Before he entered the games industry, Avellone had a profound interest in role playing games. While he was at college he wrote many short stories for RPGs, a talent which he would use in later years. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelors degree in English. After graduating, Chris worked on Dark Champions; an RPG that used the Hero System.
Interplay and Black Isle
In 1997 Chris moved to Orange County to work for Interplay. His early work included Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Descent to Undermountain and Fallout 2, in which he designed New Reno.
Avellone would find his greatest success with his next project: Planescape: Torment, for which he was the lead designer and writer of the game's estimated 800,000 words. When it was released in 1999, Torment was widely hailed as one of the greatest RPGs ever made and is considered a classic to this day.
Following the release of Torment, Avellone worked on numerous projects; Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale II, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and The Black Hound. While he was working on these games the financial situation at Interplay continually declined and his pre-production work on Fallout 3 (known internally as Van Buren) was constantly interrupted. Chris stayed on due to his love of making role playing games.
When Interplay canceled development of Baldur's Gate III (then known as The Dark Hound), Avellone wrote the Fallout Bible to ensure that Fallout 3 didn't receive the same treatment. The Fallout Bible outlined the timeline of the series, how certain factions were formed, answered fan's questions, etc. Nevertheless, Fallout 3 was canceled and the development team was laid off. Feargus Urquhart left the company in 2003 and Chris followed suit.
After he left Interplay, Chris, along with Feargus Urquhart, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan and Chris Jones formed Obsidian Entertainment. Their first game, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, was released in December 2004 on the original XBox and in February 2005 on the PC. They released Neverwinter Nights 2 in the fall of 2006.
In late 2007 Obsidian released an expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2 called Mask of the Betrayer. The reception for this game was very positive, with fans hailing it as a return to a more old-school style of RPG.
In 2010, Obsidian released Alpha Protocol, a highly-creative but poorly-executed game that was critically panned and sold poorly.