PC-RPGs….gasping for air or on the rise?

There are some interesting rumblings in world of PC RPGs and some uncomfortable silences as well.

First off some older news in the place holder image over at Interplay.com.  Interplay, paired with Black Isle Studios and Bioware released perhaps the preatest Post-Gold Box Era computer RPGs ever.  Baldur’s Gate II sucked away months of life taking my fledgling character from the humblest of roots to the pinnacle of goddom (yes) are some of my fondest gaming memories (Quixis of the Open Palm, monk turned just deity).   Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Baldurs Gate, Fallout.  Interplay released some serious gems and it was a bit of shame when they went under.

I should point out one of the images on the placeholder is from the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games.  While for consoles only the light hack and slash fun both games featured was damned entertaining and I can only hope a newly formed Interplay finishes the series (both games ended in cliffhangers).

Slightly more troubling is Atari’s current financial difficulties.  Atari, as far as I know, still holds the license for D&D games.  They’ve managed it fairly well, Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 were fun game but neither managed to eclipse the aforementioned Interplay titles.  I know I might catch some flak for this, but I almost hope EA gets the D&D license instead.  I know, I know but with their recent aquisition of Bioware and Obsidian (studios both tied to those original Interplay titles) means they have the talent, and the financial clout, to produce some top notch titles.  However, with the new ruleset (for pen and paper D&D) scheduled for release this summer I’m guessing we won’t hear any news on new D&D titles (discounting those already in production/active development) until some time in the fall.

Next up was a bit from RockPaperShotgun I saw this morning.  They mentioned a job posting by Blizzard that sparked specution on the development of Diablo 3.  With the semi-flop that was Hellgate a true sequel with the Diablo brand would be nice to see.  Having had a chance to beta Hellgate a bit I’m willing to admit that the gameplay was fun and similar to, though never quite as frantic as, Diablo.  The post casually speculates (a I seriously mean speculates) about a “World of Diablo” and I admit I felt a bit tingly at the thought of that.  I doubt it would happen, Blizzard hardly needs two fantasy MMOs, but still that would be a damned tempting prospect for me….and I don’t really like MMOs.

This isn’t to say that other areas of the PC RPG market are dry.  Bioware is as active as ever promising Mass Effect for PC this May, and additional titles in the series to be released on PC as well.  Even better, in a recent interview over at Eurogamer Bioware’s Matt Atwood mentions that the long developed Bioware original Dragon Age will be out before the fiscal year ends (i.e. before April 2009).  In other areas Bethesda is busy at work on Fallout 3, having enjoyed Oblivion I’m fairly confident they’ll turn out a sweet product.  Other than those titles the market for single-player RPGs on the PC looks rather slim, but maybe I’m missing a few.  I’ll suffer through this dry spell well enough, it isn’t like I don’t have games to play, I’m still working my way through Neverwinter Nights 2, just started Bioshock, and have yet to finish Crysis (and that doesn’t include my consoles) so I’m good to go.  I’m curious to see how whether the single player PC RPG will make any sort of comeback in an MMO saturated market; I for one certainly miss the sense of adventure, exploration, and epic story that those Interplay Infinity-engine titles engendered and hope for something similar down the line.

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