Black Isle returns with odd crowdfunding pitch for post-apocalyptic strategy RPG

Pay for a proof of concept and to convince management to resurrect the studio.

This is a weird one.

Finally we know what a resurrected Black Isle Studios is up to. Or rather we know what a possibly resurrected Black Isle Studios wants to do: an old-school post-apocalyptic strategy RPG.

Black Isle wants your money, not on Kickstarter but on its website.

That money, however, won't fund the game's development or secure you a copy.

In Black Isle's own words: "Our goal at this stage is threefold: prove to management that you want Black Isle Studios resurrected - and all the history and tradition of excellence that goes with it; continue to staff up and complete our PV13 game design; and develop a tech demo / proof of concept for our design that will open the doors to additional funding."

In other words, not only is the game nowhere near made yet, the studio isn't even properly resurrected or staffed.

Added designer Chris Taylor (he of Fallout fame not Total Annihilation fame): "One of the things that's really cool about this is we're in a stage that's early enough that we're looking for contributing members to give us feedback and input about our game and help us with the direction to make sure we can make the best possible game."

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A handful of staff are introduced in a video. They are Chris Taylor, Chip Bumgardner, Mark O'Green and Jeff Clendenning. In the video the word Fallout is bleeped out. It made me cringe.

The game is Project V13. Ring any bells? That was what Interplay called the Fallout Online MMO - the rights to that name eventually reverting to Bethesda in a lawsuit. Interplay had struggled to fund and produce anything meaningful for years.

Black Isle's website said this: "PV13 has been in development for years but we've had to make some major changes recently. We believe the changes are for the better and we're excited about working on this new iteration of PV13."

The Project V13 that Black Isle described doesn't sound like an MMO.

The PV13 pitch:

  • "You will create a character to represent yourself within the game world. Your character will be a hardy adventurer from a variety of backgrounds: one of the last remaining humans; a new breed mutant; or a technologically advanced cyborg. The choice is yours.
  • "Once you have determined your character's background, you will found your 'colony'. From a deserted city, a broken down military base or even the ruins of an oil pumping station, the colony will be yours to build and control.
  • "Attract non-player characters for guards, peons, scientists and other activities. Or if you are the type that so desires, shanghai the NPCs. Put them to work rebuilding your society and improving your colony.
  • "Meanwhile you will experience grand adventures to gather the resources and ancient technologies as well as fight back the enemy hordes. Your character will gain experience, advance skills, learn new talents and gain access to incredibly powerful equipment. Or die trying.
  • "Explore the world, meet friends and fight your neighbours for control of resources. PV13 will be your chance to rebuild a devastated world."
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So what do you get if you help fund PV13? If you spend $10 you get read-only access to a forum, a forum badge and certificate. For $20 you get write access to the forum, a better forum badge and a better certificate.

If you become a top-20 contributor you get write access to the forum, an even better forum badge and an even better certificate. You can pledge right up to $10,000.

There are 10 supporters - people who've donated - so far. There are 30 days to go.

Most of the famous Interplay and Black Isle staff now work elsewhere. Tim Cain of Fallout fame works at Obsidian, home of most of the other former Black Isle staff. Cain is one of the key people working on Project Eternity - one of Kickstarter's greatest successes.

Interplay founder Brian Fargo set up his own studio inXile and is busy making Wasteland 2 - one of Kickstarter's other greatest successes.

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