Interplay back in black, still seeking Fallout MMOG funding

Once-mighty publisher posts profit following July Fallout IP sale, says postnuclear massively multiplayer RPG remains "key" to future.

As publisher of the Baldur's Gate and Descent series, Interplay Entertainment was a force to be reckoned with the 1990s. However, ever since it was taken over in 2001 by French publisher Titus Interactive, its fortunes have fallen. Founder Brian Fargo departed the next year, followed in 2003 by many of the talented developers forced out by the closure of Black Isle Studios. In 2004, the company was forced out of its headquarters for nonpayment of rent, laid off almost its entire staff, was threatened by the California state authorities, and all but disappeared from public view.

In mid-2004, though, Interplay made headlines when it licensed its popular IP Fallout to acclaimed role-playing game developer-publishers Bethesda Softworks. The deal covered only console and PC Fallout titles, though. On the agreement's eve in 2004, Interplay CEO Herve Caen announced an ambitious plan for a Fallout massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Interplay again touted its MMORPG master plan in December 2006, in case anyone had forgotten.

Yesterday, the publisher again reminded the world of a Fallout MMORPG when it reported its finances for the quarter ending June 30, 2007. The three-month period saw the developer turn a $5.46 million profit, thanks to a near-complete lack of operating expenses and the $5.75 million it received when Bethesda bought the Fallout IP outright this past April. Total quarterly revenues were $5.81 million, up 2,431 percent from the same period in 2006.

"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," Caen said in a statement. "With that difficult period behind us, we are focused on securing funding for development of a massively multiplayer online game based on the popular Fallout franchise. ... Fallout Online will play a key role in the future of Interplay."

Interplay did not expand on the plans it laid out for Fallout Online last year. That called for the raising of some $75 million to fund development of the project, which remains tentatively set for a July 2010 launch. Bethesda will release the totally redesigned, critically acclaimed, yet still controversial Fallout for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 late next year.

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Discussion

87 comments
Nodashi
Nodashi

Geez, I'd love a GOOD Fallor MMORPG more than any game I can think of now. Too bad it's burried with those bankrupted companies RN :(

darkscorcher
darkscorcher

YES, i cant wait for interplay to come back and release another descent game, i have been waiting to find out what happened to the shivans for 8 years now : )

Williedude87
Williedude87

There website has a link to play chess online for free.. and information about financing and investing in the company, and a old logo. That's about it. I'm pretty sure this guy is just dreaming. I mean, I hope I'm wrong, but reality dictates otherwise.

fastpunk
fastpunk

@Zaptoman: I agree, it was very dumb but they probably needed the money. Still, I wish they'd kept it and licensed it to Obsidian for a true Fallout sequal, not Bethsoft's flashy nuclear freak show.

zaptoman
zaptoman

Should have never sold the IP. That was dumb. What happens if Interplay gets back on its feet? One of its most popular IPs is gone forever.

LycanBlacksoul
LycanBlacksoul

*sigh* So much Fallout, so little time... If they do it, do it right.

EXODYS
EXODYS

Sure hope Interplay will be able to get some more capital soon, would love a Fallout Online :-D

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

Interplay was great, but is now dead in all but name. None of the original talent that made the games great is still there, and in the 3 years since announcing an intention to make a Fallout MMO, they have done nothing. If they had actually started making it in mid-2004 when it was announced we would probably have seen it launched by now. I would love to see a Fallout MMO, but for now this is little more than vapourware

MadDog1250
MadDog1250

Its a shame that interplay have fallen so far :( they were such behemoths when i were a gaming kiddeh , and nearly every game they produced was actually good. Compared to the cash cow nature of gaming companies nowadays that still manage to survive after churning out trash sequel and dumb idea one after another *cough-ea-cough* Not their fault tho, tbh theres a large market of gamers out there that are thick enough to buy all these 'games' and keep the companies afloat. times have changed

FearlessVampire
FearlessVampire

A hard sell, and probably quite a while before we see it... but this would rock...

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Duke Nukem Forever will make it to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 before we see this next installment in the Fallout series.

greater_bird
greater_bird

Can anyone honestly see this MMORPG coming about? It's been on the table for years now, with no actual work being done on it, and it doesn't sound like Interplay have the resources to make it. Mind you, if they did, the marketing for Bethseda's Fallout would give the online one a free boost in name recognition. There's got to be a lot of gamers around who would never have played (possibly never heard of) the originals.

skyman_1981
skyman_1981

Microsoft Games Studios needs to buy Interplay.

goldeneye_basic
goldeneye_basic

raze182 and maa4208: I agree, Descent rocks. Playing a demo of the first one that came on some floppy's is what got me into PC gaming. Since I don't think Interplay can make a fourth one with the lack of programmers, it should sell the rights to someone that can make another one. Raze182, you can actually play old DOS games with a program called DosBox or other pc emulators. I've used DosBox to play Privateer in Windows XP. That game used to be a pain because you had to mess with memmaker to free up conventional memory. PC gaming is a lot easier now :) Update: According to http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=74527218 Interplay let the trademark cancel, so maybe anybody could develop a new Descent game without paying licensing fees.

drakron
drakron

Herve Caen is still trying to find someone stupid enough to fund Interplay, this is really old news. There might be a sucker born every minute but they lack 70 millions. And no, Herve is not "climbing out of the gutter", Interplay does not exist outside holding the rights, all influx of money have been from Interplay catalog re-release deals and Bethsoft buying the Fallout IP ... they cannot develop or publish any games since that infrastructure collapsed along with Interplay (that is why he needs 70 millions).

haesuse
haesuse

well i gotta say i am glad to hear they are climbing out of the gutter and doing it pretty fast. as for the MMO that is probably their only way to really get back on the feet and be a full on dev and ppublisher. Fallout is a very popular and loved series and an MMO, if done well and right, would be easily a success and a cash cow for Interplay to get back in the game.

michirican123
michirican123

I wonder which fallout will be better. The bethesda sequel or the Interplay MMORPG... let the games begin

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

they been through tough times Can't wait for the MMO! :D

mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

We shall see how MMOs with adult content fair when Age of Conan gets released. I think theyre gonna do well, and either way a Fallout MMO would be awesome.

gozalo
gozalo

All hail Interplay.

Ghostin-Dashell
Ghostin-Dashell

I'm not too sure how I feel about the MMO plan... take one dash of post apocalyptic landscape, add adult content, MMO grinding and rabid fallout fans - leave to simmer for four hours. I do have fond memories of the old games, but they were not by any means the holy grail of gaming. To base the future of your company on the risky premise of widening what is so far only a niche (but bloodcurdlingly loyal) audience and giving them a game built on the shaky foundations of an MMO seems more about the publicity than any real business acumen. If they pull it off, great... but considering how high expectations will be, the small core audience and the financial straight jacket, I cannot see this game ever threatening to live very long in the cutthroat MMO market. Bethesda is taking Fallout where it should be going, a high-quality tailored single-player experience.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

i find this news more distrubing than when bethesda took over the fallout IP ....

Goliathvv
Goliathvv

I just hope they don't make a bad game because of the "rush for money" and their discomfortable situation after all... And I really hope this MMORPG pleases Fallout fans, because Fallout is a unique franchise that has a lot of potential and putting that to loss in a time it's really hard to come out with a good new concept is something sad, both for gamers, who lose a future good game, and developers, that lose some of the market and material.

Atarii
Atarii

2341% increase is pretty funny, almost all from be bought out.

joeythemachine
joeythemachine

They didn't drag themselves out of anything. They were pulled MOST of the way out for selling out their most readily profitable franchise. I can't wait to find out who gives them money for their MMORPG, because as soon as I find out, I'm gonna find them and sell them some snake oil panaceas, magic beans and the patent on my spanish fly spray.

metalisticpain
metalisticpain

I am surprised they were able to drag themselves out of that pit... I feel sorry for allt heir workers who got laid off when they went under

joeythemachine
joeythemachine

Did anyone else think this basic arithmetic explanation of Interplay's current financial state was positively ridiculous? All they did was get a big check for Fallout 3 rights from Bethesda. Wow. What a complex and crafty financial plan: First, acrue veritable mountaints of debt. Then, once all of your staff is gone, and all of your assets are reposessed, wait around with your hands in your pockets and whistle for several years until another company comes along and buys the rights of someone else's brainchild. Swish! Now all you have to do is convince some other fools to give you some more money for you to waste to help reinforce those paychecks you've been writing yourself. Bravo.

maxxorz
maxxorz

Whaa?!?! INTERPLAY, HEAR ME!!! I'll give you Fallout MMO funding! I'll give you all of my money! just make it happen!!!

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

Fallout Online.....Coming to a store near year you in 2017 (or when pigs fly,or when PCs learn to themselves)

twolegsbad
twolegsbad

"Interplay Entertainment was force to be reckoned with the 1990s"...what does that mean? I think I know what it is supposed to mean...but I can't be sure. Anyway, a developer worth their salt needs to pick up Baldur's Gate. We need a good next gen Baldur's Gate. Oh, and to reiterate the profound statement from the deep and ponderous mind of other44: cool!

ShotGunBunny
ShotGunBunny

Although I've had enough of MMOG's for now, I'll still be keeping an eye out for this one. If Fallout 3 becomes a hit, they might even be able to match GW or even WoW.

MXVIII
MXVIII

diablobasher "acclaimed role-playing game developer-publishers " ROFL. What 'RPG's have bethesda put out since Daggerfall?! I only see some mediocre action adventure FPS's, and an aweful star wars game. Are you serious? They came out with the entire Morrowind series. I know its only one long series of RPGs but they were pretty awesome. If my company had to depend on on an rpg Id definitely give Bethesda my IP.

makryu
makryu

A Fallout MMORPG? Rest in peace, Interplay, but don't come back, please.

FoodThing00
FoodThing00

I really hope it works out for interplay. My face would be frozen in happiness forever if it did.

Tactician
Tactician

They should ditch interplay and use the blackisle name they own. It is much more respected. I hope the MMO pans out . I will play it, even if it sucks, but I hope it does not.

TrevasGallant
TrevasGallant

I am also still saddened by the death of Black Isle Studios. The mention of quarterly revenues up 2,431% from the same period last year just made me laugh. That's a big percentage.

Ced_Quijote
Ced_Quijote

I still mourn the sinking of the black isle...

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

Fallout is going to pay off, I know how what the staff went thou, but Fallout was made into one amazing game and I truely hope that the third game does as well as the first and second.

deanbigbee
deanbigbee

This is great news. I would love to see them succeed once again in the current market - their impact in the past is remarkable and I truly loved alot of the games they put out. I don't get all the snobs complaining about the good fortunes of a company that has in the past put out incredible content and may put more out again!

johnnyb47
johnnyb47

This is laughable, any Interplay game is practically vaporware, as there's nobody to develop it, and it's market success is doubtable. Just look at how many people don't approve of Fallout 3, a SINGLE PLAYER GAME with a STORY. A Fallout MMO would really depend on Bethesda's ability to make Fallout 3 a good game and market it well, so that Interplay can jump on the marketing bandwagon and get some money off the fraction of Fallout 3 players that also enjoy MMOs. I wonder what Herve Caen is telling those potential investors: "Gimme the money, because Bethesda will make Fallout popular again, and then we'll come along offering an MMO based on the same IP, and everyone will just love it. No matter that the genre is slowly, but steadily becoming overcrowded. Oh, and don't look at me like that, it's not me who sent Interplay into the ground in the first place, it's that guy who left the company. Your money is SAFE with me."

diablobasher
diablobasher

"acclaimed role-playing game developer-publishers " ROFL. What 'RPG's have bethesda put out since Daggerfall?! I only see some mediocre action adventure FPS's, and an aweful star wars game.

spelledarn
spelledarn

Interplay only has itself to blame. They leached funs from succesful RPGs and quality games to mass-produce simple, stupid, buggy games they thought would sell. Consumers aren't stupid, sales collapsed. And instead of stopping to produce crap, they cancelled all the more expensive RPG projects. Interplay isn't getting any pity from me.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Wonder how are they going to get $75 million for the project.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Man, I really don't want to see another MMO out there, especially a Fallout one, because the game series really doesn't translate well to a grind-fest with little story. Even if it does come out (and I doubt it will, because Herve's really really not good at running a business and producing results) at best it'll be what.. a Tabula Rasa clone?

Kolt-Python
Kolt-Python

1. Disbanding Black Isle Studios 2. Allowing console Brotherhood of Steel instead of proper sequel to be made 3. Depending on a popular franchise to ride the MMO bandwagon Interplay will get no love from me