The Five Best Defunct Video Game Developers

The video game world is ever changing, each year new trends and genres emerge and the old guard is often left in the dust. In a world where nothing is forever, all too often, great companies are thrown to the wayside. Be it because of an inability to change, a complete lack of funds, or extraneous circumstances, many great video game developers have wound up as a forgotten, defunct company. These five developers were among the best the industry has ever seen, creating numerous games that are beloved by gamers young and old. Sadly, their work did not save them from the cruel fate of closing, but at least they live on in the hearts of passionate fans.

5) GSC Game World (2005-2011; 2012):


The Ukrainian developer GSC Game World brought the video gaming world the atmospheric and intense S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Their games instantly found a home on the niche PC gaming market and have been consistently successful and listed by many as some of the best games available.

GSC Game World made waves with the announcement of their much-anticipated S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, building the anticipation of PC gamers who were desperate for a return trip to the Zone. However, in 2011, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was said to be cancelled, leading many to believe that the studio was done. The developers themselves denied this rumor, and announced that despite rumors, they would continue to work for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.

Unfortunately, in 2012, GSC did close its doors, and the development team was reformed under the name 4A Games. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. brand still belongs to members of GSC, but nothing has been heard from them in regards to new titles

4) Looking Glass Studios (1990-2000):


Looking Glass Studios made waves in the early 90’s for their innovative and immersive titles that put an emphasis on brilliantly written stories and in-game physics. Looking Glass Studios is best known for their work on the System Shock series and the first two Thief titles.

Looking Glass, despite their ability to innovate and create great video game experiences, was not able to adapt with the changing times, as went defunct after ten great years due to financial woes. As tough as it was to see such a storied developer have to close their doors, members of Looking Glass Studio scattered about the industry; working at such places as Ion Storm, Harmonix, Valve and Irrational Games.

3) Pandemic Studios (1998-2008):


Pandemic Studios created some of the best titles during the heyday of the PS2 era. Responsible for developing the Mercenaries series as well as the beloved first two entries in the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise, Pandemic quickly established themselves as one of the leading studios at the time.

Pandemic’s successful streak led to the developers being purchased by Electronic Arts, after their initial merge with Bioware. What should have been an amazing merger and acquisition unfortunately led to Pandemic’s downfall, as EA infamously cut more than 1,500 jobs in 2009; including the entirety of Pandemic

2) Troika Games (1998-2005):


Troika Games developed three games in their seven year run, each beloved by gamers across the globe. Their most known title, Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines is considered by many to be the one of the RPG genre’s crown jewels.

VtM:B was developed during the infancy of Valve’s Source Engine, and was ultimately released on the same day as Half-Life 2. Despite the praise for the game’s amazingly well-written script and immersive gameplay, VtM:B was plagued by many bugs and sold considerably worse than was expected.

After poor sales and an inability to find funding for their newest project, Troika Games was forced to close their doors in 2005, signaling the end of one of the best RPG developers the industry had ever seen.

1) Team Silent (1999-2004):


Team Silent came and left with a bang that has forever changed how the horror genre works. Consisting of Konami employees, Team Silent created the first four Silent Hill titles; each of which was met with critical praise and staggering sales numbers.

Team Silent’s unique approach to horror and attention to detail made the Silent Hill franchise the best thing to ever happen to the horror genre. Silent Hill and its three sequels are masterful works of psychological horror that have stood the test of time and are still easily four of video gaming’s greatest offerings.

Konami, in a moment of clouded judgment, ultimately made the decision to disband Team Silent after Silent Hill 4: The Room, after deciding to pursue Western developers for future entries in the franchise. The series’ decline after this move is one of gaming’s saddest stories.

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Raymond Porreca

The author Raymond Porreca

Raised on classic role-playing games, Ray’s eternal quest for the next great game has led to him playing everything he can get his hands on. With a passion for every facet of the video game industry, Ray aims to keep readers informed and entertained with every word he writes.