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Matt Chat 255: Feargus Urquhart on Black Isle, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout 2

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Matt Chat 255: Feargus Urquhart on Black Isle, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout 2

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 31 August 2014, 02:39:31

Tags: Baldur's Gate; BioWare; Black Isle Studios; Fallout 2; Feargus Urquhart; Interplay; Matt Barton; Shattered Steel

In the second episode of Matt Barton's interview with Feargus Urquhart, Feargus goes back to the beginning, and tells the story of his unlikely rise from humble QA tester at Interplay to head of Black Isle Studios, the company's roleplaying games division. He talks about his first collaboration with BioWare, helping to publish and produce their now-forgotten first title, the mech simulator Shattered Steel. But the real meat of this part of the interview is Feargus' take on the developments of Baldur's Gate and Fallout 2.

Did you know that Feargus had to go over his immediate boss's head and appeal to the marketing department and Brian Fargo* to get Baldur's Gate greenlit? He was even responsible for naming the game "Baldur's Gate" (which the Biodocs thought was a dumb name, by the way). Also, did you know that Fallout 2 was originally going to be developed by another team because Tim Cain and co. didn't want to do a sequel? Apparently, they suddenly changed their minds after the original was released, and took over the already existing Fallout 2 project, scrapping much of the initial work...before leaving again not long afterwards to found Troika. Feargus doesn't outright state it, but it's not hard to see where the bad blood surrounding that project may have come from.

*Speaking of Brian Fargo, in an uncharacteristically ballsy move, Matt asks Feargus whether what Brian said in his interview back in 2011 about Baldur's Gate not being profitable enough was true. Feargus is hesitant to contradict his old boss, but it's clear that he believes that Baldur's Gate was indeed quite profitable by most standards.

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