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GB Feature: Icewind Dale: The Past, Present, and Future

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GB Feature: Icewind Dale: The Past, Present, and Future

Game News - posted by Jaesun on Fri 28 October 2011, 03:20:49

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment

GameBanshee has an editorial piece on the Past, Present and possible Future of the Icewind Dale Series. Here are a few snippets:

Icewind Dale was initially conceived as a lower-budget title, intended to help fill out Interplay's catalogue by repurposing their older technology and filling the gap between the two Baldur's Gate games. As former Black Isle technical designer Scott Everts explained,
While not a massive commercial success, Icewind Dale was well-received by critics and fans alike; given these conditions, an expansion pack was a pretty sure bet, and Interplay obliged with Heart of Winter in 2001. Heart of Winter kept much of the focus on dungeon-crawling of the original game, but exposed more of Icewind Dale's lore and world than the original game ever did, with a plot revolving more around conflict between the Ten-Towns, the barbarian tribes of the Dale, an ancient frost wyrm, and a cryptic, blind seer. Set in and around the village of Lonelywood, Heart of Winter provided more in the way of character interaction, side-quests, and even some mild choice and consequence that was lacking from the original story. Technically, a number of improvements were made to the game and its engine, most notably a higher resolution, a slew of extra high-level spells, a raised level cap, and the Heart of Fury mode, which substantially increased the difficulty level and made replaying with a well-developed party a more fulfilling experience.
With its two expansion packs, good reputation with critics and fans, and an idle D&D license, it was only fitting that in 2002, Interplay and Black Isle Studios would release Icewind Dale II. While the original game had always been conceived as a lower-budget alternative to the Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale II's development history was significantly more troubled. Interplay's financial woes during 2001 had begun to escalate, and as a result, several ongoing RPG projects, including TORN and Van Buren (the ill-fated Fallout 2 sequel), were delayed or canceled outright in order to make more room for what Interplay considered to be the more reliable Icewind Dale brand. Initially given a development window of only four months, according to lead designer Josh Sawyer, even with the additional team members gained from the cancelation of those other projects, as well as further delays, Icewind Dale II saw a rushed production cycle.
One of the more persistent rumors floating around the Internet over the last year has been that the Icewind Dale games will, indeed, be reborn, this time at the hands of Obsidian Entertainment, most well-known for their repertoire of ex-Black Isle staff. Today certainly seems like the perfect time to bring back the isometric and tactical gameplay the series is known for, and not at all unrealistic either. Although nothing explicit has been stated, Obsidian have apparently been pushing for a chance to revisit Icewind Dale for a long time already, and given that Wizards of the Coast seem set to push D&D in a big way with the flurry of new Neverwinter-based games, the marriage seems one that is all the more plausible.
It is quite a long read, but reather interesting. You can read the entire article here.
Thanks Cynic!
Spotted at: GameBanshee

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