One For The Fallen
With Crytek UK on the verge of bankruptcy, I'm going to pay tribute to the 3 game studios that 2014 has already claimed.
With the studio finally closed after BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Part 2 was released, Ken Levine has now created another studio with 15 former employees, focusing on replayable games, while the other 75 employees have found jobs at other studios. Still, its crazy to think that a studio with such modern concepts started way back in 1997, when it was founded by Levine, Jonathan Chey and Robert Fermier. It was two years before they released their first game, System Shock 2, a horror masterpiece that made you feel alone and weak. It was so successful that Irrational opened up a studio in Australia, with Jonathan Chey moving there, but also cancelling the development of Deep Cover, a game Irrational was working on. With that setback, Irrational started development on another game, The Lost, which was canned in 2002 after a dispute with publisher Crave Entertainment, but that same year released Freedom Force, an excellent hack n slasher with such famous superheroes as Minute Man. They even made an entry in the famous Tribes series! Still, its crazy to think that, with artistic games like BioShock Infinite, Irrational still loved to make brutish, tough shooters, and with SWAT 4, they didn't hold back. It was also the first ever game that companies could advertise in! Anyways, soon enough, Irrational were making the game they're probably most famous for, BioShock, which blended action, horror and discovery elements to make a beautiful mishmash of a game that won many a game of the year award, and 6 years later released the 3rd game in the series (And their last ever game) BioShock Infinite, an artistic adventure that was long-awaited. My personal favourite of Irrational's has to be the original BioShock, as it had one of the greatest twists in gaming and patented a lot of mechanics.
Only closing a couple of days ago, Airtight Games had only gone a month after releasing their latest game, Murdered: Soul Suspect, before they were shut down, a real shame considering that MSS had such an interesting gameplay aspect and huge potential. What's even worse is that Airtight had only been developing games since 2010, with the release of shooter Dark Void, a game (Like Murdered Soul Suspect) that had huge potential and innovation, but was restricted by lack of resources. Still, 2 years later, Quantum Conundrum was released, arguably the highlight of Airtight's portfolio. It had great puzzles (Aided by former Valve employee Kim Swift) and had a charming atmosphere, and was favoured by critics. After taking a 2 year break to develop games for iOS and Ouya, Murdered: Soul Suspect was released. Sadly, you know the story from there.
What's so sad about Mythic's sour end is how this once whimsical fantasy developer's last game was a desperate money grabber that seemed to pooh pooh everything that was magic about the Dungeon Keeper franchise. Releasing games since 1990, Mythic have been a respected and honourable studio for years, and with some of my personal favourites like Independance Day Online, have made many great MMOs. From shooters like Silent Death Online, a superb spaceship fighter that had so much replayability, to text adventure games like Dragon's Gate, Mythic Entertainment were one of the industry's best all rounders, and it's sad to see them go.