The interplay death watch

I was looking over the quarterly report Interplay put out a few days ago ( http://biz.yahoo.com/e/020819/iply10-q.html
). They are in big trouble. Very very big trouble. You don’t have to read between the lines with. In big bold and all cap letters are the following:

"WE CURRENTLY HAVE A NUMBER OF OBLIGATIONS THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO MEET WITHOUT GENERATING ADDITIONAL REVENUES OR RAISING ADDITIONAL CAPITAL. IF WE CANNOT GENERATE ADDITIONAL REVENUES OR RAISE ADDITIONAL CAPITAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE, WE MAY BECOME INSOLVENT AND OUR STOCK WOULD BECOME ILLIQUID OR WORTHLESS. "

"WE HAVE A HISTORY OF LOSSES, MAY NEVER GENERATE POSITIVE CASH FLOW FROM OPERATIONS AND MAY HAVE TO FURTHER REDUCE OUR COSTS BY CURTAILING FUTURE OPERATIONS. "
(like to mention that this is an understatment)

"TITUS INTERACTIVE SA CONTROLS A MAJORITY OF OUR VOTING STOCK AND CAN ELECT A MAJORITY OF OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND PREVENT AN ACQUISITION OF INTERPLAY THAT IS FAVORABLE TO OUR OTHER STOCKHOLDERS. "

However the most damning lines were in fine print:
"As of June 30, 2002, our cash balance was approximately $157,000 and our outstanding accounts payable and current debt totaled approximately $38.6 million, with approximately $10.2 million that can be offset against receivable balances. On April 30, 2002, in connection with the sale of Shiny, we received a cash payment of approximately $3.0 million and a promissory note in the principal amount of approximately $10.8 million payable over three months, and applied additional proceeds to repay approximately $26.1 million in accounts payable and current debt including $11.5 million of prepaid advances that were accelerated as a condition of the transaction. "

"With the sale of Shiny, we no longer have any goodwill assets. "

Ok, pretty much they have no cash, no credit, no assets, no money coming in soon, and lots of debt. This is all AFTER the sale of Shiny and the sale of titles to Titus. They mention shipping 5 games for consoles and two for the pc in the next six months but I’m unsure how they are going to pay people to finish them. One email I got after posting this at gonegold mentioned that right now, they see only one hope for the company. That the 5 or so console titles they are releasing this fall will bring in enough money to fund them for another few years and start new game development. (Guess the pc games aren’t going to ship). Most of them are from outside companies contracting through Interplay so they should be able to finish them and ship them out even if Interplay ends up laying off virtually everyone internal to the company. If a majority of them flop or if any of them slip, its over. While I’m not sure, I get the feeling that those at Interplay right now aren’t getting paid or getting only a percentage of their pay checks. Another big problem for Interplay is the majority stock holder, Titus, is busily running them into the ground. So, any bets when they will fold? My guess, october or december they will push whatever they can out the door, and fold. I actually doubt we’ll see Lionheart since its a pc product.

I heard that their stock was going to be delisted today if they didn’t file an appeal. Did they?

It was denied. Guess they could try a last minute appeal of the appeal the delay it but I doubt it.

What about IWD2? Will we even see that?

Right about now, I’d like to see somebody cool swoop in and buy the Fallout franchise, or better still, buy BIS.

IWD 2 is gold and since distribution is handled by Universal, I’m sure we’ll get to see it. However no one seems to think it will sell well enough to save interplay. All hopes seem to hang on the console titles coming out. Yeah I hope fallout does get picket up by someone I imagine once Interplay falls into liquidation, that will be one of the first titles bought up.

Hopefully not EA. Anyone but them. Oh yeah, not Eidos either.

>Hopefully not EA. Anyone but them. Oh yeah, not Eidos either.

A plan is already well in the works, to my knowledge. It doesn’t involve either of the companies you mentioned.

Icewind Dale 2 should be in stores by the end of next week.

Stefan

Goody gumdrops. Of course, living in that notorious 3rd world state, the UK, I will have to wait until late Sept for IWD2. It takes that long for the gold master to arrive here from the New World, you see.

I don’t really care who buys BIS/Fallout, as long as they make Fallout 3 and hire Chris Avellone as lead designer.

I remember that during the end times for GEnie in 1995-96 that a number of our folks ended up over at Interplay (we developed a relationship while getting Descent Online going). I hope they came out okay.

Why is it that Interplay could never make money? Weren’t they considered a big gaming company at some point? Now they lost Bioware, and all I seem to hear about is the odd Icewind Dale or Starfleet Battles game.

That financial news is beyond grim. What kind of business decisions did they make to end up so far in the hole? Considering that they were one of the big players, I wonder if this is typical of the industry at large.

Oh it wasn’t just one thing. It was a huge series of mistakes.

First there was Stone Keep. Three years late and wildly over budget. Another mega late title was Descent to Undermount but atleast Stonekeep worked. Then there was the funding of Shiny’s megalosers (in terms of money) Messiah and Sacrifice. There was the opening of a studio devoted to adventure games when adventure games weren’t selling. Then they became a company that changed focused with the wind.

i just hope someone re-creates the magic game that is Carmageddon 2. oh man, i loved that game. and how!

I think I’m one of the few people that liked (as in, really liked, a lot) Stonekeep. I thought it was a really entertaining RPG, with good visuals (at the time) and great characters and storyline. Just me, I guess…

My wife and I still make Tim Cain’s Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (the Shadowking’s favorite!) every once in a while.

I’m treating IWD2 as a posthumous release. Too bad about Interplay. For all the mismanagement, many of my favorite games were published through them. Granted, the developers are still around for the most part, but I credit Interplay for taking a risk on supporting the cRPG genre. It was a dubious business decision to be sure, but one for which I’m grateful as a gamer.

  • Alan

>but I credit Interplay for taking a risk on supporting the cRPG genre

If Interplay only published RPG games over the past five years, the company would have been profitable.

Stefan

IWD2 is coming out next week, I wouldn’t worry about seeing that at the least. Interplay’s other major title I suppose is Hunter: the Reckoning for the Xbox (or is that already out?) which last I thought I heard as December.

— Alan

That could be anyone. Unlike the rumored Infogrames, virtually anyone could buy Interplay. Probably out of pocket change for most companies. The question really is who could use and or want Interplay’s IP?

Oh damn I better start FTP’ing all of their games patches before they disappear !

What is the deal with Black Isle? Are they owned by Interplay? An independent studio? Those are some folks who deserve to keep their jobs…Bioware should buy em up otherwise…put em to work on NWN Mods or more Infinity Engine games

Black Isle is a division of Interplay. Specifically, their cRPG division. If you ever visit their message boards, you will see a developer who really is responsive to gamers.