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Not NWN! Oh, the humanity!
October 16th 2001, 15:11 CEST by m0nty

Major publisher Interplay is doing a fair impression of the zeppelin at the start of Arcanum which plummets to the ground under fire from flying ogres. The company, owned by French games publisher Titus, is in so much financial trouble that it is trying to <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=000952&TICK=IPLY&STORY=/www/story/06-29-2001/0001524804&EDATE=Jun+29,+2001">flog itself off</a>, which certainly doesn't speak well of its management, and its stock price is bottoming out. Fatbabies has been faithfully detailing the woes of Shiny, an Interplay subsidiary, whose game based on The Matrix is also in doubt.

Most worryingly, Interplay's most lucrative line, the BioWare RPGs published by Black Isle, looks like being fought over in the courts with dirty tactics aplenty if GameSpy Daily is to be believed:

GameSpyDaily has learned that the official Neverwinter Nights message board have been removed, and that BioWare's developer tags have been removed from all the other game boards as well (BG, BG2, Icewind Dale, etc). Details on what exactly is going on over at the Black Isle Studios forums are scant right now, but forum posters in this thread suspect it has something to do with the recently announced lawsuit between BioWare and Interplay. We'll try to sort out what's going and and let you know..

It has become a cliché that most gamers turn into babbling mouth-breathing fanbois whenever they hear mention of NWN and its potential to herald the Second Coming. Will the accountants kill the goose that has been laying the Golden Baldur's Eggs? Even if Interplay survives, will this affect the development of NWN? Do company movements like this really affect the developers anyway? Are there other zeppelin-like gaming companies who look like going down in the time-honored ball of flames? How many other things can we blame on Osama Bin Laden? DNF, anyone?
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Home » Topic: Not NWN! Oh, the humanity!

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#1 by "jafd"
2001-10-16 15:20:41
kallisti@hell.com http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
I don't know anything about the problems Interplay and Bioware are having. First I heard about it was the Penny Arcade comic. None of my business, so I didn't research. So, what's the scoop? How can anyone _not_ like Bioware? What, are they demanding to be paid or something? Bastards.

=====
I am a prototype for a much larger first post.
#2 by "Matt"
2001-10-16 15:32:43
md@looroll.com http://looroll.com
I think this does boil down to the courts and who actually owns the content/licence, Whatever it is if it's financially based it's going to be very messy for all parties involved.

Still if interplay win and the company goes under, the content is still up-for-grabs and will most likely be purchased by another games publisher, this series of games is worth way too much money to kill, and I'm sure that almost any other publisher (god I hope sierra don't get hold it it) will want the team thats been working on this series since time began.

Anyone know where the legal battle is taking place? there must be some kind of public announcement/court order somewhere!
#3 by "m0nty"
2001-10-16 15:33:37
paul.montgomery@delphigroup.com.au http://www.delphiconsulting.com.au
From the message board linked to in #0:

A few weeks ago Bioware announced a suit against Interplay for reasons regarding distribution.
Apparently money-starved Interplay was trying to cheat their developer out of some cash.

IANAL so YMMV. Other edited highlights:

Mhordak: Looks to me like the Bioware/Interplay relations have come to an end.
No-way is NWN dead thou... wonder who'll pick up the publishing duties...
Microsoft? hehehehehehe.....

Mhordak:If it's Interplay who holds the DnD license thou, who else could publish NWN? Uh oh.

Xen, full plate and packing himself: i read a rumour that somebody hacked the moderators accounts or something, so this could be the reason, maybe it happened through the NWN boards, i dunno i'm no expert on hacking

Sir Urza: There are other publishers. Although I'd hate to say it, Ubisoft still has a license to do material for D&D. Infogrames could have them publish the game.
#4 by "wizard"
2001-10-16 15:33:42
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
The scarriest thing in the world might come true!  Terrorists, smerrorist, if we lose NWN it's all downhill from there!

Bioware has been a great development company so far, I'd hate to see Interplay, in there pettiness, bring Bioware down with them.

-wizard
spiffy!
#5 by "Bailey"
2001-10-16 15:37:00
bailey@evilemail.com
Pretty grim, if it's accurate. Par for the course for Interplay, but still, it sounds like Bioware is in danger of being severely hooped. Licensing aside, I can't imagine they'd have much trouble finding a new publisher to handle the game, but if Interplay decides to be a bitch on the way down...
#6 by "jeep"
2001-10-16 15:40:53
planetcrap@numinae.com
According to Bioware, Interplay owes them points from BG2, Heart of Winter, and the BG2 expansion. I don't know if Bioware needs the money for development on NWN, but Interplay is definitely scrounging around for money right now. I can't imagine them NOT trying to fix things with Bioware, given the insane amount of sales those games generate.

Hell, if someone wanted to start a brand new publishing company from nothing, all you'd need is to pick up that one studio's distribution and you'd be golden.
#7 by "Mankovic"
2001-10-16 15:43:16
Didnt Bioware/Interplay jointly acquire the rights of NWN from TSR a few years back?
#8 by "Jeremy Witt"
2001-10-16 15:45:16
jeremywitt@evilemail.com
Ooof. NWN is so close to completion, it's going to be released by someone. From reading another article about this (link coming...) it seems pretty cut and dried that Interplay, doing so poorly, is grasping at whatever money they can, even if it means screwing a developer out of their cash. It just seems that Bioware would be more valuable to them as a featured developer, rather than an enemy.

Still it gives me the willies. Don't tamper with my NWN, bitches!
#9 by "Flamethrower"
2001-10-16 15:46:33
patch@evilemail.com www.Jesus-vs-Judas.com
I don't know anything about the problems Interplay and Bioware are having. First I heard about it was the Penny Arcade comic.


I heard it first @ EvilAvatar - a while back now.

NWN - I don't care. I have PLANESCAPE TORMENT and since that game IS NOT getting a seqel, I'm wating for my fantasty-fix with DUNGEON SIEGE.
#10 by "Blood_GC"
2001-10-16 15:47:00
blood@roflmao.com
That press release is about 1% content, 99% legalese.  Yikes.
#11 by "Jeremy Witt"
2001-10-16 15:47:01
jeremywitt@evilemail.com
Acquire me Activision! You're my only hope...
#12 by "JMCDaveL"
2001-10-16 15:58:15
jmcdavel@mailandnews.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I heard Interplay owes Bioware a +1 Sword.


roofle owned NWN.


--jmc
#13 by "ReSpawn22"
2001-10-16 16:06:33
respawn21@hotmail.com -none-
Interplay usually put out descent games.  It'll be a shame if they go under. But with a stock price of $0.33 it doesnt look good.
#14 by "Greg"
2001-10-16 16:36:44
greg417@worldnet.att.net http://www.insidemacgames.com
I think Interplay's best games have always been RPGs. Going back to Wasteland and through the Baldur's Gate series and even their own offshoots from the Bioware code. What other games does Interplay publish?  There are the Star Trek games, Giants, the Fallout series, and some strategy games it looks like. Right now their cash cow is their deal with Bioware, and NWN is being hyped beyond belief (and yes, seeing it at E3 it looks pretty awesome). How could Interplay go and screw their best developer? Couldn't they look at other areas of the company to take money from? (Because Bioware's share of the money is greater than all the rest) They could drop internal development teams (Torn, anyone?), cut back on licensed games, or many other ways to shave off costs while not pissing off Bioware.

Also, Interplay isn't going to take down Bioware. Interplay needs Bioware, Bioware does not need Interplay. See Knights of the Old Republic for proof of that.

Greg
#15 by "Sgt Hulka"
2001-10-16 16:38:17
judas@priest.com http://www.buymeagun.com
#12 JMCDaveL
I heard Interplay owes Bioware a +1 Sword.



WRONG! It's a +12 Sword. Ya big silly!





- There are 2 times when a man doesn't understand a woman - before marriage and after marriage
#16 by "MCorleone"
2001-10-16 16:39:22
www.planetcrap.com
13:  No, Parallax used to put out Descent games.  Now they're Volition and someone else...
#17 by "Mankovic"
2001-10-16 16:39:45
Anyone know when Black Isles license with Hasbro expires? It would seem that Infogrames has acquired ALL rights to D&D(from hasbro) game production once the existing liscenses expire.
#18 by "Ashiran"
2001-10-16 16:45:22
ashiran@ashrain.net wtf.couchcrew.com
Why the hell do all the good devs get into trouble while the crappy ones stay in buisness?
#19 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-10-16 16:52:57
warren@epicgames.com http://www.epicboy.com
Does Interplay own Bioware?  If so, THAT'S why.  Once a publisher owns you, you're at the mercy of their whims ...  and their problems become your problems.
#20 by "Greg"
2001-10-16 17:03:25
greg417@worldnet.att.net http://www.insidemacgames.com
Warren, I think Bioware is its own entity. See the deal with LucasArts for (probable) proof of that.

Greg
#21 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2001-10-16 17:04:59
Darkseid@captured.com www.sluggy.com
Quick Corporate Shill ! To the Corporate CheckBook !!

EPIC buys Bioware, gets slice of some of the best pie in town, wins plaudits, makes enough money to buy Tim another shiny too quick to be legal car!!!!!

/me snaps back to reality

if only t`were zat simple

Ds
#22 by "ReSpawn22"
2001-10-16 17:08:56
respawn21@hotmail.com -none-
I knew it was bad in the software industry when Bungie got bought out by Microsoft. Bungie used to love the idea that they were independent. Then they go and sellout to those Microsoft fags. DAMN THE WORLD DAMN THE WORLD!
#23 by "Milamber"
2001-10-16 17:19:00
milamber@amoeba.com.au http://www.wagz.net
They could drop internal development teams (Torn, anyone?)


I though Torn had already been culled a few months back.
#24 by "Maarten Goldstein"
2001-10-16 17:19:20
http://www.shacknews.com
Warren, I think Bioware is its own entity. See the deal with LucasArts for (probable) proof of that.


That isn't much proof. Raven also has a deal with LucasArts yet they are owned by Activision.
#25 by "Greg"
2001-10-16 17:27:06
greg417@worldnet.att.net http://www.insidemacgames.com
Milamber, I didn't mean that dropping Torn was a way to save money now, but that they had done it to save money. Just meant it as an example...

Maarten, yeah that didn't occur to me.

So, here from the Bioware webpage:

BioWare is an Electronic Entertainment company based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, specializing in computer and console based game entertainment. The company is a privately owned Canadian corporation employing over ninety staff at a funky Whyte Avenue location.

and later on...

Our Distribution Partners
BioWare Corp. markets and distributes our games in North America through our publishing partners, Interplay Productions and LucasArts Entertainment Company.

How is that for proof?

Greg
#26 by "Evi|ivE"
2001-10-16 17:29:32
So sad that a real dev house like Bioware has to go through this shit because their publisher sucked ass.  

As someone said...  It's a shame that these guys are getting the shaft when there are lots of "fake" developers out there that live on hype and the reputation of old games.
#27 by "Foogla"
2001-10-16 17:37:53
Foogla@gmx.de
Urge to kill rising...
#28 by "Ed Finkler"
2001-10-16 17:40:09
coj@funkatron.com http://www.funkatron.com
13: No, Parallax used to put out Descent games. Now they're Volition and someone else...


Not exactly.  Parallax split into two companies: Volition and Outrage.  Volition did Freespace, Summoner, Red Faction.  Outrage did Descent 3.
#29 by "MCorleone"
2001-10-16 18:16:16
www.planetcrap.com
Doesn't invalidate what I said:

Parallax used to put out Descent games  = TRUE
Now they're Volition                             = TRUE
and someone else (Outrage)                 = TRUE


Thanks for the clarification!
#30 by "Sgt Hulka"
2001-10-16 18:56:23
judas@priest.com http://www.buymeagun.com
#22 ReSpawn22
I knew it was bad in the software industry when Bungie got bought out by Microsoft. Bungie used to love the idea that they were independent. Then they go and sellout to those Microsoft fags. DAMN THE WORLD DAMN THE WORLD!


It's only a matter of time before all the game companies are owned by one of the big 5
#31 by "crash"
2001-10-16 19:05:07
crash@planetcrap.com
the state of NWN pretty much depends on who has the D&D license. if it's interplay, NWN's in trouble. if it's black isle/bioware, then they just have to find a new distributor, since black isle's the publisher. me, i'm not too worried about it. delay, maybe. cancellation? unlikely. way too lucrative a developer and property to just kill outright.

it'll be fun to watch in any case, though.
#32 by "mixuk"
2001-10-16 19:11:26
mixuk@sci.fi
I've never understood why to use D&D -stuff at all. It's technically a simple system which is meant to be used on paper&pen -games. The point is, that you could make loads more complex and believable system on a computer, where you dont have to worry about calculating.

If I were Bioware, i'd just come up with my own world, with my own rules. And just base it loosely on some existing system. Like with Fallout.

Of course, the only reason to have the D&D -tag on the box is, that it sells. But gamers get technically less, in my opinion.
#33 by "Greg"
2001-10-16 19:49:49
greg417@worldnet.att.net http://www.insidemacgames.com
crash: Just to clarify your statement, Black Isle is Interplay. The are the RPG arm of Interplay.

Greg
#34 by "Foogla"
2001-10-16 19:58:46
Foogla@gmx.de
mixuk: yes you could be making a more complex and believable system, but then you'd be devoting time to develop it, while buying the AD&D license gives you a rules engine that is complete.

GURPS Online or Shadowrun the computer- not the console-game anyone?
#35 by "Bailey"
2001-10-16 20:13:59
bailey@evilemail.com
Foogla:

Moreover, it's a name people recognize, and to a greater or lesser degree, associate with quality. Sort of like what TSR used to stand for, back in the day. You buy an AD&D game, and you know what to expect, and it's something you may have enjoyed in the past. And to expand on what you mentioned, most every geek has some limited experience with the ruleset, so the learning curve is a lot less frustrating, etc etc.
#36 by "Gestalt"
2001-10-16 20:38:53
john@eurogamer.net http://www.eurogamer.net
Foogla - "GURPS Online or Shadowrun the computer- not the console-game anyone?"

/me drools. One of my dreams of recent years is a massively multiplayer Shadowrun game. Now that would kick ass. :)
#37 by "Battle-Dwarf"
2001-10-16 20:41:52
::in:: ::effect::
Quote:
[I don't know anything about the problems Interplay and Bioware are having.
                                             First I heard about it was the Penny Arcade comic.


                                          I heard it first @ EvilAvatar - a while back now.]



Big deal. I heard about the internal problems at Fat Babies

---before phil's failin' site!  ;)




The Incredible Male Battle-Dwarf
#38 by "DigiDink"
2001-10-16 21:28:51
I think it' important we love others.  Ok Warren?
#39 by "Ed Finkler"
2001-10-16 22:02:42
coj@funkatron.com http://www.funkatron.com
Doesn't invalidate what I said:

Parallax used to put out Descent games = TRUE
Now they're Volition = TRUE
and someone else (Outrage) = TRUE

Thanks for the clarification!


Missed the "and someone else" part.  Sorry! 8)

-Ed
#40 by "MCorleone"
2001-10-16 22:38:37
www.planetcrap.com
:)
#41 by "Matt"
2001-10-16 22:47:53
md@looroll.com http://looroll.com/
Stolen from VE:

Hi all.

We are not sure why the messageboards are down, but rest assured that we are continuing with the development of Neverwinter Nights. We don't have any more information for you at this time.

Derek French, Assistant Producer on NWN

http://nwvault.ign.com/ and http://www.voodooextreme.com/comments.taf?postID=21665
#42 by "BobJustBob"
2001-10-16 22:55:12
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
Thank God when Interplay is dead and I won't be forced to watch a Starfleet Academy trailer every time I reinstall and I won't be pestered to register every time I play.

What do you mean you don't want to register?? Then you won't get our weekly newsletter! You better click Forfeit 5 or 6 more times so I know you're serious.
#43 by "MCorleone"
2001-10-16 23:05:33
www.planetcrap.com
If the alternative to clicking NO to register 10 times on an interplay game is to have ubisoft wipe out my OS, I'll choose the register annoyance please kthx.
#44 by "Apache"
2001-10-16 23:08:31
just a little FYI - interplay is trying to host all of the official game forums under its own site. that's prob why BIS kicked BioWare out of its ubb.
#45 by "Matt"
2001-10-16 23:19:33
md@looroll.com http://looroll.com/
Apache: Makes sense, they were 'very' particular about that with kingpin (the last interplay game I was actually waiting for).

BTW whats the deal with the Shiny forums? I was surprised that Interplay allowed the to get away with that, or did they go through the same kinds of shite?
#46 by "Apache"
2001-10-16 23:25:46
no comment on shiny :)
#47 by "Matt"
2001-10-16 23:30:32
md@looroll.com http://looroll.com/
D:
#48 by "wizard"
2001-10-17 00:32:59
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#19 Warren Marshall
Does Interplay own Bioware?  If so, THAT'S why.  Once a publisher owns you, you're at the mercy of their whims ...  and their problems become your problems.

I believe they don't own them, they just have a publishing deal with them...
#49 by "wizard"
2001-10-17 00:35:38
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#32 mixuk
I've never understood why to use D&D -stuff at all. It's technically a simple system which is meant to be used on paper&pen -games. The point is, that you could make loads more complex and believable system on a computer, where you dont have to worry about calculating.

If I were Bioware, i'd just come up with my own world, with my own rules. And just base it loosely on some existing system. Like with Fallout.

Of course, the only reason to have the D&D -tag on the box is, that it sells. But gamers get technically less, in my opinion.


I'm a huge fan of D&D...comes from playing pen and paper...and you are right, you can do more complex and interesting things on a computer...and you also right, Bioware should be developing not on the D&D license...I heard in a recent interview that they have at least one project that is an RPG and not the D&D kind...

-wizard
#50 by "Paul"
2001-10-17 01:04:57
deleted deleted
There's something really wrong when your NEGATIVE earnings per share(-.84) is less than your previous close(33).
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