Rockstar Lincoln

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Rockstar Lincoln Limited
Formerly called
  • Spidersoft Limited (1992–1998)
  • Tarantula Studios (1998–2002)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Founded 5 May 1992; 26 years ago (1992-05-05)
Founder
  • Steve Marsden
  • David Cooke
  • Andrew Hewson
Headquarters Lincoln, England
Key people
Timothy Bates (general manager)
Parent

Rockstar Lincoln Limited (formerly Spidersoft Limited and Tarantula Studios) is a British video game developer based in Lincoln, England. The company was founded as Spidersoft, by Steve Marsden, David Cooke and Andrew Hewson in May 1992. At that time, they primarily developed Game Boy and Game Gear ports of varoius titles, including pinball-style games from publisher 21st Century Entertainment. The publisher acquired Spidersoft in 1995, though shut down in March 1998.

In June 1998, Take-Two Interactive acquired Spidersoft, renaming them Tarantula Studios. The new studio continued working exclusively on Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, either for original concepts or for conversions of other Take-Two Interactive-owned properties, such as Grand Theft Auto (1999). In 2001, the studio was renamed Rockstar Lincoln, and became part of Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Games family of video game companies. The studio has since become dedicated to working only on video game localisation and quality assurance for games published by Rockstar Games.

History

As Spidersoft (1992–1998)

Spidersoft was founded by Steve Marsden and David Cooke, with assistance from Andrew Hewson, on 5 May 1992.[1]:208 Marsden and Cooke had previously developed Technician Ted for ZX Spectrum, which was published by Hewson's Hewson Consultants in 1984.[1]:79 Although Hewson Consultants shut down in 1991, a successor, 21st Century Entertainment, was founded by Hewson just a few weeks after the prior's closure.[1]:187 Spidersoft mostly developed ports or adaptations of other games, predominantly to Game Boy, Game Gear and MS-DOS, including pinball-based video games developed by Digital Illusions and published by 21st Century Entertainment.[1]:208 Following the success of Pinball Fantasies in 1992, and its subsequent ports to other platforms, including Spidersoft's 1995-released ports to Atari Jaguar, Game Boy, PlayStation and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, 21st Century Entertainment acquired a controlling stake in Spidersoft.[1]:203 Through the purchase, 21st Century Entertainment aimed at ensuring a steady supply of further pinball games and avoiding the need to rely on third-party contractors, such as Pinball Fantasies developer Digital Illusions, which appeared to want to cease operations in the pinball games niche market.[1]:203 By that time, Spidersoft had around 20 employees.[1]:208 In March 1998, 21 Century Entertainment ceased to exist, leaving Spidersoft without a parent company.[2]

As Tarantula Studios (1998–2002)

On 1 June 1998, Take-Two Interactive announced that they had acquired Spidersoft, which would henceforth be known as Tarantula Studios.[3] As part of the deal, Tarantula Studio would shift its focus on game development solely for Game Boy and Game Boy Color, starting with Montezuma's Return!, In-Fisherman Bass Hunter (unreleased) and an unannounced project for the prior platform, as well as Three Lions and Space Station Silicon Valley for the latter.[3] Notable games developed by Tarantula Studios include Las Vegas Cool Hand (1998),[4] Montezuma's Return! (1998),[5] Rats! (1998),[6] Space Station Silicon Valley (1999),[7][8] Jim Henson's Muppets (1999),[9] Evel Knievel (1999),[10][11] Grand Theft Auto (1999),[12][13] Grand Theft Auto 2 (2000),[14] Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair! (2000),[15][16] and Austin Powers: Oh, Behave! (2000).[17][18] Amongst Tarantula Studios' games, some have received very negative reception; on IGN, Evel Knievel and Jim Henson's Muppets each received a review score of 2.0/10, the site's lowest-ever score for a Game Boy Color game, where Evel Knievel was said to be the overall worst game on the platform.[19] Tarantula Studios' last projects under that name were the PlayStation ports of Wildfire Studios' Kiss Pinball and Illusion Softworks' Hidden & Dangerous, both released in 2001 to negative reviews.[20]

As Rockstar Lincoln (2002–present)

In 2002, Tarantula Studios was renamed Rockstar Lincoln and became part of Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Games company tree.[citation needed] The studio was stripped off most of its development team, including founders Marsden and Cooke, and became a studio dedicated to video game localisation and quality assurance for products published by Rockstar Games.[citation needed] In January 2011, long-time studio head of Rockstar Lincoln, Mark Lloyd, announced that he had resigned from the company.[21][22] His leaving coincided with that of Mark Washbrook, founder and former studio head of Rockstar London.[23][24] Rockstar Games reassured that neither departure would affect projects in development at their studios at the time.[25][26] While Washbrook went on to work with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Lloyd founded his own video game consultancy service, Titanium Consultancy, which was later voluntarily wound down.[23] In May 2012, both Washbrook and Lloyd signed with Activision to work for their mobile-focused Activision Leeds studio.[27] Later renamed The Blast Furnace, the studio also hired Gordon Hall, founder and former president of Rockstar Leeds, in August 2012, combining three former Rockstar Games studio executives in one company.[28] Lloyd was later succeeded by Timothy Bates as general manager.

Games developed

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
as Spidersoft
1992 Hook Game Gear Sony Imagesoft Ported only; game developed by Ukiyotei
1993 Poker Face Paul's Blackjack Adrenalin Entertainment N/A
Pinball Dreams Game Boy, Game Gear, MS-DOS, Super Nintendo Entertainment System 21st Century Entertainment, GameTek Ported only; game developed by Digital Illusions
Chuck Rock Game Boy Sony Electronic Publishing Ported only; game developed by Core Design
Cliffhanger Amiga, Game Boy, Game Gear, Nintendo Entertainment System Sony Imagesoft, Psygnosis N/A
1994 Lemmings 2: The Tribes Game Boy Psygnosis Ported only; game developed by DMA Design
Andre Agassi Tennis Game Gear Lance Investments Ported only; game developed by TecMagik
Pinball Arcade MS-DOS 21st Century Entertainment N/A
Poker Face Paul's Solitaire Game Gear Sega
Pinball Dreams 2 MS-DOS 21st Century Entertainment
Math Blaster Episode I: In Search of Spot Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System Davidson & Associates Ported only; game developed by Davidson & Associates
1995 Pinball Fantasies Atari Jaguar, Game Boy, PlayStation, Super Nintendo Entertainment System 21st Century Entertainment, GameTek Ported only; game developed by Digital Illusions
Pinball World MS-DOS 21st Century Entertainment, Rebellion Developments N/A
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends Pinball Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS Alternative Software
Pinball Mania Amiga, Game Boy, MS-DOS 21st Century Entertainment, GameTek
1996 Pinball Builder Microsoft Windows 21st Century Entertainment
Total Pinball 3D MS-DOS
as Tarantula Studios
1998 Las Vegas Cool Hand Game Boy, Game Boy Color Take-Two Interactive N/A
Montezuma's Return!
Rats!
1999 Hollywood Pinball Game Boy Color
Space Station Silicon Valley
Three Lions
Jim Henson's Muppets
Evel Knievel Rockstar Games
Grand Theft Auto
2000 Austin Powers: Oh, Behave!
Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair!
Grand Theft Auto 2
Formula One 2000 Take-Two Interactive
2001 Kiss Pinball PlayStation Ported only; game developed by Wildfire Studios
Hidden & Dangerous Ported only; game developed by Illusion Softworks

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hewson, Andrew (9 May 2016). Hints & Tips for Videogame Pioneers (First ed.). Lulu.com. ISBN 9781844991365. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  2. ^ "21st Century Entertainment Ltd R.I.P". pcpinball.com. 10 March 1998. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Johnston, Chris (28 April 2000). "Take 2 Captures Tarantula". GameSpot. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  4. ^ Cleveland, Adam (24 September 1999). "Las Vegas Cool Hand". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Harris, Craig (20 March 2000). "Montezuma's Return". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Cleveland, Adam (29 September 1999). "Rats!". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  7. ^ Harris, Craig (30 July 1999). "Space Station Silicon Valley". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  8. ^ Jones, Tim (20 June 2000). "Space Station Silicon Valley". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  9. ^ Nix, Marc (17 April 2000). "Muppets". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  10. ^ Harris, Craig (17 September 1999). "Evel Knievel". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  11. ^ Harris, Craig (7 December 1999). "Evel Knievel". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Harris, Craig (29 November 1999). "Grand Theft Auto". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  13. ^ Harris, Craig (15 September 1999). "Grand Theft Auto". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  14. ^ Harris, Craig (19 December 2000). "Grand Theft Auto 2". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  15. ^ Harris, Craig (28 June 2000). "Austin Powers: Welcome To My Underground Lair". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  16. ^ Carle, Chris (29 September 2000). "Austin Powers: Welcome To My Underground Lair". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  17. ^ Harris, Craig (28 June 2000). "Austin Powers: Oh Behave!". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  18. ^ Carle, Chris (29 September 2000). "Austin Powers: Oh Behave!". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  19. ^ IGN Nintendo Team (31 October 2008). "Worst Reviewed Nintendo Console Games, Page 1 of 2". IGN. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  20. ^ Smith, David (30 April 2001). "KISS Pinball". IGN. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  21. ^ Hillier, Brenna (27 January 2011). "Rockstar bids farewell to two studio heads". VG247. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  22. ^ Reilly, Jim (26 January 2011). "Rockstar London Studio Head Exits". IGN. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  23. ^ a b Martin, Matt (22 May 2012). "Ex-Rockstar bosses working with Activision Leeds studio". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  24. ^ Alexander, Leigh (27 January 2011). "Rockstar London Studio Head Resigns". Gamasutra. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  25. ^ French, Michael (27 January 2011). "Two Rockstar UK dev execs depart". Develop. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  26. ^ Meer, Alec (27 January 2011). "Exit for Rockstar London and Lincoln studio bosses". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  27. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (22 May 2012). "Report – former Rockstar London bosses sign on with Activision Leeds". VG247. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
  28. ^ Orry, James (9 August 2012). "Former head of Rockstar Leeds joins Activision's mobile studio". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved 9 December 2017. 
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