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Default Top 5 Studios that are No Longer With Us @ The Armchair Empire

June 21st, 2009, 07:28
The Armchair Empire has a short feature called The Top 5 Studios that are No Longer with Us. Black Isle and Looking Glass both find positions:
Of all the developers to focus on RPGs over the years, few have reached the level of quality that Black Isle did in terms of narrative. Having been responsible for the first two Fallout games, the Icewind Dale series, and what some consider to be THE best example of storytelling in an RPG, Planescape: Torment, Black Isle has a very impressive list of games under its belt.

All three series are considered to be top ten material for the all-time best PC RPGs, and arguably the top 10 best RPGs overall. It’s not only impressive that one studio made all of these series, but also that they put them out in a surprisingly short time what with the company existing for only about seven years.
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June 21st, 2009, 07:28
Compile and Clover shouldn't be on that list since there are far better developers that should be on that list then them. Better examples would be Origin, Westwood, New World Computing, Sir-Tech, and Sierra.
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June 21st, 2009, 08:26
Troika (R.I.P.) is missing

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June 21st, 2009, 09:56
Troika ?

<3 Vampire: The Masquerade (especially Bloodlines)
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June 21st, 2009, 10:12
Both Clover and Black Isle are still with us, as Platinum and Obsidian. Different name, same people.
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June 21st, 2009, 10:59
LucasArts.
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June 21st, 2009, 12:33
Originally Posted by Hümmelgümpf View Post
Both Clover and Black Isle are still with us, as Platinum and Obsidian. Different name, same people.
Exactly. It's the people that count, not whatever they happen to call themselves - names, and companies, come and go.
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June 21st, 2009, 13:06
Origin ???
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June 21st, 2009, 14:00
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Origin ???
Yeah, sigh: Origin was not only about the Ultima Saga (and the first really successful MMOG, Ultima Online), but also Wing Commander, Crusader, Bioforge, Strike Commander…
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June 21st, 2009, 17:21
Origin was one of the big ones back in the day, how could you miss them and have clover on there and I nevefr even heard of compile.
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June 21st, 2009, 17:39
What about Psygnosis, bitmap Brothers and Team 17 from the 80's. I know Psygnosis use bought by Sony but very little was ever done.

Shaf

ps. There's still a rumor that Alien Breed will get done for the PC.
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June 21st, 2009, 20:05
I'm a crazy big Troika fan, but I don't know if they were prolific enough to make a top 5 of all time. Origin, though, would have to be my #1 of all time for this list. No studio closure affected me as much (and that's no disrespect to LG and BI both of whom I loved and lamented their loss).
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June 21st, 2009, 22:05
Originally Posted by shaf View Post
What about Psygnosis, bitmap Brothers and Team 17 from the 80's. I know Psygnosis use bought by Sony but very little was ever done.

Shaf

ps. There's still a rumor that Alien Breed will get done for the PC.
PS Team 17 at least are still developing, a Worms 2 Armageddon I hear would be soon upon us ….
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June 21st, 2009, 22:17
There are so many great ex-studios, some have reformed under other names and other teams have broken apart.
Not having Origin or Sierra on here, though, is a major oversight. They were so dominant for so long. There are many who deserve to be on the list, but these two were truly instrumental in the formation of accessible, quality PC entertainment software. True powerhouses.
Knowing several people at these studios, I also knew them to be people who really were all about creating great games, and not completely focused upon one or two key franchises, though their franchises certainly played major roles in their successes. They were more willing to take chances with new ideas, and most of those ideas were original and fun, and not just more design-by-numbers titles. This level of independent creativity is really what's missing in today's design market. Sure, some great stuff still comes out, but most titles just aren't pushing the idea envelope anymore. Furthermore, the most creative studios are usually the ones to die the most violent, turbulent deaths…publishers just don't like taking chances on medium-to-large budget titles that aren't the next sequel in the GTA franchise, and they'll kill a small, creative studio like that much faster than a studio like Rockstar. It's just business, but it's sad business that takes a lot of the creativity out of the industry as a whole.
Honorable mentions are also Virgin and Interplay…they did a lot on the development side as well…and what became Feargus' part of Interplay is really the foundation of Black Isle.
Last edited by Michael Dean; June 21st, 2009 at 22:20. Reason: forgot stuff
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June 21st, 2009, 23:30
Since you posted, Michael, I'll tip a hat to Ion Storm. I couldn't fit them on such a list but despite all the drama, Deus Ex and Anachronox are great games.

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June 22nd, 2009, 00:06
Looking Glass is rightfully listed as number 1 on the list so I'm happy with it. With all the mergers, take-overs, splits, and mass defections it's pretty hard to say what really counts as a loss. I remember 25 years ago, just about any game coming out of Electronic Arts was in the "buy on sight" category for me. That company is long gone. Sorta.
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June 22nd, 2009, 00:09
Originally Posted by Michael Dean View Post
It's just business, but it's sad business that takes a lot of the creativity out of the industry as a whole.
The feeling is mutual from the side of end-users. In these days, if I continued to play games, it would make me more of a consumer than a gamer. It's sad but I find I'd rather spend my spare time on other hobbies of mine nowadays. There are a few unfinished games in my shelf, on which I don't even care to waste my time anymore even years after the purchase.
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June 22nd, 2009, 04:04
Arcanum and Bloodlines alone are enough to get Troika into my top 5 studios of all time, extant or otherwise.
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June 22nd, 2009, 09:51
By the time Origin ceased to exist in 2004, I hardly cared anymore. Ultima IX, released in 1999, was the last attempt to catch some of the greatness of their golden era.

The name should still be on that list. It's a very subjective list, when you think about it, driven by what is popular today. Black Isle and Looking Glass are on there because many of today's games are inpired by their titles. If space-action-sims were more popular these days, I am sure that Origin would have appeared on the list.
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June 22nd, 2009, 11:20
Orgin was pretty much killed off before Ultima IX since everyone was replaced on the project and made into a different game then what it was supposed to be. A company is the people that work there not the name which like said above means Black Isle shouldn't be on the list since it lives on as Obsidian.

PS. It isn't that space action sims are not popular but are not being made anymore and the most of the last ones that came out were crap.
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