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The company was founded as Interplay Productions, Inc. in Southern California in 1983 with Brian Fargo as president and three programmers, Jay Patel, Troy Worrell and Bill Heineman. Its original staff came from former employees of a small video game developer called Boone Corporation. Interplay made a name for itself as a quality computer game developer with the role-playing games The Bard's Tale and Wasteland, which were published by Electronic Arts.
Interplay started publishing its own games, starting with Neuromancer and Battle Chess, in 1988, and then moved on to publish and distribute games from other companies, while continuing internal game development. In 1993, Interplay published the hit game Descent, developed by startup Parallax Software.
The company published several notable Star Trek games, including Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. These games had later CD-ROM editions released with the original Star Trek cast providing voices. Interplay also published the significant Starfleet Academy and Klingon Academy games, and Starfleet Command series, beginning with Star Trek: Starfleet Command. Another game, Star Trek: Secret Of Vulcan Fury, was in development in the late 1990s, with a script written by Star Trek writer Dorothy Fontana; however this title was never completed.
In 1997, Interplay developed and released Fallout, a successful and critically-acclaimed role-playing game set in a retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic setting. Black Isle Studios, an in house developer, followed with the sequel, Fallout 2. The most successful subsequent Interplay franchise was probably Baldur's Gate, a Dungeons & Dragons game that was developed by Bioware and spawned a successful sequel and several expansion packs. Over the years, Interplay's most successful titles were PC games. The company published a few notable console games, such as ClayFighter, Rock 'N Roll Racing, The Lost Vikings, and Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, but Interplay was never quite able to establish a long-lasting console franchise.
Another popular franchise was the FreeSpace series.