PC GAMER (UK) - - Feature -

While there were only five games based on In­fin­ity, its legacy lasted a lit­tle longer. BioWare’s next en­gine, Aurora, was largely about bring­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence into 3D. Its big de­but was in Nev­er­win­ter Nights, which com­bined a pretty dread­ful cam­paign with tools that play­ers could use to cre­ate their own sin­gle- or mul­ti­player 3D ad­ven­tures from scratch. Th­ese sys­tems were fairly com­plex, but the au­di­ence soon rose to the chal­lenge with ev­ery­thing from the comedic Sex And The Sin­gle

Ad­ven­turess and the de­tec­tive-fo­cused Maugeter, to per­sis­tent on­line servers for full MMOs.

Al­ready though, BioWare was tir­ing of the lim­i­ta­tions of the top-down, old-school RPG, and look­ing for the next step. Aurora re­ally only saw use in Nev­er­win­ter Nights, its se­quel (made by Ob­sid­ian), and, out of seem­ingly nowhere, (though a heav­ily re­worked ver­sion of the en­gine), the first of the Witcher games. Black Isle, mean­while, didn’t sur­vive the In­fin­ity era. Its fi­nal pub­lished – though not de­vel­oped – game was a mix of magic and the Cru­sades called Lion­heart, which started rea­son­ably well but quickly put­tered out into a dis­ap­point­ing mess. Af­ter that, it was in­tended to go on to a new game, Torn, as well as se­quels to both Fall­out and Bal­dur’s Gate – Van Buren and The Black Hound re­spec­tively.

The Black Hound was go­ing to be the start of a whole new se­ries rather than a con­tin­u­a­tion of the pre­vi­ous games’ story, with the tagline “You can­not kill guilt”. It would have seen a new hero bound to its essence and grow­ing stronger through dark ac­tions, us­ing a new en­gine called Jef­fer­son. Why not In­fin­ity? Be­cause as pop­u­lar as it is with fans, ev­ery­one who’s used it agrees that, un­der the hood, it’s a mess. Much like BioWare’s Aurora, Jef­fer­son was go­ing to be the same ba­sic idea, but in 3D.

Fi­nan­cial prob­lems at In­ter­play led to the en­tire team be­ing un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously booted to the kerb. In­ter­play would later try one of the more des­per­ate crowd­fund­ing cam­paigns, ask­ing fans to con­trib­ute to the re­birth of Black Isle to cre­ate an on­line Fall­out game – some­thing al­lowed even af­ter sell­ing the main li­cence to Bethesda. Its only goal, how­ever, was to fund a tech demo to try to at­tract in­vestors, and none of the ac­tual Black Isle staff from the com­pany’s glory days were in­volved. As ex­pected (and de­served), it failed mis­er­ably and with much mock­ery.

Player s could cre ate their own 3D ad­ven­ture s from scratch

Nev­er­win­ter Nights

iege of Dragon­spear

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