By: José Celorio (@iamjosecelorio)
The video game industry has seen the birth of a large number of developers And although there are some with several decades on the market, others have not been with the same fate, but they were able to leave a legacy on multiple platforms that gamers will hardly forget. Over the years, the focus of business strategies has been aimed at generating economic benefits, no matter what studies disappear that revolutionized entertainment. In this installment we will travel back in time to recap some of the extinct firms that we have missed on more than one occasion.
He began his commercial career developing entertainment parks, but in the seventies he decided to enter the world of video games. He was a publisher who served as a benchmark in the first generations of consoles and left in his legacy games that have marked a place in history such as: Space invaders, Defend, Gauntlet, Rampage, Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam. During the first decade of 2009, Midway began to suffer from financial liquidity problems and ended up declaring bankruptcy. Fortunately for consumers, the licenses of the most iconic franchises were in the hands of other companies that have given us great experiences, such as the latest installments of Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat 11.
Hudson (1973 – 2011)
Hearing this name, the games of Bomberman or Adventure Island. Hudson He was also responsible for creating the first eight installments of Mario Party. Despite having a robust product catalog, such a company began to experience severe financial difficulties and decided to start trading on the stock exchange to obtain liquidity. Konami it became the main shareholder until it took full control. To the bad luck of the fans, Konami He had already reformulated his commercial strategy (not only focused on video games) and decided to liquidate the subsidiary of Hudson nine years ago.
LucasArts (1982 – 2012)
The studio founded by George Lucas released multiple sets of Indiana Jones and Star wars, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the most expensive developments in history with a cost that amounted to $ 200 million. As time went by, the ideas were running out in the creative team and the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012, ended up accelerating its closure. In the inkwell, productions remained that were very close to being completed, such as Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313.
Acclaim Entertainment (1987 – 2004)
The video game industry would be inconceivable without the presence of this company, since it published a large number of titles such as Burnout, Turok and Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX, in addition to a wide variety of sports games. Despite his long history, he was unable to adapt to market trends and the new requirements that consumers demanded, causing a drastic drop in sales, which forced the board of directors to make the decision to declare bankruptcy in 2004.
Core Design (1988 – 2006)
It’s hard to forget the first time we played tomb Raider on PlayStation or Sega Saturn, which in a short time became a benchmark for 32-bit. Core Design He was also in charge of titles of this franchise for Game Boy Advance, in addition to the saga. Fighting Force. The attempt to exploit to the maximum the adventures of Lara Croft, ended up giving decreasing results, since the launch of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness It was very badly received by the press and ended with the good reputation that once characterized this study, being acquired by Rebellion in 2006.
Bizarre Creations (1988 – 2011)
This studio was adept at creating arcade racing games like Project Gotham Racing, representing a banner in the Xbox and Xbox 360 catalog. Likewise, it achieved notable recognition with the shooter Geometry Wars which in a few months became one of the best-selling products of the Xbox Live Arcade service. By 2007, Activision I buy Bizarre Creations and the commercial results were not as expected, greatly influencing the poor reception and poor sales it had Blur, a great title for frenetic driving. Activision put this developer up for sale at the end of 2010 but having not found a good bidder, he decided to permanently close its doors.
THQ (1989 – 2012)
His name was the acronym for Toy HeadQuarters and it had great licenses in its catalog like franchises of Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar and Nickelodeon. The saga Darksiders and wrestling games like WWF Smackdown and WWE WrestlemaniaThey gave endless hours of fun to consumers who buy each annual delivery. Over time, the popularity of the products of THQ it faded and ended up declaring bankruptcy for a liability of $ 50 million. In 2014 Nordic Interactive acquired some of the most profitable intellectual property and the birth of Nordic Games THQ.
Silicon Knights (1992 – 2014)
The Canadian developer rose to fame with titles like Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for PlayStation and Nintendo GameCube, respectively. He was also in charge of remaking Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes. By 2008, they launched Too Human in partnership with Microsoft, but the game was not well received by critics and sales turned out to be disappointing. The extinction of Silicon Knights arose when he lost a lawsuit against Epic where the first one argued that the Unreal Engine 3 did not have all the promised functionalities. The court found that Silicon Knights He had used that technology tool without permission and fined him close to $ 5 million.
Lionhead Studios (1996 – 2006)
The company founded by Peter Molyneux, was in charge of developing the series of fable exclusively for Xbox and Xbox 360. In 2006, Microsoft acquired Lionhead and internal conflicts began between the redmond tech giant and Molyneux due to pressures to expedite the launch of Fable III. This situation led to the departure of the aforementioned creative leader and subsequently such a study was closed. The gamers are still waiting for a possible new installment for Xbox Series X, which would be in charge of a subsidiary of Xbox Game Studios.
Free Radical Design (1998 – 2014)
The English firm is one of the most yearned for by video gamers, as it offered the great series of Timesplitters and developed more than 90 percent a third installment of Star Wars Battlefront, who never saw the light by decision of LucasArts. Problems for Free Radical persisted when they released Haze, an exclusive shooter for PlayStation 3 that was not well received by the market. Given this, the company filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Crytek in 2009, but unfortunately the decision was made to dissolve it five years later.
There is no doubt that the video game industry has many pages to write that they will be full of decisions (right and wrong) but it is not possible to put aside the companies that were a benchmark for forging the digital entertainment that we enjoy today. The future is indebted to many gamers who wish to see titles that were left in limbo due to the closure of the studies mentioned in this column.
*** In addition to my weekly participation in Atomix, I invite you to tune in every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m., a new episode of JC Gaming on Instagram Live (@iamjosecelorio), to talk about anecdotes from the gamer community, industry news, and of course show some games ***