Flamebait Friday Debate: Which gaming studio do you wish was still active?

2 min read
95

LEMME-SHOW-YA-SOME-FFD

Over the years, we’ve seen the rise and fall of many gaming studios. We’ve seen Blizzard become a juggernaut that could release a rhythm-based cannibalism game and still walk away with several GOTY awards. We’ve seen Epic Games become a studio that was famous not only for games that starred impossibly-burly soldiers at war but the licensing and distribution of software to make games with similarly-massive muscleheads.

Valve went from critically-lauded developers to an industry giant that essentially runs the entire PC gaming market like some sort of multimedia Mafia. But amidst all those giants, we’ve seen plenty of studios shut down as well, unable to compete in a crowded marketplace where one failure spells doom for everyone.

There’s a massive list of them: 3D Realms, The Code Monkeys, Pandemic, Bizarre Creations, Factor 5, Black Rock, Clover and Sony Liverpool to name just a few. Studios which brought us games like Project Gotham Racing, Split/Second, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Okami and the criminally underrated The Saboteur.

The studio that I most of all however: Westwood. That was the home of Command and Conquer, a legendary real-time strategy series that peaked with the third Tiberium War game and a superb expansion called Kane’s Wrath. This was the studio that brought us Red Alert 2 and made real-time strategy a dominant player back in the day.

If you’ve never felt the rush of sending a dozen Mammoth Tanks from a GDI secret base so that you can crush NOD once and for all, you haven’t lived. It’s the studio that I genuinely do miss, something that I realised when EA offered Red Alert 2 for free on their online Origin service, a few months ago. It’s a franchise that EA has effectively killed off, as not even a free-to-play version of Command and Conquer based on the Generals games was deemed worthwhile.

Read  OGN is planning a new PUBG league with 100 player studio

So tell us? Which studio do you miss, who made games in a certain style that the industry today fails at emulating? If you need a reminder, here’s a handy list of closures since 2006.

Last Updated: February 26, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Umar

    Game Arts, well they’re still active, but not the way they used to be. Also, I want old Konami back

    • Hammersteyn

      I want the old EA back

      • Umar

        Old Bioware would be great too

        • Mossel

          Yup, DA:I bored me so quickly. If I need to close one more rift I think I might actually tear a whole into another dimension in real life. Fuck that game.

          • Umar

            LOL Yeah, look at the disparity between Inquisition and the original Dragon Age. It’s crazy.

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            DA: Origins bored me to death though :/
            I know I’m the only person who thinks this.
            And I haven’t played Inquisition yet. Might never.

          • Mossel

            Both bored me for various reasons. I think Inquisition would’ve been awesome if I didn’t play Witcher 3 before it. Its a good game if you look at combat and main quests. But the utterly mundane soul crushing side quests ruins it. I am more excited to go to work than to close a rift or find a shard!

          • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

            Nope, you’re not alone. I blindly bought the Collector’s Edition for what was meant to be the “spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate” and lost interest after about three days.

            Everyone raved about Inquisition so much that I broke my rule and bought it. Huge regret. It’s beautiful and uninteresting. Great voice acting, but just so bland and unfocused.

      • Jan Prins

        I want my old mother back.

      • chimera_85

        Agreed, when they still made NFS themselves it was the best racing game hands down.

  • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

    Damnit Darryn, why do you have to upset me like this on a Friday?!

    Without a doubt, the industry itself is missing Westwood and Bullfrog. Their influence on straight-forward gameplay that cleverly disguises complex strategy is what I really miss in gaming today.

    Red Alert 2: Yuri’s Revenge is Westwood’s brilliant swansong. What a brilliant combination of hilarity and tactics, and that soundtrack!

    • VampyreSquirrel

      I agree with this list.

  • HvR

    1. Westwood
    2. Lucasarts
    3. Bullfrog

    • Juan

      definitely, THQ as well

      • HvR

        I’m less miffed about THQ and Cavedog because most the content lives on more or less under the hands of the original creators.

      • Captain JJ the “saviour”

        THQ started taking a nosedive when Chris Taylor put his name on the front cover of games. Honestly, who does that?

        • HvR

          I think it was the only way connect the Supreme Commander series to TA without having the rights.

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            If you knew TA you’d immediately recognise it in Supreme Commander. I think.
            But people are dumb, I suppose.

          • HvR

            Marketing people do not subscribe to common sense …

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            Amen to that.
            I want to Hulk-smash our marketing guy every time he comes around to my office.

          • HvR

            I like not being in the same country/time zone/hemisphere as our marketing guys.

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            LOL
            We’ve actually had our marketing department win a departmental competition….which was judged solely by them.
            Somehow that was okay.

  • Adeline Software, Time Commando and Little Big Adventure 1&2 almost defined their own categories and were seminal in my love of games. Along with Infogrames they presented the golden age of French game design. Such a pity they never got to work on more titles.

  • Bullfrog – Because Theme Hospital !

    • VampyreSquirrel

      I have it… original and Origin versions 😛

      Also, it happened again… 15 treasure goblins in a single area in the neph rift on T10… killed 4 of them. I mean WHO can kill 15 treasure goblins at once by themselves on T10?

      • Same :P. My physical copy stands proudly in my display case

        Hahahaha why do I keep missing these things

        • VampyreSquirrel

          No idea man… seems to happen between 6:30 and 7am in the morning 😛

          • Those are not times for us mortals to be awake!

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Random wake up times… not my fault.

      • HouwGobz

        Flashfire wizard dude, you start exploding and just rip through them all. It’s glorious.

    • Pariah

      I was thinking about this. I’d say no. Because the MolyNOPE would still be in charge of that shit and you know how that turned out. Bullfrog closed while they were ahead, and they will always be remembered with much joy and fond memories.

      Its better this way.

    • Captain JJ the “saviour”

      Because Total Annihilation,
      Wait no. That’s something else…wait,
      Cavedog!
      Oops :/

      • Captain JJ the “saviour”

        *edited
        🙂

      • HvR

        Wargaming.net bought TA rights right about the time Chris Taylor started working for them ….

        • Captain JJ the “saviour”

          I used to think Chris Taylor knew what he was doing.
          Then he made Supreme Commander 2.

          • HvR

            Probably tried to widen the audience, to be honest took me a while to get the hang of SupCom1 .

            But people are allowed to make one mistake and then learn from it otherwise they was weather the inter hate storm that will be unleashed.

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            Yea, but they tried the fast-paced RTS thing with C&C too and that completely ruined it.

            I agree. I missed the small things from TA in SupCom1. Modible radar jammers and stuff like that.
            And the awesome Big Berthas, of course.

  • Krabby Paddy

    Just about every studio EA has bought and shut down.

  • Mossel

    Irrational Games!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I want old Bioware back…

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      Aye

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Looking Glass – the home of System Shock, Thief and Terra Nova.

  • Is Maxis still around?

    • Mossel

      I think whoever developed Cities:Skylines ruined Maxis. They have no more purpose.

      • Cities is such an awesome game

        • Mossel

          I really want to buy it! But designing roads for a living and then going home to design roads virtually makes me question what I am doing with my life.

          • I can see the conundrum :p

      • And I keep reading your comments in Rick’s voice xD

        • Mossel

          hahaha! Rick & Morty *burrp!* is life!

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      If they are, it’s only by name. The team is long gone.

      • Hammersteyn

        Thanks again EA!

  • Hammersteyn

    Shiny Entertainment

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      Was just about to say that! 🙂

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      Man I’d Dance Kaalgat for that

  • Pieter Kruger

    None to be honest, it’s nice to get nostalgic every now and again but we are really spoiled for choice as it is and there are a lot of excellent developers out there today! ????????????

    • Hammersteyn

      I’d say the same thing if I only started gaming 5 years ago.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Don’t you mean One year ago? 😀

        • Hammersteyn

          LOL!

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          Oh snap

      • Pieter Kruger

        Was very nice, but I really don’t miss it……

        • Hammersteyn

          LOL

        • Mighty Meh

          I see sopwith and I upvote, I am a simple man.

  • Viking Of Science

    Sometimes, I Look at my Game Shelf, See The Command and Conquer Boxes, and shed a tear.

  • Gustav Minnie

    The old Sierra.

    Larry, Space/Police Quest series, Jones In The Fast Lane, Gabriel Knight, Willy Beamish, Rise Of The Dragon, Thexder and I can go on and on….

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      ^This

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      Oh hell yes!

    • HouwGobz

      I would give someone’s first born for an up to date and expanded Jones. If anyone wants to sacrifice their child to this worthy cause, please come forward.

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    Westwood, agreed

  • Vernon Jonker

    EA Black Box so we can get a proper skating game again sigh

    • Aaron Lucas

      Don’t you mean Neversoft? Since they kinda started that whole thing?

      • Vernon Jonker

        no iam talking about the people that made skate the more realistic skate game.
        they got closed down aswell

  • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

    Black Isle
    Jane’s
    (Real) id Software
    Blizzard North
    Psygnosis

    • Pariah

      Black Isle…

      This man knows what’s up.

  • Captain JJ the “saviour”

    BULLFROG!

    • Jan Prins

      Sadly a label cannot save ole Pete and his crappy Fables.

  • Captain JJ the “saviour”

    Cavedog.
    I always confuse Cavedog and Bullfrog. :/

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Explains why you constantly attack Rince with a bucket of water – you confuse rinse this with RinceThis.

  • oVg

    Clover studios. RIP gamecube

    • oVg

      Okami

      • oVg

        Viewtifull Joe

        • oVg

          Killer 7

          • oVg

            Honorable mention Pandemic Studios. Just as EA started their redeem code bulshit

  • The Sten

    Troika games without a doubt.

    I will never see the sequel to Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magik Obscura because they broke up. I speak of this game as though it is a sibling of mine who died very young.

  • Jan Prins

    Lobotomy. They did an FPS called Exhumed back in the Sega Saturn days.

    They also did the conversion of Duke Nukem 3D to Saturn at the tail-end of that consoles days, and though I never got to play it, I read that it was one of the best ports ever done in those days.

  • Ghost In The Rift

    Westwood, that’s it.

  • HouwGobz

    3DO – I want a heroes of might and magic that lives up to HOMM3 instead of this trash ubisoft throws at me.
    And Brøderbund cos c’mon Carmen Sandiego son.

  • Dane

    SIERRA!

  • chimera_85

    Westwood for sure :’-(

  • Vulcha

    Anybody remember Origin? Like, the original studio?

  • ElimiNathan

    Westwood Studios

  • Darren Peach

    Shed a tear………. or seven. Nostalgia aside, I miss the era of new experiences more than individual studios. We are in a era of carefully calculated risk resulting in franchise fatigue. But, If you think about it, most of the legendary developers are still around. Who knows where it’s all going but I can assure you that each generation will have this same debate about their most memorable experinces and the developers who created them. THQ would be my choice. Company of Heroes stands tall as arguably the greatest game ever made.

  • Aaron Lucas

    I know they’re technically still active as Square Enix, but I wish Squaresoft still existed as it’s own company. We might be getting decent FF’s if that were the case. Otherwise Black Isle, and FASA Interactive.

  • Angel Studios, because I want the return of the game I played and enjoyed the most: Midtown Madness 2. There’s nothing like that game for me.

Check Also

OGN is planning a new PUBG league with 100 player studio

A 100 player studio might solve a few doubts regarding PUBG's future in esports. The South…