|Traded as||OTC Pink: AKLM|
|Fate||Chapter 7 bankruptcy|
|Founded||1987Oyster Bay, New York, U.S.in|
|Defunct||September 1, 2004|
Acclaim Max Sports
Number of employees
Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher based in Glen Cove, New York. Originally formed by Greg Fischbach, Robert Holmes and Jim Scoroposki out of an Oyster Bay storefront in 1987, the company established a worldwide development team through a series of acquisitions in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After poor financial returns in their 2003 fiscal year, Acclaim filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2004. Properties owned by Acclaim were subsequently auctioned off to various parties.
In the early 1980s, Greg Fischbach was employed by American video game company Activision, where he worked together with Robert Holmes and Jim Scoroposki. He left Activision to join RCA Records, which was subsequently acquired by Bertelsmann and Fischbach found himself unemployed. In 1987, he met with Scoroposki in Oyster Bay, where Scoroposki owned a sales rep company, to discuss a possible shared venture. After Scoroposki suggested that the two should re-enter the video game business, they contacted Holmes to join them, and the three jointly founded Acclaim Entertainment.In its initial years, Acclaim was exclusively a video game publisher, either farming out the creation of its video games to external developers or localizing existing video games from overseas. But as it grew, it purchased some independent studios, including Iguana Entertainment of Austin, Texas; Probe Entertainment of London, England; and Sculptured Software of Salt Lake City, Utah.
The name of the company was picked because it had to be alphabetically above the co-founder's former place of employment, Activision, and also had to be alphabetically above Accolade (another company formed by ex-Activision employees). This was a common formula for picking names of new companies that were founded by ex-Activision employees (the founders of Activision used this formula when they left Atari).
Many of Acclaim's products used licenses from popular comics, television series and movies.They were also responsible for the ports of many of Midway's arcade games in the early to mid-1990s, including the Mortal Kombat series. They also published some games from other companies that at the time of publication did not have an American branch, such as Technōs Japan's Double Dragon II: The Revenge and Taito's Bust-a-Move series.
Through much of the 1990s Acclaim were one of the most successful publishers of console video games in the world. In the financial year ending August 1994 they saw a profit of $481 million, and this figure rose to $585 million the following year.
In 1995, the company acquired Sculptured Software, Iguana Entertainment and Probe Entertainment and the companies switched to the first-party development studio, known as Acclaim Studios from 1999 to 2004.Acclaim's gaming business was further expanded with the purchase of exclusive rights to publish Taito's games in the Western Hemisphere. The company also had a motion capture studio built into their headquarters, making them the first video game company to have an in-house motion capture studio.
A less significant aspect of Acclaim's business was the development and publication of strategy guides relating to their software products and the issuance of "special edition" comic magazines, via Acclaim Comics, to support the more lucrative brand names. Lastly, they created the ASF/AMC motion capture format which is still in use in the industry today.
Acclaim enjoyed a long relationship with the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE) dating back to 1988's WWF WrestleMania . However, after failing to match the success of World Championship Wrestling's THQ/AKI games amidst the Monday Night Wars, the WWF unexpectedly defected to THQ in 1999. Acclaim then picked up the license to Extreme Championship Wrestling and released two games for the company. ECW declared bankruptcy in 2001 while still owing Acclaim money. The game publisher would release three wrestling titles under the Legends of Wrestling banner in the throes of its final years.
Acclaim suffered financial problems in 2004, the result of poor sales of its video game titles. This resulted in the closure of Acclaim Studios Cheltenham and Acclaim Studios Manchester in England and other places and their filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving many employees unpaid. Amongst the titles under development at the UK studios were Emergency Mayhem , ATV Quad Power Racing 3 , The Last Job, Interview with a Made Man and Kung Faux .
When Acclaim's agreement with GMAC Commercial Finance, their primary lender, expired on August 20, 2004, $150 million in damages.the company closed all of its facilities on August 27, of which the Austin and New York studios saw all employees let go. Prior to the closures, as of March 31, 2004, Acclaim employed 585 staff worldwide. Acclaim announced on August 30 that they were to go bankrupt, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with the United States bankruptcy court in Central Islip, New York on September 1. A September 2005 complaint filed with the same court found founders Fischbach and Scorposki, as well as executives Rodney Cousens, Gerard F. Agoglia, Edmond P. Sanctis, Bernard Fischbach, James Scibelli, Robert H. Groman and Michael Tannen, accountable for the financial losses of Acclaim shortly before the bankruptcy filing, seeking
An attempt to reopen the Cheltenham and Manchester studios in October 2004 (under the new name Exclaim) failed due to legal wrangling over intellectual property, with both the US and UK administrators claiming rights.
In August 2005, former Activision executive Howard Marks purchased the name "Acclaim" for a reported $100,000. In the beginning of 2006, Marks formed a new company called Acclaim Games. According to a job listing for the company, Acclaim Games was aimed at the US and UK preteen multiplayer markets. However, the second iteration of Acclaim did not go well due to connectivity and payment issues for their online games, along with a lack of action against dishonest players, earning that iteration of the company an "F" grade from the Los Angeles/Southern California Better Business Bureau.
In 2005, Acclaim's former IPs were put up for sale and were sold in auction. The Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX and ATV: Quad Power Racing series were purchased by Crave Entertainment. Juiced was purchased by THQ, Emergency Mayhem was purchased by Codemasters, Interview with a Made Man was purchased by former employees of Acclaim Studios Manchester and The Red Star was purchased by budget publisher XS Games.
In 2006, Throwback Entertainment purchased more than 50 of Acclaim's games, and vowed to bring such titles as Re-Volt , Extreme-G , Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance , Vexx , Fur Fighters and many other franchises into the next generation and beyond.Acclaim's headquarters were sold to Anthony Pistilli of Pistilli Realty Group for $6 million in November 2004.
In July 2010, South Korean based company We Go Interactive purchased Re-Volt, RC Revenge, and RC De Go! (developed and owned by Taito) from Throwback.
In October 2018, Liquid Media Group purchased 65 ex-Acclaim titles from Throwback for $1 Million. This mainly consisted of installments in the NBA Jam, AFL Live, All-Star Baseball and NFL Quarterback Club franchises, as well as some Taito titles that Acclaim published outside of Japan.
During Acclaim's decline towards bankruptcy, the company made several controversial business and marketing decisions in the United Kingdom. One example was a promise that a US$10,000 (£6000) prize would be awarded to UK parents who would name their baby "Turok", to promote the release of Turok: Evolution .A later investigation by VG247 found that all those who had reportedly changed their names were actors. Another was an attempt to buy advertising space on actual tombstones for Shadow Man: 2econd Coming .
To promote Burnout 2: Point of Impact , Acclaim offered to reimburse any driver in the United Kingdom who received a speeding ticket. Following a negative reaction to this from the UK government, the plan was cancelled.In the US, Acclaim suffered multiple lawsuits, a portion of them with former partners. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sued over unpaid royalties.
In the last iteration of the BMX series, BMX XXX , nudity and semi-nudity (e.g., full motion video of strippers and nude female riders) was added in hopes of boosting sales.However, like most of Acclaim's video games during its final years, BMX XXX sold poorly, and was derided for its sexual content and poor gameplay. Dave Mirra himself publicly disowned the game, stating that he was not involved in the decision to include nudity, and he sued Acclaim for fear of being associated with BMX XXX.
Another lawsuit was from Acclaim's own investors, claiming that Acclaim management had published misleading financial reports.
In 1997, two years after its acquisition of Sculptured Software, during which it offered employees what looked like iron-clad contracts and stock that would be vested over the course of the contracts, Acclaim terminated about half of the staff of the Salt Lake City studio, violating its own contract terms. The lay-off came abruptly to the point that the employees had to choose between taking a reasonable severance package (whose terms altered several times during the initial weeks after the layoff) and not suing, or join the other creditors and sue, but lose their severance packages. In 2007, one of numerous class action suits filed on behalf of stockholders was won, allowing some of the employees to realize a return on some of the stock that had been vested.
Taito Corporation is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based out of Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the Taito Trading Company, importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. It would begin production of video games in 1973. In 2005, Taito was purchased by Square Enix, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary by 2006.
Activision Publishing, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in Santa Monica, California. It currently serves as the publishing business for its parent company, Activision Blizzard, and consists of several subsidiary studios. Activision is one of the largest third-party video game publishers in the world and was the top United States publisher in 2016.
Sierra Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher. Founded in 1979 as On-Line Systems, by Ken and Roberta Williams, Sierra is known primarily for its graphic adventure game series such as King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Gabriel Knight, Leisure Suit Larry, and Quest for Glory.
Interplay Entertainment Corp. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Los Angeles. The company was founded in 1983 as Interplay Productions by developers Brian Fargo, Jay Patel, Troy Worrell, and Rebecca Heineman, as well as investor Chris Wells. As a developer, Interplay is best known as the creator of the Fallout series and as a publisher for the Baldur's Gate and Descent series.
Midway Games Inc. was an American video game developer and publisher. Midway's franchises included Mortal Kombat, Rampage, Spy Hunter, NBA Jam, Cruis'n, and NFL Blitz. Midway also acquired the rights to video games that were originally developed by Williams Electronics and Atari Games, such as Defender, Joust, Robotron 2084, Gauntlet, and the Rush series.
THQ Inc. was an American video game company based in Agoura Hills, California. It was founded in April 1990 by Jack Friedman, originally in Calabasas, and became a public company the following year through a reverse merger takeover. Initially working in the toy business, it expanded into the video game business through several acquisitions before shifting its focus away from toys entirely. THQ continued its trend of acquiring companies through the 2000s.
Relic Entertainment is a Canadian video game developer based in Vancouver, founded in 1997. The studio specializes in real-time strategy games and is known for series such as Homeworld, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. Acquired by THQ in 2004, the company was sold to Sega on January 22, 2013 as part of THQ's bankruptcy. Relic is now a part of Sega Europe, which also comprises Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive and Amplitude Studios.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a first-person shooter video game developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim for the Nintendo 64 console and Microsoft Windows. It was released in 1997 in North America and Europe. Turok is an adaptation of the Acclaim Comics comic book series of the same name. The player controls Turok, a Native American warrior, who must stop the evil Campaigner from conquering the universe with an ancient and powerful weapon.
1997 saw many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as GoldenEye 007, Star Fox 64, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Gran Turismo, Mortal Kombat 4, Diddy Kong Racing, Grand Theft Auto, Blast Corps and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Surreal Software was a video game developer based in Kirkland, Washington, United States, and a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, known for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Suffering and Drakan series. Surreal Software employed over 130 designers, artists, and programmers. Surreal was acquired by Warner Bros. Games during the bankruptcy of Midway Games in July 2009. After a significant layoff in January 2011, the remaining employees were integrated into WBG's Kirkland offices, along with developers Monolith and Snowblind.
Deep Silver Volition, LLC is an American video game developer based in Champaign, Illinois. The company was founded as Parallax Software in June 1993 by Mike Kulas and Matt Toschlog, and developed Descent and Descent II. The company split in two, wherein Toschlog founded Outrage Entertainment, while Kulas stayed with Parallax, which was renamed Volition in November 1996. Volition was acquired by THQ in August 2000, and when THQ filed for bankruptcy and had its assets sold off, Volition changed hands to Deep Silver in January 2013. Volition is best known for its Red Faction and Saints Row series of games.
Acclaim Studios Austin was an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas. The company was founded in 1991 by Jeff Spangenberg, previously lead designer for Punk Development, and originally located in Santa Clara, California. Iguana found first success with Aero the Acro-Bat, moved to Austin and acquired Optimus Software in 1993. Iguana was acquired by Acclaim Entertainment in January 1995 and received another sub-studio, Iguana West in October that year. Spangenberg was fired from his position in July 1998 and filed a lawsuit on breach of contract the following October. Iguana was rebranded Acclaim Studios Austin in May 1999, and the studio was closed down in August 2004, followed by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of its parent in September 2004.
Yuke's Co. Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer based in Osaka. It was established on 26 February 1993 by Yukinori Taniguchi. The company is best known for their development of the WWE video game series, which came to an end after WWE 2K19.
Jeffery Spangenberg is a video game producer and entrepreneur who founded video game developers Punk Development, Iguana Entertainment, Retro Studios, and Topheavy Studios.
Gregory Edmund Fischbach is an American Internet entrepreneur, attorney, business executive, co-founder of video communication and content sharing company Rabbit and video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment (1987), he had managed the company for 16 years as the CEO.
Midway Studios Los Angeles Inc. was an American-based video game developer. They are best known for fighting games such as the X-Men Mutant Academy and Backyard Wrestling franchises, as well as the Mortal Kombat action game spin-off Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. The team was also responsible for the controversial PlayStation title Thrill Kill.
Turok is a series of first-person shooter video games based on the comic book character of the same name. It is set in a primitive world inhabited by dinosaurs and other creatures. The series was originally developed by Acclaim Studios Austin as Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment from 1995 until Acclaim's bankruptcy in September 2004. The series was then developed by Propaganda Games and published by Touchstone Games.
Jason Rubin is an American video game director, writer, comic book creator and Internet company founder best known for the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series of games which were produced by Naughty Dog, the game development studio he co-founded with partner and childhood friend Andy Gavin in 1986. He was the president of THQ before its closure due to bankruptcy on January 23, 2013.
THQ Nordic GmbH is an Austrian video game publisher based in Vienna. Formed in 2011, it is the primary publishing subsidiary of Embracer Group. Originally named Nordic Games, as was the parent company, both companies were renamed THQ Nordic in August 2016 after the parent company had acquired the "THQ" trademark in 2014. THQ Nordic's core portfolio comprises assets that were acquired from other developers and publishers, such as from JoWooD Entertainment and its subsidiaries DreamCatcher Interactive and The Adventure Company in 2011, THQ in 2013, and NovaLogic in 2016. THQ Nordic has acquired and established several subsidiary studios, including Black Forest Games, Bugbear Entertainment, Gunfire Games, HandyGames, Piranha Bytes, and Rainbow Studios.
The acquisitions, which bring an additional 250 programmers, musicians, graphic artists, and engineers, follow Acclaim's purchase of Iguana Entertainment earlier this year.