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2009's saddest studio closures

BottleRocket

Closed: September 2009
Most recent game: Xiaolin Showdown
Best known for: Rise of the Kasai

BottleRocket was working on Splatterhouse, a remake of the classic 1989 arcade game, until February, when Namco Bandai pulled them from it like smoked pork. Losing Splatterhouse was the mission failure that sent BottleRocket the way of so many Soviet test launches. According to Kotaku, words were exchanged between the injured developer and Namco Bandai before the doors were shut. I imagine the conversation went something like this:

BottleRocket: WTF happen?
Namco Bandai: Buuuh!
BottleRocket::(
Namco Bandai: Hay did u guys see Twilight?
BottleRocket::(

Wait, that was a Facebook conversation my 14-year-old cousin had. Close enough: Namco Bandai was unhappy with BottleRocket’s progress, gave the project to the internal team responsible for Afro Samurai, and possibly hired on a few ex-BottleRocketers as well. Again, my story is better.


Above: Before it was stripped of the project, BottleRocket had made significant progress on Splatterhouse (not to be confused with “Splatterhaus,” the non-violent German version about a jelly donut factory)

Where they are now: As mentioned, some of the ex-staff apparently rejoined the Splatterhouse project with Namco Bandai’s internal development team. We’re unaware of what’s become of the rest.


GRIN

Closed: August 12th, 2009
Most recent game: Terminator Salvation
Best known for: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2

GRIN was a successful Swedish developer founded by brothers Bo and Ulf Andersson, who, aside from making games, enjoy meatballs and neutrality. In their parting letter, the developers explained that delayed payments from publishers caused an “unbearable cashflow situation.” We’ll take their word on that, but we’re pretty sure the unbearable wife arm situation in Bionic Commando was worse.


Above:  What, you didn’t hear? That bionic arm contains the essence of his wife. Damn that’s stupid 

But seriously, Bionic Commando wasn’t a terrible game, though it didn’t sell spectacularly and received lukewarm critical responses. Terminator Salvation was likewise unimpressive. Still, it’s a shame to lose the developer responsible for GRAW 1 and 2…though it does open things up for the following insensitive joke: Hey, can you guess what the 100+ former employees of GRIN aren’t doing right now?

Now I feel bad, so let’s take another look at that stupid wife arm, which was probably Capcom’s fault anyway:


Above: Know what’s cool about this scenario? He can get a handjob from his wife any time he wants

On the topic of Capcom – who exactly didn’t pay up? If the reason for GRIN’s closure was delayed payments, and the last three major publishers they worked with were Capcom, Universal Studios, and Sony Computer Entertainment, doesn’t that suggest that those companies are faltering? Since when does Capcom fail to pay up? We demand details, preferably scandalous ones!

Where they are now: Several former GRIN employees came together to create a new venture, Outbreak Studios. Their focus is on iPhone and web games, as well as downloadable XBLA/PSN games. Not exactly a flashy new beginning, but it’s a strong market to attack.

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43 comments

  • dante1924 - January 7, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    Damn! Now I can never laugh at duke nukem ever again! I am now deprived of one of the world's funniest jokes! Fun fact: While DNF was being "developed", all 3 star wars prequels came out, and sonic has gone from good to utter shit. How time flies when you pretend to make a game!
  • nikrusty - December 14, 2009 12:20 p.m.

    Sniff...DNF :( Captcha- de though
  • oryandymackie - December 12, 2009 7:40 p.m.

    Well folks, we can all look forward to identikit FPS' from EA.....can I get a "yay"?
  • oryandymackie - December 12, 2009 7:34 p.m.

    A NEW Mercs game?! Pandemic, we salute you. Am I the only one who loved Mercs 2?
  • magicwalnuts0 - December 10, 2009 3:47 a.m.

    What the crap? No mention of Ensemble, they made the age of empires series for chrissakes. But yeah, Pandemic, that sucks. While Mercenaries was unbelievebly bad. But Battlezone 2, while not nearly as good as the first was still really cool, and the Battlefront series, never as solid as the BF series was still a lot of fun.
  • DoctorCrazy - December 8, 2009 9:02 p.m.

    Know what’s cool about this scenario? He can get a handjob from his wife any time he wants. I love that quote. :D
  • MaynardJ - December 8, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    I was already sad about Midway and 3D Realms, who enriched my childhood with Mortal Kombat 1-4 and Duke Nukem 3D, but: GRIN and Factor 5 out of business?? I loved BC Rearmed and the Rogue Squadron games! Hope to see a new part of that last franchise one day...
  • FETALJUICE - December 8, 2009 2:14 a.m.

    Hell yes! Free Radical's Timesplitters series was and IS still the shit! I really wanted to play the 4th game they were working on before it got canned.
  • Stockholm - December 8, 2009 12:17 a.m.

    Hell ya, I'm glad Free Radical is being remembered. You guys aren't alone. News of them going out was heart-breaking to me. Timesplitters is one of my all time favorite series's.
  • The_Tingler - December 7, 2009 5:24 p.m.

    Um, yeah, Free Radical? I'd take them over most of these losers any day.
  • demonDogg88 - December 7, 2009 4:51 p.m.

    MIDWAY IS GONE?!?!?! no this bites the big one Mk is going to suffer w/ freakin carrot addicted rabbit and duck w/ a screw loose + a whiny depressed billionaire w/ a night life. why. why. why. EPIC LAME. (and now a moment of silence for the MK series)...............................................
  • rxb - December 7, 2009 1:11 p.m.

    Its a shame GRIN are gone the Bionic Commando XBLA was amazing. Also I didnt know they made GRAW that was a decent game.
  • FanofSaiyan - December 7, 2009 3:07 a.m.

    God that new Splatterhouse game looks good, I love the regenerating system.
  • big rudy - December 7, 2009 12:35 a.m.

    what? no clover studio?
  • jackattack222 - December 7, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    hahah that part about the handjob was hilarious this sucks pandemic was cool
  • lovinmyps3 - December 6, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    Why the hell would we want another Mercinaries game?! And Medal of Honor is dead, accept it!! Where's Battlefront 3?!?!
  • GameManiac - December 6, 2009 5:05 p.m.

    The economy can be such a bitch...
  • xXgodlypunkXx - December 5, 2009 5:46 p.m.

    Mythic just closed down too
  • Rojoco - December 5, 2009 4:54 p.m.

    @ Furyspittles I thought the exact same thing, Free Radical's closure has been the only one ever to concern me, what with being a long-term TimeSplitters fan. It probably wasn't included though because they shut down late 2008. They still deserved a mention though :(. A lot of that team were responsible for Rare's Goldeneye remember.
  • DaBadGuy - December 5, 2009 1:54 p.m.

    Oh man, what a shame, Pandemic, Midway, 3D Realms, Grin, these studios all had huge games and now their gone. Mercenaries, Star Wars Battlefront, GRAW 1 and 2, the Duke Nukem series, all huge games from the respective companies. The biggest lost is Midway, they developed one of my all time favorite arcade games Mortal Kombat, and gave me hours of entertainmet in the arcade with Mortal Kombat and the Cruis'n and San Francisco Rush racing games which I still play in whatever arcades are left, they've also published arcade classics like Pac-Man and Galaga. So many talented people gone because of corporate politics and financial problems, it really is a shame.

Showing 1-20 of 43 comments

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