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Black Isle Studios

Black Isle Studios (previously known as Dragonplay)[1] was a division of the computer and video game developer and publisher Interplay Entertainment, created specifically for the development of computer role-playing games. It was based in Orange County, California.[2]



The division was formed in 1996, adopting the name "Black Isle Studios" two years later.[3] The idea for the division's name came from the Black Isle in Scotland - founder Feargus Urquhart's native country.[4] Black Isle Studios worked on the Fallout and Baldur's Gate series of computer role-playing games and published the Baldur's Gate series.

In addition to games developed in-house, Black Isle Studios aided in the development of several computer role-playing games published by Interplay including the Baldur's Gate series for Windows and Mac OS, and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube.


In 1998, several key members responsible for the division's first title, Fallout, 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]

In December 2002, Feargus Urquhart suggested that the division was profitable throughout its initial life, saying to Kotaku "We did fine... Our product made lots of money, and internally, the BioWare stuff made even more money. It was great, Black Isle. We were doing well." On December 8, 2003, in the midst of serious financial difficulties, Interplay laid off the entire Black Isle Studios staff.[6]

Following these layoffs, some former Black Isle Studios employees formed Obsidian Entertainment, a video game development company.[7] Former Black Isle staff joining Obsidian include Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Joshua Sawyer, and Tim Cain.[8][9]


  • Fallout (1997)
  • Fallout 2 (1998)
  • Planescape: Torment (1999)
  • Icewind Dale (2000)
  • Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (2001)
  • Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter - Trials of the Luremaster (2001)
  • Icewind Dale II (2002)
  • Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader (2003)
  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (2004)

Among the products whose development Black Isle assisted are:

  • Baldur's Gate (1998)
  • Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (1999)
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000)
  • Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001)


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