User:TerokNor

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My interest is mostly in Western developers. While they are ususally credited (usually without pseudonyms), it might not always be clear which studio or company they worked for, especially if they work for a larger publisher that has several studios or publishes both in-house and external projects.

Here is a (very much incomplete) list of companies of interest:

Activision

Their early days as the first third-party VCS developer are relatively well-known. In-house development apparently continued for some time after the crash but might have stopped in the late 80s/early 90s. When they acquired Infocom, some developers might have moved to the west coast. In the mid-to-late 90s, there was an in-house studio in Santa Monica, probably responsible for MechWarrior 2, Heavy Gear, Interstate 76, Star Trek: Armada, Call to Power etc. In the UK in the 80s, there was an in-house group called Software Studios, which might have done in-house development or just coordinated external development.

Amaze Entertainment

Originally KnowWonder, changed name in 1999. Acquired Realtime Associates Seattle Division in 1999, which became Griptonite, and created Adrenium as a new studio. The three studios apparently co-existed for some time, but games were released under the various brands over the years, no matter where they were developed.

Bethesda

The main location in Maryland is well-known, but the company acquired Flashpoint Productions in Washington state in 1995 and kept it as a west coast development subsidiary. What was developed there and how long the location lasted is unclear. [1] [2]

Climax

Had various studios all over England - Portsmouth/Fareham, London, Brighton, Notthingham, and one in Los Angeles/Santa Monica. All were known under various names and brands over the years.

Codemasters

HQ based in Warwickshire (Leamington Spa or Southam). Had additional studios in Guildford, Cheshire (formerly Evolution Studios), Birmingham (formerly Sega Racing Studio), Oakhurst, California (formerly Sierra/Yosemite Entertainment) as well as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Pune, India.

Coktel Vision

Had development locations in Paris and Bordeaux. Might also have published external projects in the early days.

Dementia

A development team headed by Kevin Bulmer, based in or near Birmingham. Bulmer was also involved with Dimension Creative Designs and Synthetic Dimensions, which might all have been the same entity under different names.

Domark

Had an in-house development team called The Kremlin. Continued development into the mid-90s after acquision by Eidos, but not for long.

Electronic Arts

US in-house development didn't start until ca. 1987. Became Redwood Shores on EA's move to Redwood, later Visceral Games. Mutant Productions (and possibly Hitmen, though that might have been Canada) were probably internal teams. In the UK, in-house development (Chertsey?) began in the mid-90s and later merged with Bullfrog (Guildford) to become a single UK studio, later known as EA Bright Light, shut down in 2011. The short-lived EA Manchester developed Privateer 2, many of its developers later founded Warthog. Another UK studio was EA Northwest in Warrington, responsible for FIFA 2003 on PS1. In 2003, EA acquired Studio 33 and moved it from Liverpool to Warrington [3]. It was shut down in 2006 [4]. A German in-house studio developed football managers in the early 2000s.

Overview of EA's UK studio at guildford.games
EA Chertsey facility to close

Gremlin

Based in Sheffield. Published both in-house and external projects. Had a Derby development location (whose developers later formed Core Design) as well as development operations in Ireland and Lincoln. There was also a Birmingham team that apparently operated out of the U.S. Gold offices. Acquired by Infogrames in 1999/2000 with the Sheffield studio becoming Infogrames Sheffield House.

Impressions

Originally a publisher based in the UK, with their games developed by freelancers like Ed Grabowski and Simon Bradbury (whose team might have been called Golden Sector). Opened a US office in 1992 which eventually formed an in-house development group: artists like Chris Beatrice, Heidi Mann, Dennis Rose, Andrea Muzeroll, Scot Forbes, Chin‑Mei Yu, Mike Malone, Darrin Horbal, programmers like Dean Lawson, Thanh Pham, Chris Gurski, Chris Plakyda, Mike Gingerich, Tony Hosier, designers like Jeffrey Fiske, Gregor Koomey, Steven Serafino, Doug Gonya. I can't tell if there was ever actual in-house development in the UK, it might all have been freelance. After the company's demise, most of the former US developers founded Tilted Mill, some UK (like Bradbury, Andrew Prime) and US (like Eric Ouellette, Horbal) developers founded Firefly Studios.

Infogrames

Based in Lyon. Published internal and external projects. Later acquired a Paris studio from Psygnosis, Ocean and Gremlin in the UK and Beam Software/Melbourne House in Australia.

Krome

Originally based in Brisbane, with a second studio in Adelaide. Acquired Beam Software/Melbourne House which became Krome Studios Melbourne.

Looking Glass

The games developed at the main office in Cambridge, MA, are well-known and acclaimed, but the company also had offices in Redmond and Austin. The Austin office, led by Warren Spector, did not last long and only did concept and/or prototype work before it was shut down and a group of developers moved to create Ion Storm's Austin studio. The Redmond studio might have arisen from LG's new owner Intermetrics. They were most likely responsible for console development, including the N64 games the company released.

MicroProse

Headquarters based in Hunt Valley. For a few years, in-house development was unter the "MPS Labs" label. Merged with Spectrum HoloByte (then in Alameda) in 1993/1994. Spectrum changed its name to MicroProse, Inc. in 1997 and all games were released under the MicroProse brand, no matter whether developed in Alameda or Hunt Valley. Company later acquired by Hasbro, then Atari, and the MicroProse label vanished. Last Hunt Valley project was D&D Heroes (Xbox), last Alameda project was ST:TNG Birth of the Federation. Acquisitions made: Paragon Software, Shadowmasters, SimTex, Vektor Grafix (UK). Other UK studios existed, one in Manchester (closed 1993), at least one in Chipping Sodbury (UK HQ) and/or Stroud. UK studio(s) developed Amiga and ST ports of US games as well as originals like X-COM: Terror from the Deep, Tinhead, Impossible Mission 2025.

Midway

HQ based in Chicago, continues to exist as NetherRealm Studios. Midway Home Entertainment was based in San Diego and used to be Leland Interactive/Cinematronics. San Diego was later acquired by THQ. Midway Games West was the former Atari Games, which used to be the arcade division of the original Atari.

The Ultimate (So Far) History of Cinematronics/Vectorbeam

Mindscape

Appears to have had internal development in the UK in the 90s - Outlander, Out to Lunch, Cyberspeed, Warhammer. Many developers seem to have gone straight on to EA. Did EA maybe acquire Mindscape's UK operations outright? US development also existed - Chessmaster games, Mario educational titles, Wing Commander SNES, Starwinder, Steel Harbinger. Going by shared credits, the US operation was the continuation of The Software Toolworks' in-house development after their acquisition of Mindscape in 1990.

Ocean

Based in Manchester. Had an in-house team from at least 1984 on. Published internal and external projects. Had development subsidiaries in the US and France. Manchester in-house team was called Tribe in the mid-90s. Acquired by Infogrames in 1996. Last project might have been Silver (1999).

Perfect Entertainment

Created by a merger of Teeny Weeny Games and Perfect 10 Productions - development might have continued as two distinct studios. Australian studio Tantalus also was related to Perfect and might have been an in-house studio at some point (but certainly outlived Perfect).

Probe Software

Probe's name was ubiquitous in the 80s and 90s, appearing on loads of titles, but especially in the early days all work was done by freelancers contracted for single projects. An in-house team wasn't created until the late 80s.

Amstrad Computer User No. 45, p. 24
Retro Gamer: The Making of Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper

Psygnosis

HQ based in Liverpool. Published both internal and external projects. After they were acquired by Sony in 1993, they expanded with studios in London, Stroud, Chester, Paris and Leeds, and Manchester [5]. Most were shut down, Paris was sold to Infogrames (might have become Infogrames Paris House), London was merged into Sony's London Studio and Liverpool was the last to shut down in 2012.

Rage

Originally based in Liverpool, with a second studio in Newcastle. Acquired Digital Image Design (Rage Warrington), Wayward Design (Rage Bristol), RGB Tree (Rage Leeds) and two studios in Scotland. Further locations in Birmingham and Sheffield. According to this article they had ten studios in 2000, so that's one additional one missing.

Rage Liverpool
Striker 95 [6]
Revolution X (Saturn) (package credits Software Creations, not Rage) [7]
Doom (Saturn) [8]
Daklight Conflict (Saturn) [9]
Incoming/Incoming: The Final Conflict [10]
Expendable/Millennium Soldier: Expendable (Dreamcast port) [11]
Wild Wild Racing [12]
Rolling (incomplete at time of Rage's closure, finished by Indy Games; GameCube version unreleased) [13]
Rage Newcastle
Revolution X (Mega Drive) [14]
Under Pressure (unreleased) [15]
Expendable/Millennium Soldier: Expendable (PC, PS) [16]
NYPD: Enforcer (unreleased) [17]
Rocky (directly named in credits)

Rainbow Arts

Major German publisher of the 1980s, which had at least some internal development. Evolved into Softgold, later Funsoft, then THQ. It's unclear when internal development stopped.

Rebellion

Originally based in Oxford. Acquired lots of other UK developers, operating as satellites: Core Design (Derby), TickTock (Yorkshire), Radiant Worlds (Warwick), Strangelite (Liverpool).

Sierra

Mostly based in Oakhurst. HQ moved to the Seattle area (Bellevue) in 1993; development remained at Oakhurst at first, but was done in both locations later. The Oakhurst studio was later renamed to Yosemite Entertainment and then shut down in 1999 (last released project: Quest for Glory V; projects in progress at the time of closure: Babylon 5: Into the Fire, Middle-earth Online, Navy SEALs). Sierra had also acquired Bright Star Technology in the Seattle area ca. 1992. The 1993 move might have been a merger or Bright Star might have continued as its own entity. Development in Bellevue continued until Summer 2004, when the Bellevue office was shut down [18]. The last released games were Hoyle Casino titles, an unreleased title was "Jonny Drama: Beatnik Secret Agent".

Whatever happened to Middle-Earth Online, Joe Ludwig’s blog
Jason Piel's LinkedIn
Rabih AbouJaoudé's LinkedIn
On May 25, 1993, The Seattle Times reports on computer-game company Sierra On-Line's upcoming move from California to Bellevue.

Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI)

Based in Mountain View. Published both in-house and externally-developed games. Key in-house developers included Keith Brors [19], Chuck Kroegel [20] and Russell Brown [21]. SSI's internal teams also supported external developers. After various acquisitions (Learning Company, Mindscape, Mattel) team members were integrated into the larger corporation and might have contributed to other projects not sporting the SSI logo. Last SSI game proper was probably Panzer General III: Scorched Earth (2000), though the SSI brand was used until at least 2002.

1985 article in Antic

Sony

US in-house development was first called Sony Interactive Studios America, later 989 Studios, probably based in Foster City. Might have originally been a US office of Psygnosis. Then there was Red Zone, a studio founded by former SISA employees, but based in San Diego, which was later bought by Sony. SolWorks in Carlsbad was also an acquisition. If any of these California studios somehow relate to the Santa Monica studio of God of War fame is unclear. In the UK, there was Team Soho in London, later merged with Psygnosis London/Sony Camden to become London Studio. There was also a short-lived studio in Manchester that was closed before releasing any games.

Sumo Digital

Has studios in Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Leamington Spa (Sumo and Lab42), Warrington, Brighton (The Chinese Room), Leeds (Red Kite Games) and one in Pune, India.

Totally Games

Arose from Lawrence Holland's team at Lucasfilm/LucasArts. Originally Peregrine Software, incorporated in November 1993 (CA company entity C1877428). While Holland was always freelance, many of his team were apparently Lucas employees since they not only worked on Holland's flight sims, but also the SCUMM adventure games. When and how they moved to the new company is unclear.

Ubisoft

Began as a distributor/publisher, but also had in-house development, in such locations in Brittany as the Château de la Grée de Callac (though the developers there might have just been freelance) and later in Carentoir. Starting from the mid- or late 90s there was development in Paris - if that is related to any of the earlier French studios is unclear. How the entity Ludimedia relates is also unclear.

U.S. Gold

Based in Birmingham. One of the largest UK publishers in the 80s. Had some in-house development (like the Gauntlet ports and some AD&D games), but some of the team working out of their offices actually were part of Gremlin. Established Silicon Dreams as a new internal studio in 1994.

Virgin

Had UK in-house development team "Gang of Five" in the 80s, and a studio in London in the 90s, which might not necessarily be the same entity. Had a US studio in California from ca. 1991/1992 on. This probably became Burst and then Westwood Pacific, later EA Pacific.