During the 2000s, these video game developers were well-known, but they finally lost their fame.
There are many well-known studios in the video game business that have made some great games. Many of these companies have been around since the beginning of time and have been making hit after hit for decades. Companies like Naughty Dog and Rockstar have stayed in business for a long time because they make great games. This has led to success after success for these companies.
Not all creators have the same good luck. Many developers have put in a lot of work to make some great games, but at some point they shut down for good. During the sixth and seventh generations of consoles, a lot of companies made a lot of hits, but they don’t exist anymore.
Zipper Interactive was a part of Sony Computer Entertainment, and it had made games like MechWarrior 3 in the past. But after a string of wins with the SOCOM games, they joined PlayStation in 2006. Some of Sony’s first online games for the PS2 were these tactical shooters, which were well-liked and sold well.
But the success in business wouldn’t last. After MAG on the PS3 and Unit 13 on the PlayStation Vita did not do very well, Sony decided to close the company for good in 2012.
During the 2000s, THQ slowly built up a library of well-known games by publishing and making them. The big franchise was Saints Row, which was made by their own company, Volition, but they also did well in other areas. Darksiders, Red Faction, Destroy All Humans!, and De Blob were all popular games with loyal fan groups.
But THQ also made some bad decisions with its money, and in 2012 it filed for bankruptcy, shut down, and sold most of its assets. Most of their titles went to Embracer Group, which also bought the name and used it to start THQ Nordic, a new publisher that now takes care of most of those properties.
Ensemble Studios used to be one of the biggest names in real-time strategy games. After making the Age of Empires games and getting a lot of praise for them in 1997, they joined Microsoft’s development labs.
Age of Empires kept doing well, and Microsoft finally gave them the chance to make a game set in the Halo universe. But even though Halo Wars looked like it would be a great game, it would be their last. Microsoft closed the studio while Halo Wars was being made, claiming reorganisation as the reason. Ensemble was given time to finish Halo Wars before the company shut down for good.
Bizarre Creations was a company that made racing games and got a lot of praise for them. In the 1990s, they had some success with Formula 1 games for Sony. Then, they made Metropolis Street Racer for Sega and Project Gotham Racing for Microsoft. With the help of Microsoft, they changed PGR into a series and made the Geometry Wars series.
The company Bizarre Creations was bought by Activision in 2007. But Activision decided to sell the studio only three years after it was bought. Since they couldn’t find a buyer, they just shut down the company, leaving Blur and James Bond: Blood Stone as their last games.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was one of the most popular video game series of the 2000s, and the company that made it, Neversoft, was riding high on its success. So much so that they were able to make other games, like the fan-favorite Spider-Man game for PS1 and the Western-themed Gun, which was the launch game for the Xbox 360. After the second Guitar Hero game, Harmonix left the project, and Neversoft was chosen to take over.
But Neversoft’s luck changed as the buzz around Guitar Hero slowly died down. In 2011, Activision switched them to support work for the Call of Duty series. In 2014, the company was closed for good.
Sony Japan Studio
Sony’s Western studios are responsible for many of the company’s best-known franchises, but Sony Japan has a good name on its own. Team Ico, the people who made the highly acclaimed games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, worked at the studio. They also made a lot of original IPs for Sony, like the Ape Escape series, the rhythm action games Patapon and LocoRoco for the PSP, and the horror game Siren for the PS2.
During the 2010s, Sony put more effort into making games at its Western companies than at its Japan Studio. As a result, Japan Studio slowly stopped making games. Team Asobi, which made the free game Astro’s Playroom for the PS5, was the only team left at the company in the end. Soon after, Sony would close the bigger Japan Studio.
Free Radical Design
The company Free Radical Design got off to a good start. After working on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, their first team all left Rare to start a new studio where they could make their own shooters. That shooter IP was called “Timesplitters,” and Drift Boss game and its sequels quickly became fan favourites. Some people think that the series is one of the best sci-fi shooting games ever made.
The company ran out of money, which was sad. Crytek bought it in 2009, and it shut down in 2014. The staff would move to Dambuster Studios, which worked on Homefront: The Revolution, and do their jobs there. But the company has been brought back to life by the Embracer Group, which wants to bring the Timesplitters franchise back.
Lionhead Studios used to be one of the biggest names in PC games. After the groundbreaking god game Black and White came out, the studio worked on The Movies and Fable, both of which did well. Microsoft would buy Lionhead in 2006 so that they could make more games in the Fable series. It went on to become one of Xbox’s most well-known series.
As a company owned by Microsoft, Lionhead would have a hard time. They often had trouble with money, and their big Kinect projects often had trouble getting made. Microsoft would shut down Lionhead in 2016, which meant that Fable Legends would no longer be made.
In the 2000s, Capcom had a lot of skilled and well-known developers, like Shinji Mikami, who made Resident Evil, and Hideki Kamiya, who made Devil May Cry. There was so much ability that a group of them got together and started their own studio called Clover. They made a lot of games that people remember, like the Viewtiful Joe series, God Hand, and Okami.
But even though these games were praised by critics, they didn’t sell as well as they should have. Because of this, Capcom tried to combine the company with its main offices. Many workers said no, which led to the company being left behind and shut down. Most of the team went on to start Platinum Games, where many of Clover’s games are still played.