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Leviathyn remembers game studios on memorial day
On Memorial Day, those of us here at Leviathyn want to say thank you. Not just to our readers, but to the men and women who have given their lives in the defense of peace. Without these heroes we would not be able to play, or write about video games. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
In the spirit of remembering, why not take a look back and also reflect on the game companies that are no longer open, and what they have given us!
Midway games filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and is currently in the process of liquidating all of it’s assest. We can all look back with loving memories as Ms. Pac-Man, and Mortal Kombat. It’s not often you can say that a company paved the way for those who followed in the gaming industry, but Midway certainly did that. The Crusi’n series were among some of my favorite arcade racing games, as well as one of the most catchy start screen songs.
Both publisher and developer, 3D realms closed it’s doors in 2009 due to a lack of funding. Probably most famous on the development side for Duke Nukem, 3D Realms also published some big titles that I was not honestly aware of such as the first two Max Payne games, and Prey. On the day of closing the 3D Realms website went down and came back up several hours later with only the message “Goodbye. Thank you for being fans and for your support”. Just reading about it chokes me up a bit.
Also shutting down in 2009, Factor 5 is responsible for bringing to the world Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, as well as Pokemon Stadium. They are responsible for several other famous titles of course, but these two have a special meaning to me. And my parents if you consider how many hours I spent ignoring them while trying to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, or having epic pokemon tournaments with my friends.
Closing in 2009 (I swear I’m not making that up) Pandemic Studios was most famous for developing the Star Wars: Battlefront series as well as both Mercenaries games. I often dream about a third Battlefront game the same way I hope for a third Black and White game. But alas, at least one of these is never to be. The free roam contract based gameplay of Mercenaries was both exciting and immersive, while Battlefront might have been one of the best Co-op games ever created. If you haven’t seen it, they also have a pretty hilarious Office Space video that some nameless developers created on closing day.
I do not condone the illegal download of games, however if you have never played Bullfrog Productions Dungeons Keeper series or Populous then I recommend you find copies of the games and give them a shot, by any means necessary. Bullfrog Production was founded in 1987 by Les Edgar and Peter Molyneux. During it’s time it was responsible for several big hit real time strategy type games before finally being bought out by EA in 1995. Molyneux moved on to created Lion Head Studios while I moved Dungeon Keeper onto my top 10 list.
EA Visceral, Melbourne
One of the divisions of EA Visceral closed down in 2011. Responsible for Dante’s Inferno and Dead Space 2, EA Melbourne can always hold their heads high for delivering an outstanding sequel to an already critically acclaimed series. The plunge through the different levels of hell was also one of the best dungeon crawls I have seen in a game to date, and can be seen as a benchmark for other game series.
In 2008 Ensemble Studios announced that they would be closing their doors just after the production of Halo Wars. The Age of Empires series is the legacy that they leave behind to us. When people think about real time strategies, they think of Ensemble Studios. The Age of Empires series was ground breaking, and brought this genre to the forefront of PC gaming.
Much more recent, 38 Studios announced that it would be filing for bankruptcy in early 2012. It’s only title Kingdoms of Amular received glowing recommendations from critics and the community. I personally purchased it, full price, based off the advice from several friends. I can honestly say that I did not regret this decision. Though young, they have made their mark on the industry forever.
I wish that I could shout out to every game studio who has gone out of business since the beginning of this industry. Feel free to comment and give praise to your own favorite video game developer who sadly is no longer with us.