Black Isle seeks crowdfunding to revive PV13

Recently reformed Interplay subsidiary launches crowdfunding drive for project previously known as Fallout Online; backers funding "proof of concept," not actual game.

Black Isle Studios is trying to make a comeback. The Interplay subsidiary, which returned to life this summer, has launched a crowdfunding initiative to revive Project V13. This game was previously known as Fallout Online until Bethesda retained the rights to the Fallout universe earlier this year.

The crowdfunding drive for Project V13 does not mirror similar fan-supported initiatives. Those who back the project with at least $10 will not receive a copy of the game, but instead access to the Black Isle forums (which will only go online if enough support is raised and not before the end of January). Money pledged is not going towards the final product, but rather a "proof of concept" prototype that Black Isle will pitch to raise additional capital needed to finish the game.

According to the Black Isle website, Project V13, in its latest iteration, is a post-apocalyptic strategy role-playing game. Players will create a character from a variety of backgrounds (humans, mutants, advanced cyborg) and set forth.

"Explore the world, meet friends, and fight your neighbors for control of resources. PV13 will be your chance to rebuild a devastated world," a statement reads.

All mentions of "Fallout" have been removed from the game, and a video detailing Black Isle's work on the project (below) bleeps out every utterance of the word. It is not clear how similar Project V13 is to Fallout Online, though developers said "major changes" have been made.

"PV13 has been in development for years, but we've had to make some major changes recently," the statement reads. "We believe the changes are for the better and we're excited about working on this new iteration of PV13."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

4 comments
reivax_darkmage
reivax_darkmage

are these the same black isle dude in baldur's gate? no?

 

ioshilee
ioshilee

This is bullshit, guys. You failed so many times already... I just don't believe you anymore. You failed your second chance when you lost all rights on Fallout online. Besides - the majority of people who were actually working on original Fallout series are now in Obsidian. You failed and now here you are, asking money and trust, and for what? For a forum access?? Gimme a break! It's just insulting.... No money from me, thanks.

Melchior111
Melchior111

Lol, Black isle studios??? What a sham. "Hey guys, lets make a quick buck using the name of a popular studio!"

bignick217
bignick217

This goes way beyond simply being an improper use of crowdfunding.  This is a downright bastardization of the crowdfunding system.  I mean think about.

 

1.  These people have already failed once.  They had an agreement where they could keep the rights to make a Fallout MMO, but in order to keep those rights, they had to meet certain milestones.  They failed to do that and lost the rights altogether as a result.  They claimed foul play by Bethesda, but with this kind of cheap underhanded crowdfunding attempt, I'm having a hard time believing their side of the story.  Plus, what was the last game they actually released before this supposed project?  How long ago was it?  Are they actually a developer or just a business entity in name only now?  I'm having a hard time substantiating their existence at this moment and I can't say I could trust them in any sense of the word.  Especially with this stunt.

 

2.  You are getting nothing.  This is literally asking for a handout.  If they believe so much in their concept, why are they asking for our money to create a prototype.  They should be using their own capitol for that, not ours.  That's what normal developers do.  They come up with a concept, create a prototype (using their own capitol.. Because they supposedly believe in it right) and pitch it to a publisher to get them to back the full development.  This is where it gets even more insulting.  They essentially want us to pay their wages.  They are providing no product.  They are providing no service.  But yet they want us to foot the bill for something that doesn't exist and even if made, we won't receive a copy of.  So you want us to give you money to make something, then you go and get someone else to pay to make it.  And if you get the go ahead and make the game, you expect us to pay again to buy the game, when we are the reason you got your chance in the first place.  I can't be the only one who finds this an insult to my intelligence.

 

3.  They claim it's to create a prototype to pitch.  And then in another sentence, claim it's been in development for 5 years.  So my question is this... Shouldn't you already have a prototype then?  Yeah you may need to edit it heavily to remove unusable content, but the base code for presenting a working "Concept" should already be there now.  A prototype doesn't need to be a fully fleshed out game.  It only needs to be a presentable concept to illustrate what your trying to create and you fill in the gaps with a presentation.  Look at Star Citizen.  That was a prototype, the end game may look very different from their prototype, but the "Concept" was there and the presentation filled in the gaps to make the pitch.  So again, if this has already been in development for 5 years (the Star Citizen prototype only took 12 months to create), then why do you need our money.  I'm really confused about this one.

 

So, you should already have a basic presentable prototype (bar some creative editing).  You supposedly believe in your concept, but yet you aren't using your own capitol to back it, like you should.  And yet you want us to pay for it.  We don't get any product as a result.  You want to take it to a publisher to get them to pay for it's development, where the publisher stands to make a financial gain from the games sales after release, because of their stake in the games development, but we don't get anything for our stake in the games development.  If we did give you money and the game gets made and released, we don't get a copy of the game for our backing of your project.  No we'll be expected to go out and buy the game as normal consumers (I have to assume this since you've taken the time to explicitly state that our funds don't go towards a final product).  No, what you supposedly get is access to, is a forum... Maybe... As you've also taken the time to explicitly state that this may or may not happen as well.  Am I the only one seeing red flags all over the place here. 

 

No... Just no...  This is a complete bastardization for the crowdfunding system and should be lashed out against.  There's no reason for it.  And is clearly aimed at weaseling money out of nostalgic impulse spenders.  Notice I did not say buyers, because there's nothing to buy, nor did I say investors, because there's nothing to gain.  This is just wrong on every level and it should feel the wrath of the community in all it's colors and hues to make sure the crowdfunding system never gets misused in this manner again.

ggregd
ggregd

The line between investing and crowd funding is getting too blurred here.  If they want to make this game they need to get real backers who believe in it to invest money.  Money they can expect a major return on if the game is made and it's successful.  It's bad enough IMO to support a game that will be released in return for a copy of the game and some digital stuff while the developer reaps all the real profits if they're really successful; but if you back this you can expect nothing but forum access?

 

And we're seeing more and more established companies and individuals who you can reasonably expect to have money of their own and/or avenues to get it asking average people to pay for making their game.  The idea behind crowd funding used to be helping out the small independent, not Black Isle and Peter Molyneaux (sp?).

 

Crowd funding is fast turning into bulls#!+ if you ask me.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

"Hey gamers, we're BlackIsle studios (no, you're not) and we have this really great idea but we need your money before we decide it's worth our time to tell you sometthing about what this game is even about, but trust me, it's awesome ..."

 

"To donate, use this system we have set up privately so nobody knows how much has actually been funded already (and disregard our private investors), if we feel like we made enough money, we'll probably allow you to access our forums around February ..."

 

Yeah, that sounds legit - How about this instead :

Show gameplay (is it a adventure, strategy, RPG, FPS, TPS, MMO, online, offline, turnbased, realtime, ...), detail features the game has and what's planned, answer questions from the community, go into details regarding DRM, whether it'll be playable offline, if editors are included, your stand on modding capabilities, DLC and all that and then start a public Kickstarter instead of a private, fishy donation campaign.

 

I know it's christmas and all but I could as well just throw my money in the fire instead - See you next year if you have something to actually show about the game.

damodar_thade
damodar_thade

Your not black isle and your making an MMO, so no you can't have my money.

Megawizard
Megawizard

This is a VERY risky proposition considering: Black Isle's not Black Isle anymore (except for 2 people), people are bent out of shape about all the crowdfunding lately (from reading the comments on most of these articles), and MMOs as a genre are bubbled at this point and if you don't hit that niche and do it right, enjoy faceplanting.

 

This has like a 25% chance of happening and a 10% chance of actually succeeding.

jhcho2
jhcho2

As ShadowBanjo said, this BlackIsle is BlackIsle in name only. The Fallout guys are at Obsidian.

ShadowBanjo
ShadowBanjo

This is not Black Isle. This is a group of people taking their name. All the Black Isle devs are at Obsidian now.

ESB
ESB

Hum that's pretty much what Goblinworks Inc. did with "Pathfinder Online: A Fantasy Sandbox MMO". They did a sucessful kickstarter run (300k) for the "Technology Build" and now are asking for more U$1,000,000

Saketume
Saketume

As much as I would like to see them finish this project I'm never going to pay for forum access.

 

Put a proper serious project up there or gtfo.

 

Oh and I'm getting a bit worried when bigger and bigger studios are switching to crowdfunding. Surely they can risk being a bit innovative every now and then. Are they really completely broke? Don't they believe in what they're doing? Then why should I??

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

Isn't a proof of concept supposed to be "from the ground up"? If they've been "developing for years", what they hell have they been doing that they don't already have a P.o.C.?

 

What you're looking for are venture capitalists, but they obviously want to see a return for the money invested so you're trying your luck on players who won't expect anything back?

 

Good stuff Black Isle.

bignick217
bignick217

So..... You want me..... To pay you.... To go ask someone else.... For money.... . .? ? ? ?.... Seriously?!? .... You're kidding right?.... Seriously?!?.... 

 

OK, how bout this instead.... . . . . Bite Me!

 

This has got to be the worst use of crowd funding I've seen thus far.  There's no chance I would ever waste my money hard earned money on this kind of uselessness.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Isn't this like me asking for money so I can go on vacation, and MAYBE I'll tell you how it went? Sounds a lot like welfare fraud; you're going to ruin it for the people that actually do need a little help getting on their feet.

Fursnake
Fursnake

This reeks of "Buyer Beware!".

 

And that video...good grief that video. That looked like something made in a high school journalism class 20 years ago.

smacles
smacles

MMOs don't work including World of Warcraft.  The storylines become a huge mess and you have no clue where you are to go to continue the mess of a storyline.  Not to mention the cheap tricks that are pulled in MMOs to cause you pointless amount of time.... For example in World of Warcraft, when you die, you have to find your body before you can continue on again.  Pointless crap like that abound and who wants to deal with that?  I wish more people would just abandon MMOs enough to convince people to make more Single Player games.

SolidTy
SolidTy

That $10 doesn't go far.

 

I mean, I like Black Isle Studios and want them to succeed, but I'm not digging this deal one iota.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

$10 for forum access?! Sign me up! Is the "proof of concept" thing just to avoid having to give money back when this tanks? We need to start banning MMOs... Everyone and there mom has one now.

Buffalo2867
Buffalo2867

Waaaay way too many MMOs, nearly all of which fail. Really not interested. I neat single player rpg maybe but not yet another MMO.

TrueGB
TrueGB

I hope nobody is dumb enough to fall for this. Look at the scummy things they did to try and win the lawsuit against Bethesda. This is definitely a take the money and run deal.

brucies_bubbles
brucies_bubbles

So you invest in a Proof of Concept and all you pretty much get is a thank you.

I'd rather burn my money than that.

 

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

The video is mildly entertaining. But now I am confused about where PV13 is. Years into development with major changes made just recently? Or still at a formative stage where $50 gets you major input into the game design?

 

On a lighter note, since the Mayan calendar ends in a day, the outcome of the Kickstarter campaign may not matter anyway.

Fallout_red
Fallout_red

Wait, I'm pretty sure MOST of Black Isle members are actually with Obsidian. Heck, Obsidian is pretty much THE Black Isle's spiritual successor. The rest are currently at InXile and Blizzard...

So, who the hell are these guys pretending to be Black Isle?

Evilnator
Evilnator

They revived a company with a great RPG history.... TO MAKE AN MMO! Screw that.

Dumachum
Dumachum

Black Isle always existed, it just changed its name to Obsidian.

Bennettfoam
Bennettfoam

Black Isle was a bunch of talented people, not a stupid symbol to be resurrected now.

The_Last_Paladi
The_Last_Paladi

These are the kind of kickstarter projects I am completely against.  If you're going to start one, the very least you need to have is a product, not try to get money to pitch an idea for a product.  Having people pay 10 dollars just to get on a forum is ridiculous.

blackace
blackace

All these developers in this video should start looking for a new job right now. They keep saying there happy to be back at Black Isle, but the company has been dismantled for years. These developers are not the original Black Isle staff who started it all. Most of those guys are at Obsidian. The only reason they keep using Black Isle is because it was a once respected developing company. We've seen what these guys did in 4 years. They couldn't even get a tech demo done in that time for Fallout Online. What a joke.

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

Well this is just silly. Black Isle is gone, all original talent is now Obsidian. Plus, this isn't even funding for an actual game, but for an "idea", for which you'll have to donate AGAIN for actual development.

 

Pass.

McStrongfast
McStrongfast

 @bignick217 What he said, basically.

 

Plus the nostalgia they're banking on is artificial. No one from the original team is involved with this. Surely they would've touted that if it was the case. In their pitch they don't even state what games they have been working on, or who the hell they are, just that they're experienced.

 

In the legal notices it says...

 

3. If the BlackIsle.com/Project V13 forum is launched, then the deposit shall be earned by Interplay and shall become non-refundable to the extent that Interplay uses it to pay Game Costs. Contributor's deposits shall be applied pro-rata in a percentage equal to the total Game Cost in relation to the total Contributor deposits.

 

5. For purposes of clarity and the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of Interplay's good faith efforts to develop, produce, and launch the forum with the funds raised, You agree that any deposit amounts applied against the Game Cost as described above shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not Interplay is able to launch the forum, complete the prototype, or complete and deliver the Game. In the unlikely event that Interplay cannot deliver the forum or prototype, Interplay will post an audited cost accounting on its website to fully explain the use of the deposits for the Game Cost. In consideration of these and other promises by Interplay hereunder and herein, You agree to irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost in accordance with the above.

 

LOL.WHAT.

bignick217
bignick217

 @ggregd I agree with your sentiment regarding this use of crowdfunding, but I can't say I agree regarding receiving a copy of the game and some stuff while the developer reaps the revenue from the game.  Game sales can be really hit and miss.  Especially on new IP's.  If you were to take the overall number of sales (copies) of a particular game times it by the cost and subtract deductions, it doesn't work out badly for gamers who backed a games development through crowdfunding.  Here's an example.  Bear in mind that most games if successful only sell on average less than 2 million copies.  It's generally only really successful games that surpass that number, but we'll say 2 million copies sold for my example.  And I'll use Star Citizen as an example for the game and backers.

 

2 million copies sold over lifetime of game.  So a few years.

$60 a copy.

100,000 backers

 

So 2 million sold at $60 = 120,000,000

Divided by 100,000 backers = 1,200 per backer

 

But this doesn't take in to account of several factors.  Such as how much of that $60 was a mark up for the retailer.  But let's 20% as a random number.  Well, that's now $960 per backer.  Well what about how much of that is used for continuing development of the game, added content, patches, servers, community involvement etc.  This is really expensive.  Let's say 30% of whats left for continued aftermarket product support.  Now we're at $672 per backer.  Well what about the developers profit cut of that for actually making the game.  Let's say 50% of that.  $336 is what's left per backer spread over a few years. 

 

Now please take these values with a pinch of salt, because I have no idea what the actual costs and deductions would be.  I only used this to illustrate a point.  And 2 million sales, I was being generous.  This also only takes into account 2 million sales over a couple years (which years actually is an accurate factor to take into account), but also doesn't take into account sales (ie discounted prices), declining prices and sales over life of product etc.  Taking that into account a straight up front payment of a full game and promotional "stuff" isn't that bad.  Especially when you back the game, you typically get your copy of the game for significantly reduced price from what you would have paid at full retail.  It's actually a pretty good deal.  Sure you run the risk of not getting the game at all if the developer tanks before completing the game, but that's the name of the game.  Risk.  You are taking a risk by backing it, but if successfully made, you have a good chance of getting the game you really wanted.  Especially if the developer makes you (the community) a part of the development process. 

 

It's one thing if you are a single backer financing the full development of a game where you would get a sizable chunk of the reward for a games success, but then again, you took all the risk.  But if you are 1 in a 100,000 slice equally split pot, it becomes a much smaller reward.  Especially when that reward is spread over years.  It's like the concept of winning the lottery.  Big reward in you are the only winner, but if everybody in the country wins that same lottery with you, then your originally big reward becomes very small very fast.  It's up to you to weigh the risk with the cost with what you want.  If it's worth it to, then that's good for you.  If it fails, you accepted that possibility when you backed.  But if successful, then you hopefully got what you wanted and paid for.  If it wasn't worth it, well then you didn't waste your money in the first place negating the risk.  That's the name of the crowdfunding game.

Stiler
Stiler

 @ShadowBanjo Chris Taylor worked on fallout, he was responsible for the "SPECIAL" rpg system.

 

Also Mark O'Green worked on it as well.

 

ESB
ESB

ps.: and what's worse is that  most of the budget is being provided by private investors so there is no need to ask for crowdfunding.

 

I wonder why people keep giving money to these kind of scams...

Stiler
Stiler

 @Saketume Interplay is about as far from "big" as you can get. They were treading on being broke a while back and selling off a lot of their IP's. Then they got tangled up with Bethseda over Fallout and Bethseda ended up getting that IP (hence why they can't refer to it as fallout, and even make jabs at it by bleeping the obvious fallout refrences in the youtube video).

 

Hell I'd wager that there's quite a few "indie" developers who have more money in their coffers then interplay does.

 

That's probably why they want to have crowdfunding just to get a proof of concept off the ground instead of self funding it (which is what most developers do).

Saketume
Saketume

 @Tripwolf I'm slightly annoyed but not really that confused. These things happen all the time. Brands are bought and sold. Key people quit and so on.

 

Atari comes to mind.

Unholy123
Unholy123

 @Tripwolf It's a 'in name only' kind of deal whats even more confusing about this IMO is the fact that they trying to resurrect the Fallout MMO but they've don't have the rights to the fallout MMO so they'll have to make it without having any of the fallout references or characters.

ggregd
ggregd

 @Daemoroth Yes, proof of concept is normally the first step in development and it's a test to see if what you want to do can even be done.  It certainly doesn't happen years into development.  This sounds more like "Proof to investors that people want this game enough to pay us in return for for nothing"

Saketume
Saketume

 @smacles wait.. what?

You're saying MMOs are failures and don't work? You should call Blizzard and tell them.

 

It's a seriously weird opinion you have there. That if you don't like something then nobody should. Maybe there are some sports you want people to stop participating in too?!

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @---Cipher---

 Who told you this was an MMO?  All we know is that it's a game that's from Black Isle Studios (or what's left of it, which ain't much).  Something that they've been working on for years but don't have a proof of concept yet.  Something that has changed significantly from what it was before - which I presume is why the PoC they must have had before no longer works.

 

Oh, and the $10 only lets you read the forum.  You need to spend twice that to get into the subforum that let's you post (and it looks like the $10 crowd can't read what the $20 crowd is saying).  So, basically, $10 lets you go in and read announcements.

Saketume
Saketume

 @Buffalo2867 I happen to like MMOs. But yeah most of them are failed. When they're good it's great fun though.

Developers seem to have a hard time understanding what makes them fun and what makes them suck. Often they just stare at the dollar signs, I think.

malec_1
malec_1

 @The_Last_Paladi It's not even kickstarter. Kickstarter most likely denied them as they aren't trying to fund a real project. So they are trying to crowdfund it themselves.

 

As others have said, big time caveat emptor.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @The_Last_Paladi At least they are upfront about it, right? I would be more concerned if anyone claimed they could make a MMO with a few million dolars.

shantd
shantd

 @Roger_Smith You won't have to donate again. If the proof of concept is successful, it will fetch them private funding.

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @ESB

 IS anyone giving them money?  There's no donation counter.

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @ESB

 Oh!  Hehe, sad that it's hard to tell the difference between Goblinworks and "Black Isle"...

ESB
ESB

 @Zloth2

 Don't know about PV13, I'm talking about  "Pathfinder Online: A Fantasy Sandbox MMO" kickstater campaign.