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

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

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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.

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

95 Comments

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

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      February 26, 2016 at 10:38

      I want the old EA back

      Reply

      • Umar

        February 26, 2016 at 10:39

        Old Bioware would be great too

        Reply

        • Mossel

          February 26, 2016 at 10:43

          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.

          Reply

          • Umar

            February 26, 2016 at 11:30

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

          • Captain JJ the "saviour"

            February 26, 2016 at 11:33

            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

            February 26, 2016 at 11:35

            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)

            February 26, 2016 at 11:45

            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

        February 26, 2016 at 10:42

        I want my old mother back.

        Reply

      • chimera_85

        February 26, 2016 at 12:42

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

        Reply

  2. Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

    February 26, 2016 at 10:34

    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!

    Reply

    • VampyreSquirrel

      February 26, 2016 at 10:40

      I agree with this list.

      Reply

  3. HvR

    February 26, 2016 at 10:38

    1. Westwood
    2. Lucasarts
    3. Bullfrog

    Reply

    • Juan

      February 26, 2016 at 11:13

      definitely, THQ as well

      Reply

      • HvR

        February 26, 2016 at 11:29

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

        Reply

      • Captain JJ the "saviour"

        February 26, 2016 at 11:32

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

        Reply

        • HvR

          February 26, 2016 at 11:35

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

          Reply

          • Captain JJ the "saviour"

            February 26, 2016 at 11:36

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

          • HvR

            February 26, 2016 at 11:37

            Marketing people do not subscribe to common sense …

          • Captain JJ the "saviour"

            February 26, 2016 at 11:43

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

          • HvR

            February 26, 2016 at 11:44

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

          • Captain JJ the "saviour"

            February 26, 2016 at 11:46

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

  4. Aldeebob

    February 26, 2016 at 10:38

    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.

    Reply

  5. Ottokie

    February 26, 2016 at 10:40

    Bullfrog – Because Theme Hospital !

    Reply

    • VampyreSquirrel

      February 26, 2016 at 10:42

      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?

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        February 26, 2016 at 10:44

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

        Hahahaha why do I keep missing these things

        Reply

        • VampyreSquirrel

          February 26, 2016 at 10:48

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

          Reply

          • Ottokie

            February 26, 2016 at 10:48

            Those are not times for us mortals to be awake!

          • VampyreSquirrel

            February 26, 2016 at 10:51

            Random wake up times… not my fault.

      • HouwGobz

        February 26, 2016 at 12:08

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

        Reply

    • Pariah

      February 26, 2016 at 10:50

      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.

      Reply

    • Captain JJ the "saviour"

      February 26, 2016 at 11:06

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

      Reply

      • Captain JJ the "saviour"

        February 26, 2016 at 11:08

        *edited
        🙂

        Reply

      • HvR

        February 26, 2016 at 11:32

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

        Reply

        • Captain JJ the "saviour"

          February 26, 2016 at 11:35

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

          Reply

          • HvR

            February 26, 2016 at 11:43

            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"

            February 26, 2016 at 11:45

            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.

  6. Krabby Paddy

    February 26, 2016 at 10:41

    Just about every studio EA has bought and shut down.

    Reply

  7. Mossel

    February 26, 2016 at 10:41

    Irrational Games!

    Reply

  8. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    February 26, 2016 at 10:42

    I want old Bioware back…

    Reply

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      February 26, 2016 at 10:59

      Aye

      Reply

  9. Alien Emperor Trevor

    February 26, 2016 at 10:42

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

    Reply

  10. Ottokie

    February 26, 2016 at 10:43

    Is Maxis still around?

    Reply

    • Mossel

      February 26, 2016 at 10:44

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

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        February 26, 2016 at 10:45

        Cities is such an awesome game

        Reply

        • Mossel

          February 26, 2016 at 10:46

          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.

          Reply

          • Ottokie

            February 26, 2016 at 10:47

            I can see the conundrum :p

      • Ottokie

        February 26, 2016 at 10:46

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

        Reply

        • Mossel

          February 26, 2016 at 10:47

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

          Reply

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      February 26, 2016 at 10:45

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

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        February 26, 2016 at 10:46

        Thanks again EA!

        Reply

  11. Hammersteyn

    February 26, 2016 at 10:45

    Shiny Entertainment

    Reply

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      February 26, 2016 at 10:47

      Was just about to say that! 🙂

      Reply

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      February 26, 2016 at 10:59

      Man I’d Dance Kaalgat for that

      Reply

  12. Pieter Kruger

    February 26, 2016 at 10:51

    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! ????????????

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      February 26, 2016 at 10:55

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

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        February 26, 2016 at 10:57

        Don’t you mean One year ago? 😀

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          February 26, 2016 at 10:57

          LOL!

          Reply

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          February 26, 2016 at 10:59

          Oh snap

          Reply

      • Pieter Kruger

        February 26, 2016 at 11:05

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

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          February 26, 2016 at 11:10

          LOL

          Reply

        • Mighty Meh

          February 26, 2016 at 11:37

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

          Reply

  13. Viking Of Science

    February 26, 2016 at 10:56

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

    Reply

  14. Gustav Minnie

    February 26, 2016 at 10:58

    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….

    Reply

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      February 26, 2016 at 10:58

      ^This

      Reply

    • Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

      February 26, 2016 at 11:11

      Oh hell yes!

      Reply

    • HouwGobz

      February 26, 2016 at 12:07

      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.

      Reply

  15. Commander Admiral Chief

    February 26, 2016 at 10:58

    Westwood, agreed

    Reply

  16. Vernon Jonker

    February 26, 2016 at 10:58

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

    Reply

    • Aaron Lucas

      February 26, 2016 at 15:16

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

      Reply

      • Vernon Jonker

        February 26, 2016 at 15:22

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

        Reply

  17. Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

    February 26, 2016 at 11:05

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

    Reply

    • Pariah

      February 26, 2016 at 11:25

      Black Isle…

      This man knows what’s up.

      Reply

  18. Captain JJ the "saviour"

    February 26, 2016 at 11:05

    BULLFROG!

    Reply

    • Jan Prins

      February 26, 2016 at 11:08

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

      Reply

  19. Captain JJ the "saviour"

    February 26, 2016 at 11:07

    Cavedog.
    I always confuse Cavedog and Bullfrog. :/

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      February 26, 2016 at 11:12

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

      Reply

  20. oVg

    February 26, 2016 at 11:15

    Clover studios. RIP gamecube

    Reply

    • oVg

      February 26, 2016 at 11:18

      Okami

      Reply

      • oVg

        February 26, 2016 at 11:19

        Viewtifull Joe

        Reply

        • oVg

          February 26, 2016 at 11:19

          Killer 7

          Reply

          • oVg

            February 26, 2016 at 11:27

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

  21. The Sten

    February 26, 2016 at 11:15

    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.

    Reply

  22. Jan Prins

    February 26, 2016 at 11:18

    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.

    Reply

  23. Ghost In The Rift

    February 26, 2016 at 11:20

    Westwood, that’s it.

    Reply

  24. HouwGobz

    February 26, 2016 at 12:06

    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.

    Reply

  25. Dane

    February 26, 2016 at 12:40

    SIERRA!

    Reply

  26. chimera_85

    February 26, 2016 at 12:42

    Westwood for sure :’-(

    Reply

  27. Vulcha

    February 26, 2016 at 12:45

    Anybody remember Origin? Like, the original studio?

    Reply

  28. ElimiNathan

    February 26, 2016 at 12:56

    Westwood Studios

    Reply

  29. Darren Peach

    February 26, 2016 at 14:52

    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.

    Reply

  30. Aaron Lucas

    February 26, 2016 at 15:15

    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.

    Reply

  31. InF3rN0

    February 29, 2016 at 23:53

    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.

    Reply

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