Rockstar Toronto

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Rockstar Games Toronto ULC
Rockstar Toronto
Formerly
  • Imagexcel
  • (1988–1995)
  • GameTek Canada
  • (1995–1999)
  • Rockstar Canada Inc.
  • (1999–2002)
  • Rockstar Toronto Inc.
  • (2002–2012)
  • Rockstar Games Toronto Inc.
  • (2012)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1988; 30 years ago (1988)
Headquarters Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Kevin Hoare (studio director)
Parent

Rockstar Games Toronto ULC (formerly Imagexcel, GameTek Canada and Rockstar Canada Inc.), doing business as Rockstar Toronto, is a Canadian video game developer based in Oakville, Ontario. The company was established in 1988 as Imagexcel, and became part of GameTek's Alternative Reality Technology (ART) subsidiary in March 1995. The studio was acquired by Take-Two Interactive in July 1997, as part of ART being sold off, and became part of Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Games label in 1999 as Rockstar Canada. In August 2002, the company was renamed Rockstar Toronto to avoid confusion with the newly-acquired Rockstar Vancouver.

Rockstar Toronto has primarily been a porting house for games developed by other subsidiaries of Rockstar Games, but also developed the 2005 game The Warriors, based on the 1979 film of the same name, and co-developed Max Payne 3, as part of Rockstar Studios, in 2011. Following the release of Max Payne 3, Rockstar Vancouver was folded and merged into Rockstar Toronto, with the resulting company moving into new, bigger offices.

History

As Imagexcel and GameTek Canada (1988–1999)

Imagexcel was founded around 1988, as a sister company to Gray Matter. Under that name, the company produced games such as Techno Cop (1988) and The Ultimate Ride (1990), together with Gray Matter, with their final game under the Imagexcel having been Quarantine (1994).[1][2]

On 9 March 1995, the company was announced to have been acquired by Alternative Reality Technology (ART), a subsidiary of GameTek, becoming GameTek Canada.[3] The acquisition was completed by 7 April 1995.[4] As part of ART, the company developed Quarantine II: Road Warrior, which was released in 1996,[5] and Dark Colony, which was released in 1997.[6] On 31 July 1997, Take-Two Interactive announced that they had acquired several assets from GameTek, including ART with GameTek Canada, GameTek's European offices, and distribution rights to GameTek's Dark Colony, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune games.[7]

As part of Rockstar Games (1999–present)

In early 1999, GameTek Canada was merged out of ART and was turned into Rockstar Canada, a new studio in Take-Two Interactive's newly-established Rockstar Games label. Although their first duties covered creating two Grand Theft Auto expansion packs, London 1969 and Lonson 1961,[8] their primary tasks later became ports of titles published by Rockstar Games to PlayStation 2, that being Oni (2001)[9] and Max Payne (2001).[10]

On 1 August 2002, Take-Two Interactive announced the acquisition of Barking Dog Studios, which would be renamed Rockstar Vancouver.[11] As part of the acquisition, Rockstar Canada would be renamed Rockstar Toronto to avoid confusion between the two.[12] Alongside the acquisition, Take-Two Interactive announced that the now-renamed Rockstar Toronto was working on a video game adaptation of the 1979 Walter Hill-directed film The Warriors.[13][14] The eponymous game was first shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May 2005,[15] and released in October that year.[16][17] The game was well received,[18][19] and a PlayStation Portable conversion of it was developed by Rockstar Toronto in conjunction with Rockstar Leeds.[20] A spiritual successor to The Warriors, tentatively titled We Are the Mods, was originally planned, but cancelled.[21][22]

Following the release of The Warriors, Rockstar Toronto returned to being mostly a porting house, though instead of PlayStation 2, the focus shifted to Wii, porting Manhunt 2 (2007)[23][24][25][26] and Bully: Scholarship Edition (2008),[27][28] and later to Microsoft Windows, porting Grand Theft Auto IV (2008, in association with Rockstar New England)[29] and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (2010, comprising the two 2009-released Grand Theft Auto IV expoansions packs, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony). In September 2008, Rockstar Toronto was rumoured to be working on a third instalment in the Max Payne series.[30][31][32] In November 2010, Rockstar Toronto teasted to be working on next-generation games.[33] The company proceeded to collaborate with all other Rockstar Games subsidiaries, collectively referred to as Rockstar Studios, on Max Payne 3 (2012), and ported the game Microsoft Windows and macOS.[34]

On 9 July 2012, two months after the release of Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games announced that Rockstar Toronto would be moving into a new, bigger, and custom-built studio within their Oakville, Ontario location, into which Rockstar Vancouver would be merged,[35] effectively closing it and disbanding the "Rockstar Vancouver" name.[36][37] All of Rockstar Vancouver's 35 employees at the time were given the posibility to move to the newly-expanded Rockstar Toronto, or any other Rockstar Games studio.[38][39] The expansion and move was partially financed by the Government of Ontario.[40][41] Jennifer Kolbe, vice-president of publishing and operations at Rockstar Games, stated that the move intended to make a single Canadian team that "will make for a powerful creative force on future projects",[42][43] and aimed at making room for 50 new positions at the company.[44][45] On 22 November 2012, the company was legally renamed from Rockstar Toronto Inc., over Rockstar Games Toronto Inc.,[46] to Rockstar Games Toronto ULC, as such becoming an unlimited liability corporation under the laws of British Columbia.[47]

By July 2013, job postings again started teasing next-generation development at Rockstar Toronto.[48] The studio has most recently assisted Rockstar North on developing Grand Theft Auto V, which first released in September 2013, as well as handling its Microsoft Windows port, which released in April 2015.[49] For the Microsoft Windows versions of Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V, respectively, Rockstar Toronto developed a built-in video editor for footage captured in-game.[50][51] Journalists remarked Grand Theft Auto V's Microsoft Windows version as its "ultimate version".[52]

Games developed

Year Name Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
as Imagexcel
1988 Techno Cop Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum Gremlin Graphics, U.S. Gold, RazorSoft Co-developed with Gray Matter
1990 The Ultimate Ride Amiga, Atari ST Mindscape
1994 Quarantine 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Sega Saturn GameTek N/A
as GameTek Canada
1996 Quarantine II: Road Warrior MS-DOS Mindscape, GameTek N/A
1997 Dark Colony Classic Mac OS, Microsoft Windows Strategic Simulations
as Rockstar Canada
1999 Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, PlayStation Rockstar Games Expansion pack for Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 Microsoft Windows
2001 Oni PlayStation 2 Ported only; game developed by Bungie West
Max Payne PlayStation 2 Ported only; game developed by Remedy Entertainment
as Rockstar Toronto
2005 The Warriors PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox Rockstar Games N/A
2007 Manhunt 2 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii Support developer for Rockstar London; also ported to Wii
2008 Bully: Scholarship Edition Microsoft Windows, Wii, Xbox 360 Support developer for Mad Doc Software; also ported to Wii
Grand Theft Auto IV Microsoft Windows Ported only, together with Rockstar New England; game developed by Rockstar North
2010 Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Microsoft Windows
2012 Max Payne 3 macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Developed as part of Rockstar Studios; also ported to Microsoft Windows
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Support developer for Rockstar North; also ported to Microsoft Windows
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 PlayStation 4, Xbox One Developed as part of Rockstar Studios

References

  1. ^ O'Connor, Alice (15 January 2015). "Have You Played… Quarantine?". rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  2. ^ "QUARANTINE CD-ROM from Gametek/Imagexcel". www.ibiblio.org. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  3. ^ "GameTek's Alternative Reality Technology division acquires Imagexcel, opens Canadian office. – Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  4. ^ "GAMETEK ACQUIRES IMAGEXCEL ASSETS". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  5. ^ O'Connor, Alice (31 October 2015). "Have You Played… Quarantine II: Road Warrior?". rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  6. ^ Soete, Tim (19 September 1997). "Dark Colony Review". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  7. ^ Johnston, Chris (26 April 2000). "GameTek Assets Sold to Take 2". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ Zwiezen, Zack. "Ranking The Grand Theft Auto Games, From Worst To Best". kotaku.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Guns, And Fists, for Hire". The New York Times. 25 January 2001. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  10. ^ Gestalt (4 August 2001). "Payne gets some consolation". eurogamer.net. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  11. ^ Gestalt (1 August 2002). "Rockstar Ate My (Barking) Dog". eurogamer.net. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Take-Two Acquires Barking Dog Studios". gamasutra.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ IGN (1 August 2002). "Come Out to Play-i-ay". ign.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  14. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (1 August 2002). "Take-Two Delivers The Warriors". ign.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  15. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (12 May 2005). "Pre-E3 2005: The Warriors: From Film to Game". ign.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  16. ^ "The Warriors hands-on". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  17. ^ "The Warriors". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  18. ^ Navarro, Alex (20 October 2005). "The Warriors Review". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  19. ^ Staff, Gamespot (8 February 2007). "The Warriors Fighting Styles Spotlight". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Rockstar Games Announces The Warriors for the PSP®(PlayStation®Portable) System". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  21. ^ Good, Owen. "Rockstar Had Planned a 'Spiritual Successor' to The Warriors". kotaku.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  22. ^ "The Warriors rages onto PSN next week as PS2 Classic". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Rockstar reveals Manhunt 2 for the PS2, PSP, and ... Wii". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Rockstar reveals Manhunt 2 for the Wii". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Manhunt 2 coming to the PS2, PSP, and... Wii?". arstechnica.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  26. ^ Carless, Simon. "Rockstar To Debut Manhunt 2 For Wii, PS2, PSP". gamasutra.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  27. ^ Anderson, Luke (21 January 2008). "Bully: Scholarship Edition Impressions". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  28. ^ Makuch, Eddie (25 November 2013). "Take-Two files new Bully trademark in Europe". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  29. ^ Robinson, Martin (30 October 2008). "Grand Theft Auto IV UK Hands-on". ign.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Rumor: Max Payne 3 In Development at Rockstar Toronto? – Gematsu". gematsu.com. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Rumorang: Max Payne 3 won't stay dead". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  32. ^ "Rumor: Max Payne 3 in development at Rockstar Toronto". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  33. ^ "Rockstar Toronto "working away on games for current and next-gen consoles" – Gematsu". gematsu.com. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  34. ^ "PC port of GTA 5 is being handled by Max Payne 3 team – rumour". vg247.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  35. ^ Lien, Tracey (9 July 2012). "Rockstar expands Toronto studio, closes Vancouver studio". Polygon. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Rockstar Vancouver shut down, Rockstar Toronto absorbing staff – MCV UK". mcvuk.com. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  37. ^ "Rockstar Vancouver merged into Toronto team". vg247.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  38. ^ "Rockstar Toronto getting a new place, Vancouver moving in". destructoid.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  39. ^ "Rockstar Vancouver studio closed, staff asked to join new facility in Toronto". engadget.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  40. ^ "Rockstar Vancouver closing, absorbed by Rockstar Toronto". Shacknews. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Max Payne 3 Vancouver studio closing as Rockstar expands Toronto studio – GameZone". gamezone.com. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Rockstar Vancouver closes, shuffles employees to Toronto". gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  43. ^ "Rockstar Games expands Toronto development studio". gamesradar.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  44. ^ Curtis, Tom. "Max Payne 3 developer Rockstar Vancouver closing its doors". gamasutra.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  45. ^ Purchese, Robert (10 July 2012). "Rockstar closing Max Payne 3 studio in Vancouver". eurogamer.net. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  46. ^ "Corporate Registry Notices – November 29, 2012". www.bclaws.ca. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  47. ^ "Corporate Registry Notices – November 29, 2012". www.bclaws.ca. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  48. ^ "Rockstar Toronto Developing Next-Gen Open World Game – GameRevolution". gamerevolution.com. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Hands on with GTA V on PC: the "ultimate" port". pcgamesn.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  50. ^ Bramwell, Tom (21 November 2008). "More from the GTA IV PC video editor". eurogamer.net. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  51. ^ "Rockstar details GTA 5 PC's director mode". pcgamer.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  52. ^ Makuch, Eddie (9 April 2015). "GTA 5 PC Is the "Ultimate" Version". gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
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