Black Isle Studios

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Black Isle Studios
Industry Video game industry
Founded Orange County, California, United States (1996 (1996))
Defunct December 8, 2003 (2003-12-08)
Headquarters Orange County, California, United States
Key people
Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, Darren Monahan, Chris Parker
Products Video games
Parent Interplay Entertainment
Website[dead link]

Black Isle Studios was a division of the computer and video game developer and publisher Interplay Entertainment that developed role-playing video games. It also published several games from other developers.

Black Isle was based in Irvine, California.[1] The division was formed in 1996, adopting the name "Black Isle Studios" in 1998.[2] The idea for the division's name came from the Black Isle in Scotland - founder Feargus Urquhart's ancestral country.[3] Black Isle Studios is most famous for working on the first two games in the popular and influential Fallout series as well as the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment. They also 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.[4]



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, but rather a key portion of the original studio came from the team that made Fallout. When developing Fallout 2, the studio's first official game, 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."[5] The remaining team would go on to release such critically acclaimed games as Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale and produce the critically acclaimed Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn in conjunction with 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.[6]





Two compilations bearing their name were also released:

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


Canceled projects include:


  1. ^ "Black Isle Studios". IGN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2006. 
  2. ^ Cheong, Ian. "Game Info". Lionheart Chronicles. GameSpy. Archived from the original on May 7, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2006. 
  3. ^ Keefer, John (January 2001). "Black Isle Studios: We are not BioWare". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 2004-12-11. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  4. ^ 1999 Vault Network Awards
  5. ^ Blancato, Joe. "The Rise and Fall of Troika". The Escapist. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2007. 
  6. ^ Thorsen, Tor (2003-12-08). "Interplay shuts down Black Isle Studios". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 13, 2006. Retrieved May 1, 2006. 
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