February 3, 2023

    Video Game Behemoths That Eventually Died

    The video game landscape is turbulent, of that there is no question. Given the enormous time, cost and effort that goes into creating games, few companies are ever really secure. At best a company is secure for a few years, though will inevitably have to release a new product to keep above water. So, the harsh reality is that any video game company only exists for as long as it continues to produce successful titles.

    The list of once great companies that eventually collapsed is long. Hundreds, even thousands of studios have tried, given it their best shot, but eventually have had to close. It isn’t necessarily as dire as it sounds, since most talented developers can move on to other studios.

    Midway (Closed 2010)

    Midway is widely seen as a pillar that allowed video games to achieve new levels of success in the 90s. Although starting out with Space Invaders in 70s, it was Midway that gave us Mortal Kombat, ushering in a whole new era. There is hardly a gamer alive that doesn’t know what Mortal Kombat is, which pretty much says everything that needs to be known. But isn’t Mortal Kombat still around?

    Although Midway itself filed for bankruptcy after a rapid decline in the 2000s, it is comforting to know that most of the developers, including Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon, moved on to NetherRealm Studios. Mortal Kombat is still alive and well, backed by the man that originally gave it life. This makes Mortal Kombat amongst very few franchises that started life in a time when it wasn’t even possible to use the internet to look up NFL betting offers, only to still be thriving today.

    Neversoft (Closed 2014)

    Neversoft was perhaps one of the biggest developers for the early PlayStation era, giving the world the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. When the Pro Skater series began to dwindle the studio struck gold again with Guitar Hero. This kept the doors open until the early 2010s, But, once again, their key franchise began to dwindle. Neversoft was eventually merged with Infinity Ward, thereby allowing most of the devs to move on and keep working, even if exclusively on Call Of Duty.

    Visceral Games (Closed 2017)

    Of all the studios on this list, most consider Visceral Games to be amongst the most tragic closures in history. Not because Visceral Games failed, but because they succeeded so well that parent company EA decided to get involved. Visceral Games found major success with Dead Space and Dead Space 2, so much so that EA decided the franchise had to go mainstream. Good news, right? No, going mainstream meant that EA decided Dead Space 3 would have co-op play and microtransactions. Elements that virtually no one wanted, except EA.

    The unwanted additions resulted in most fans rejecting Dead Space 3, thereby bringing Visceral Games to its knees. The studio was assigned a new Star Wars game, only for that project to be taken away later. The company shut soon after.