The lights are on
Today, many gamers think of Crystal Dynamics as the studio
that pulled Tomb Raider back from the brink of irrelevance. Its upcoming reboot
of the series is one of 2013's most anticipated titles. Those with a few more
years under their belts recall the company's glory days in the '90s, when it
was known for the then-edgy platform star Gex and as the publisher of Silicon
Knights' early Legacy of Kain games.
Many people may not know it, but Crystal Dynamics was one of
the greatest incubators of talent in the history of video games. Since its
inception, several ex-Crystal employees have risen to positions of influence
throughout the industry, helping craft multimillion selling and critically
acclaimed franchises along the way. Dead Space, Uncharted, World of Warcraft,
and Grand Theft Auto all had influential designers and producers on their
credits list with Crystal Dynamics backgrounds.
Whether by chance or design, Crystal Dynamics brought
together an incredibly talented group of game developers, many of whom formed
friendships and working relationships that endure to this day.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
gex !!! i had one level to go on old game and a kid deleted my entire memory card :( sadest day as a kid
Nice feature Matt! Love seeing these kinds of stories on GIO, it really shows the talent and depth of the coverage that GI editors are known for in the mag. Good job, and great insight as always.
i loved me some gex :3
TALENTED BUNCH OF PEOPLE RIGHT THERE.
great article! gex and legacy of kain were phenomenal games. loved playing them on my psone and i believe ps2? so happy that they have returned with such a strong game
Put Gex 2 on the PSN plz!
This was an excellent article in the magazine as well as here.
The Legacy of Kain series is absolutely one of my favorites and cemented Crystal Dynamics as a brilliant developer in my mind. I was sad to see them transition to Tomb Raider until they handled that series with grace.
In any case, more soul reaving, please!
I was always intrigued by studios like Crystal Dynamics in the 90's. Guys like them, Psygnosis... they're the developers, but they can also publish other studios' games? That's weird. And it doesn't happen anymore, but it resulted in some great games. Successful studios helping other, smaller studios get their ideas to market - why don't more people do that? I guess that's kind of like Steam Greenlight... I guess.
Crystal D was awesome back in the day. Even if characters like Gex have aged terribly, they were still fun platformers. Total Eclipse was the only reason I recall seeing a 3DO kiosk at a Sears when I was, like, 6. Stuff like Akuji the Heartless were fun and at least as solid as, say, it's contemporaries like Soul Reaver and Shadow Man. Even their "misfires" - like Chaingang (? - I think that's what it was called) - were always, always solid. Legacy of Kain Defiance was amazing. Tomb Raider Legend? Amazing.
I'm absolutely no fan of the current Tomb Raider. It's joyless and bland; there are so many features coming together because they're popular in mainstream games, not because they're meaningful to Tomb Raider in any way. It doesn't need to be a third person shooter. It doesn't need a weakling heroine/bruise factory -- no one needs to feel like they should have to "protect" her. Lara Croft was one of the strongest characters in gaming; one of the most perfect gaming heroes there were. Smart, athletic, lethal - just the kind of character you need for adventures. And the settings in those games were so majestic and had such grandeur, not like the oppressive greys and browns of the new 2013 game. That generic island just screams, "You won't find a good time here" - I'm sick of people automatically saying a game is good looking when what they mean is it's "realistic". Why value realism when all it nets you is such a crappy looking locale? Ugh... but I'm not here to rant about the new Tomb Raider (they really should've just made a new IP then). But I still like Crystal D; I hate their newest game, but I look forward to seeing what they do next regardless. Even if it's just a sequel to Tomb Raider.
What a great article! I used to associate Crystal Dynamics with quality and I thought I was the only one. Real good read.
nice article Matt!
Gex was the bext!