our Fallout property into a Massively Multiplayer Online Game, which represents our plan for growth in the coming years.