Paving the way for Icewind Dale.
Obsidian Entertainment CEO Fergus Urquhart, who worked on a number of classic role-playing games, including the early Fallout titles and the Baldur’s Gate series at Black Isle Studios, has come forward to shed light on a third Fallout game that was never released.
On the latest episode of our monthly interview show IGN Unfiltered, Urquhart revealed that before Black Isle began work on its more widely known Fallout 3 project, codenamed Van Buren, the studio also worked on another version of Fallout 3 that ultimately led to the creation of Icewind Dale.
“It was actually the second Fallout 3,” Urquhart said of Van Buren, noting that Black Isle’s first Fallout 3 project was in the works a bit earlier, after Fallout 2 was complete and Planescape: Torment was still in development.
While the studio’s previous Fallout games were in 2D, Black Isle wanted to bring Fallout into 3D with this new project. “Now 3D was the cool stuff. So we were going to move from being a 2D engine and be a 3D engine, and so we actually started working with this 3D technology called NDL,” he said.
While the studio was making progress on the game, it was during a time of financial trouble for the studio’s publisher Interplay. So instead of releasing as Fallout 3, the project led to the creation of Icewind Dale. Urquhart said he saw this as an opportunity to develop a dungeon-crawling RPG that would serve as an excellent “counterpoint” to Balder’s Gate, so “the Fallout 3 team became the Icewind Dale team.”
Interestingly enough, Urquhart then went on to note that the aforementioned 3D engine NDL ended up getting bought by Gamebryo, which coincidentally was later used to power the Bethesda-developed Fallout 3.
For more fascinating stories from the man behind a number of other beloved RPGs, including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and South Park: The Stick of Truth, stay tuned for our full interview with Urquhart when this month’s episode of IGN Unfiltered goes live next Tuesday.
Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his YouTube channel.