Black Isle Studios starts its return to games development today with a new crowdfunding pitch that aims to beef up staff, help "prove to management" that fans want the studio resurrected and in addition fund the creation of a prototype for a new project from the resurrected studio; However, the campaign is not meant to fund the full game.
According to the developer, "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."
The studio is currently pitching Project V13 — the same project title under which Interplay called the former Fallout Online MMO. The pitch describes a post-apocalyptic setting where players choose a character whose background ranges from technologically advanced cyborg, a new breed of mutant or one of the last remaining humans.
"Once you have determined your character's background, you will found your 'colony'," it reads. "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."
The crowdfunding campaign, which strangely takes place on the studio's website and not Kickstarter, allows users to pledge up to $10,000; however, this will not grant backers a copy of the yet-to-be-developed game. Those who spend $10 will gain read-only access to a forum, along with a forum badge and certificate of merit. Spending $20 will give users the ability to write on the forum, and grant them a better forum badge and certificate. Those who become a top-20 contributor can write on the forum, gain a certificate, a better forum badge than other tiers and will be placed on the website's Hero Board.
The studio confirms forums will be up and running by January, but payments made now will be charged immediately.
In December 2003, Interplay closed Black Isle after laying off all staff. Most of these developers transitioned to Obsidian Entertainment. Speaking to Polygon in August, Obsidian co-founder Darren Monahan confirmed "No one at Obsidian or the company itself is involved" in the reformed Black Isle Studios.