The Icewind Dale franchise contains two full retail released games and one retail released expansion. All of these titles are isometric party-based roleplaying games with a heavy emphasis on fantasy combat. Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, and Icewind Dale II all use the Infinity engine that was popularized by the Baldur's Gate franchise.
In the Baldur's Gate series, recruitable NPCs could be discovered throughout your adventure to join your party of 6 in order to complete your epic quest to discover the truth behind your bloodline. But in the Icewind Dale franchise, there are no recruitable NPCs, instead players handcraft their own party of up to 6 hardy adventurers and set off. The designers focused on combat rather than pure storytelling in the franchise. Each of the game's in the series plays out like one extended dungeon module. There is story and dialogue but these elements are on the periphery of importance as compared to carefully firing a fireball and making sure your cleric casts 'shield'.
The entire franchise takes place in the Dungeons and Dragons module known as the Forgotten Realms. Within the Forgotten Realms, the games focus on the Icewind Dale region. Icewind Dale is an icy and isolated region known for its small fishing villages and harsh weather. Its also a dangerous region, home to trolls and goblins that lurk above ground. But even worse, there are numerous subterranean realms with entrances nearby that lead to such horrors as the evil dark elves, the Drow.