"Icewind Dale is a computer role-playing game (CRPG) series developed by Black Isle Studios. It is set in the Forgotten Realms Icewind Dale region, but takes place decades before the events described in R. A. Salvatore's books which made the area a well-known part of Faerûn.
The games utilize Bioware's famous Infinity Engine. The Infinity Engine offers a pre-rendered isometric worldview, with sprite-based characters. This engine was also used to power the Baldur's Gate series and Planescape: Torment.
As with all games developed on the Infinity Engine, the Icewind Dale series is based on a real-time modification of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) ruleset. The player begins each of the games by generating a party of up to six characters, but is unable to recruit NPCs (as was possible in other games utilizing the Infinity Engine). Also, as the entire party is generated by the player, the player-characters do not have preset personalities, and are all equally capable of assuming the role of "protagonist" with minor differences at most.
In 2000, Icewind Dale was released to mostly positive reviews, although the game drew some criticism for its linearity and lack of character development when it came to the player's party. The game features far more hack-and-slash than Baldur's Gate, and has often been compared to the Diablo series of games for its combat-heavy focus."
Source: Wikipedia, "Icewind_Dale_(series)", available under the CC-BY-SA License.