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lordnikon
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Posted:
Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:31 am
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The company that developed such games as Starlancer for the PC and Dreamcast, as well as its sequel title Freelancer, is closing up shop. Founded by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame, Digital Anvil was bought out by Microsoft shortly after Starlancerís release. Mr. Roberts then left the company to pursue other interests, but acted as a consultant for Freelancer.

Both Starlancer and Freelancer are seen by the industry at large as key titles in the Space Sim genre. Starlancer was one of the better titles to take advantage of the Dreamcastís optional Windows CE development environment, and made the transition very well to the platform. As it stands today, it is one of the centerpiece games for Dreamcast Online gaming, and I can only hope that the employees who worked on Starlancer someday learn of its role in the community.

Digital Anvil only left their mark on a few titles over the past 10 years. You have to wonder why this company didnít output more material over this time period. Digital Anvilís last game, Brute Force for the Xbox, was released back in 2003. What has the company been doing over the past 2 years? I have not been able to find an accurate answer on this. This may have had some impact on the closing of the company.

The employees will be offered a position at Microsoft Game Studios in Redmond, Washington as an option.


Last edited by lordnikon on Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lozz
rank 41
Posted:
Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:45 am
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this is a shame, will it affect the online play at all?
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lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:35 am
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I sort of avoided this in the main post since I didn't want to confuse anyone thinking the game was shutting down. Which it isn't. Atleast as far as I know. So far Starlancer's online capabilities are still functional and this game will most likely continue to be supported by GameSpy.

If the network functions are terminated, nobody needs to worry. Through the research and testing of myself, as well as the programmer I have been working with over the course of the last year, an alternative is available.

So starlancer is online forever. I have mentioned this in the past briefly in a thread in the Starlancer forum, however I have been waiting for the official announcement until the software and a proper tutorial is publically available.
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Mertens
rank 14
Posted:
Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:33 pm
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Meh, I think I'm only disappointed for nostalgia's sake. Since the company was bought by microsoft, and I never had an intention of buying an Xbox or 360 (unless they released new Starlancer/Freelancer and Colony Wars games), it wouldn't effect me positively if they were still making games. I wonder if the team will go form their own company again, or are they bound to contracts (or benefits) with Microsoft?
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lordnikon
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Posted:
Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:05 pm
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Well once the team was absorbed into Microsoft, they worked on FreeLancer, with Chris Roberts consulting as an outsider. Then he moved onto other things entirely. The team then worked on "Brute Force". A game that, while well developed, fell squarely into the rut of games being released on the Xbox in America. A PC-esque online shooter. Afterall the game did start out as a PC title to begin with, then MS wanted it to be an Xbox exclusive.

Starlancer and Freelancer were memorable titles that carved their own nitch. Starlancer was the heir to Wing Commander, and Freelancer took the game even further and is one of, if not the best mod communities surrounding a space sim. On top of that you just don't see developers making these types of games anymore. Which is shocking, because the space sim genre seems to have a more epic game experience than your average FPS, if not equal.

I was not saddened by the closing of the studio at all. I merely find it to be interesting as a story in the timeline of Dreamcast Online. In-fact their next game most likely would have been another stereotypical game that did nothing new but was well developed.

The problem with Digital Anvil is that once Chris Roberts left, the team had little to no leadership. Thus they lost their originality and became just another link in the chain at Microsoft.

I do not think the employees will form their own company. Maybe 1 person would splinter off from the original team and do something, but that is doubtfull. Most of them, at this stage, were drones. Very talented people who need leadership in order to get something accomplished. They will probobly take a new job at Microsoft, or find a new position at another company.
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freshcut_t70
banned!
Posted:
Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:18 pm
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I have Brute Force for the Xbox and i enjoyed the game, i had no idea that these guys has worked Stralncer and Freelancer as well. I hope the guys who went to work at Microsoft continue to make some great games, I would love to see somegames for the 360 come from them.
 
loki101
rank 5
Posted:
Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:03 pm
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i can't believe what i'm hearing ... digital anvil...being bought off by microsoft? nooooooooo
it seems that every game company absorbed by turns into crap take RARE fore instance .
all i think is they are trying to steal the competition by buying up all these mad nice companies and as you said lord nikon turning them into drones i hate that .
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SNK 47
unknown
Posted:
Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:18 pm
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Haven't got the game so can't check, but i thought Warthog were involved in making Starlancer Question . No doubt they have been bought out also.
 
lordnikon
rank 86
Posted:
Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:13 pm
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I believe warthog may have had a part in "porting" starlancer. Whereas DigitalAnvil were the original creative people beind making the game in the first place. Crave published the game, but they might have been involved in porting as well. I am not really sure. I would have to do more research on who did what in terms of porting it to the DC.

Warthog was bought out by Gizmondo, and since that company was a mafia run scam, Warthog perished in the process. I heard the members of that company dispersed. Some finding jobs in the game industry, and some not.
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