Crystal Dynamics

Last updated

Crystal Dynamics, Inc.
Industry Video game industry
FoundedJuly 8, 1992;26 years ago (1992-07-08) [1]
  • Judy Lang
  • Madeline Canepa
  • David Morris
Key people
  • Scot Amos
  • Ron Rosenberg
Parent Square Enix Europe
Subsidiaries Crystal Northwest

Crystal Dynamics, Inc. is an American video game developer that was founded in 1992 by Judy Lang, Madeline Canepa and Dave Morse. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1998. After Square Enix's acquisition of Eidos in 2009, it became a subsidiary of Square Enix. [2] Crystal Dynamics was the first licensed developer for 3DO. The company's mascot was the video game character Gex the Gecko until 2000.

A video game developer is a software developer that specializes in video game development – the process and related disciplines of creating video games. A game developer can range from one person who undertakes all tasks to a large business with employee responsibilities split between individual disciplines, such as programming, design, art, testing, etc. Most game development companies have video game publisher financial and usually marketing support. Self-funded developers are known as independent or indie developers and usually make indie games.

San Francisco Bay Area Conurbation in California, United States

The San Francisco Bay Area is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun Bay estuaries in the northern part of the U.S. state of California. Although the exact boundaries of the region vary depending on the source, the Bay Area is defined by the Association of Bay Area Governments to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco. Other sources may exclude parts of or even entire counties, or expand the definition to include neighboring counties that don't border the bay such as San Benito, San Joaquin, and Santa Cruz.

Square Enix Japanese video game company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.



Crystal Dynamics was formed on 8 July 1992 by Sega veterans Judy Lang, Madeline Canepa, and Dave Morse. Crystal was the first licensed developer for 3DO, a gaming hardware platform simultaneously funded by Kleiner Perkins. Mark Cerny joined the company, but he left to work for Universal Interactive Studios. In 1993, Strauss Zelnick, president of 20th Century Fox's film studio, was hired to run Crystal Dynamics. This made national news and helped to touch off the frenzy of multimedia investments of the mid-1990s. [3] A 1993 editorial in Electronic Gaming Monthly declared that "the hottest new video game company on the upscale scene is definitely Crystal Dynamics." [4]

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd. since 2015. Both companies are subsidiaries of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is in turn a part of Sega Sammy Holdings.

David Shannon Morse was the cofounder of Amiga. In 1982, he left Tonka Toys and became the Chief Executive Officer at Hi Toro, Inc., which he co-founded and which later that year morphed into Amiga, Inc. which he led through the development of the Lorraine Project, ultimately, the Amiga 1000 computer. In the 1980s he was a software manager at Epyx, a video game developer and publisher and help to create the Atari Lynx, being credited with designing the graphics chip.

3DO Interactive Multiplayer Video game console

The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, often called the 3DO, is a home video game console platform developed by The 3DO Company. Conceived by entrepreneur and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the 3DO was not a console manufactured by the company itself, but a series of specifications, originally designed by Dave Needle and R. J. Mical of New Technologies Group, that could be licensed by third parties. Panasonic produced the first models in 1993, and further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by GoldStar and in 1995 by Sanyo.

Due chiefly to the unexpectedly slow growth of the next generation gaming market, Crystal Dynamics's massive expansion in its early years failed to pay off. [5] [6] In 1996 new CEO Ted Ardel announced the company was cutting one third of its workforce and stepping aside as a publisher to focus strictly on games development. [5] For several months the company functioned without a president, with Ardel managing the day-to-day operations until Rob Dyer was promoted to president on April 4, 1997. [7]

Crystal Dynamics had been most known for developing Legacy of Kain and Gex , but in 2003, the studio was also entrusted the development of the best-selling Tomb Raider franchise after its original developer, Core Design, failed to gain critical or commercial success with their later Tomb Raider games, and released its first game in the series in 2006, Tomb Raider: Legend , which was the fastest-selling game in the entire series, selling 4.5 million units worldwide. [8] [9] Crystal Dynamics co-developed Tomb Raider: Anniversary with developer Buzz Monkey Software. A remake of the first Tomb Raider game, it was released in June 2007. The next installment, Tomb Raider: Underworld , was released in October 2008. Crystal Dynamics' next release was the spin-off title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light , which did not feature the Tomb Raider branding despite utilizing the lead character. The game was released for digital distribution only.

Legacy of Kain is a series of action-adventure video games primarily developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix Europe. The first title, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, was created by Silicon Knights in association with Crystal Dynamics, but, after a legal battle, Crystal Dynamics retained the rights to the game's intellectual property, and continued its story with four sequels. To date, five games comprise the series, all initially developed for video game consoles and later ported to Microsoft Windows. Focusing on the eponymous character of Kain, a vampire antihero, each title features action, exploration and puzzle-solving, with some role-playing game elements.

<i>Gex</i> (series) platformer video game series

Gex is a platform video game trilogy, developed by Crystal Dynamics, that details the adventures of an anthropomorphic gecko named Gex. Gex has a passion for television, which makes him a target for the cybernetic being Emperor Rez, who is determined to overthrow The Media Dimension, the "world" of television. He has also served as the mascot of Crystal Dynamics, appearing on their company logo for several years until 2000. In the North American version, Gex is voiced by comedian Dana Gould throughout the entire series; the United Kingdom version features Dana Gould, Leslie Phillips and Danny John-Jules as Gex's voice throughout the series.

Tomb Raider, also known as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider between 2001 and 2007, is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, then by Square Enix after their acquisition of Eidos in 2009, the franchise focuses on a fictional British archaeologist Lara Croft, who travels around the world searching for lost artefacts and infiltrating dangerous tombs and ruins. The gameplay generally focuses around action-adventure exploration of environments, solving puzzles, navigating hostile environments filled with traps, and fighting numerous enemies. Additional media has grown up around the theme in the form of film adaptations, comics and novels.

In 2009, Crystal Dynamics laid off over 30 employees to refocus their efforts on the Tomb Raider games only. [10] [11] On January 3, 2012, studio community manager Meagan Marie said that the studio would be revealing a new IP in 2012. [12] In a podcast, released on June 23, 2012, executive producer Scot Amos said Crystal Dynamics new IP will be "fresh and familiar" and offer a similar experience to the new Tomb Raider game. [13] This was followed by Tomb Raider in 2013, a reboot which introduced a new backstory for Lara.

<i>Tomb Raider</i> (2013 video game) 2013 action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. Tomb Raider is the tenth title in the Tomb Raider franchise, and operates as a reboot that reconstructs the origins of Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, on 23 January 2014 for OS X, on 27 April 2016 for Linux, and on 7 March 2017 for Shield TV.

In December 2015, Square Enix announced that Darrell Gallagher, the studio's head, had left the company. His role in the company was replaced by Scot Amos and Ron Rosenberg. [14] In 2016, Brian Horton, director of the game Rise of the Tomb Raider , left the company. He had previously undertaken the role of senior art director on the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013. [15]

<i>Rise of the Tomb Raider</i> video game

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game, Tomb Raider, and the eleventh entry in the Tomb Raider series. The game was released by Microsoft Studios for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in 2015. Square Enix released the game for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 in 2016. In April 2018 Feral Interactive published the game for Linux and Mac, with a Google Stadia release set for November 2019.

On January 26, 2017, Square Enix announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create multiple video games based on Marvel properties, the first of which was announced to be based on The Avengers which would be developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal. [16]

On August 13, 2018, Square Enix announced that Crystal Dynamics had opened a satellite studio based in Bellevue, Washington called Crystal Northwest, which will assist the development of their Avengers game and future Crystal Dynamics projects. [17]

Games developed

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<i>Tomb Raider: Anniversary</i> video game

Tomb Raider: Anniversary is an action-adventure video game co-developed by Crystal Dynamics and Buzz Monkey Software. It was published by Eidos Interactive in 2007 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Wii and mobile phones. It was later ported to OS X in 2008 and PlayStation 3 in 2011. The eighth entry in the Tomb Raider series, Anniversary is a remake of the first Tomb Raider game released in 1996.

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<i>Tomb Raider: Underworld</i> video game

Tomb Raider: Underworld is an action-adventure video game, the eighth instalment of the Tomb Raider series, following character Lara Croft. The story continues from the events in Tomb Raider: Legend as a direct sequel, but also addresses unexplained plot elements by association with Tomb Raider: Anniversary. Underworld was released by Eidos Interactive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Microsoft Windows, in North America on 18 November 2008, Europe on 21 November 2008 and Australia on 5 December 2008. A PlayStation 2 port was released in Europe on 23 January 2009, with a US release on 3 March of that year. On 14 June 2012, Underworld was released on the Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. It is the third game in the series to be developed by Crystal Dynamics and is also the first Tomb Raider game to be released on the PlayStation 3, and the last Tomb Raider game to be released on the PlayStation 2. It is also the final Tomb Raider game to be released by Eidos Interactive; the rest of the series would be published by Square Enix after it acquired Eidos in late 2009. Developers implemented new features into the gameplay, such as the dual-target feature and an upgraded inventory system, using an Active Sonar map and a multi-purpose grappling hook. The game also features a hint system and a new melee combat system where Lara has the ability to battle her opponents using kicks and grapple pulls. Downloadable content was also released for the Xbox 360, where the player takes control of Lara and her doppelgänger in two new chapters.

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<i>Avengers</i> (2020 video game) upcoming 2020 video game

Marvel's Avengers is an upcoming action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montréal and published by Square Enix. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, it is inspired by the long-running comic book mythology and adaptations in other media. The game will be released for Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 15, 2020.


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