Big Huge Games

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Big Huge Games
Former type Subsidiary
Industry Computer and video games
Fate Bankruptcy
Founded February 2000 (2000-02)
Defunct May 2012 (2012-05)
Headquarters Timonium, Maryland, United States
Key people
Products Rise of Nations series

Big Huge Games was a video game developer located in Timonium, Maryland. The company was founded in February 2000 by four veteran game industry developers: Tim Train, David Inscore, Jason Coleman and Brian Reynolds (lead designer of Alpha Centauri, et al.). Their first game, Rise of Nations, was a critical and commercial hit. The studio became defunct as of May 2012.


Reynolds at E3 in 2003

Although Brian Reynolds was a founding member of Firaxis Games, he and the others left Firaxis to found a new company based on their desire to apply the complexity and concepts of the turn-based strategy genre to the real-time strategy genre.[2]

In February 2007, Big Huge Games announced that Ken Rolston, the lead designer behind The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, had come out of retirement to join the company as Lead Designer on an untitled role playing game (RPG).[3] Later that May it was announced that THQ would publish the title in 2009.[4] This marked the first title from Big Huge Games that was not distributed by Microsoft.

Acquisition by THQ[edit]

On January 15, 2008, THQ acquired the developer.[5]

On July 30, 2008, Grant Kirkhope joined the Big Huge Games team as an Audio Director. He had previously worked for Rare, composing for the Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark games (among others).[6]

On March 18, 2009, THQ announced that due to declining economic conditions, it would close Big Huge Games unless an outside buyer could be found in the next 60 days.[7]

Acquisition by 38 Studios[edit]

On May 27, 2009, 38 Studios announced that they were acquiring Big Huge Games and retaining 70 employees out of approximately 120 who were at THQ.[8]

From mid-2009 to January 2012, Big Huge Games developed a single player role playing game titled Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was released in early February 2012 and published by Electronic Arts (EA) and 38 Studios for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The game is set in a fantasy world created with input from R A Salvatore and Todd McFarlane.

It was reported on May 24, 2012 that the studio and their parent company 38 Studios had laid off their entire staff.[9][10]

Formation of Epic Baltimore[edit]

In June 2012, Epic Games announced the opening of a new studio in Baltimore called Epic Baltimore. The studio consists of a significant portion of ex-Big Huge developers.[11] It was later renamed Impossible Studios. Impossible Studios was officially closed on February 8, 2013.[12]

Game engine[edit]

Big Huge Games made use of their internally developed game engine, the '"Big Huge Engine", in both Rise of Nations and Catan. The engine features support for a variety of applications and technologies, including physics, artificial intelligence, animation, and others.[13]

Games developed[edit]

Title Genre Notes
2003 Rise of Nations Real-time strategy
2004 Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots Real-time strategy Expansion pack
2006 Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends Real-time strategy
2007 Catan Turn-based strategy Xbox Live Arcade
2007 Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Real-time strategy Expansion pack
2012 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Action role-playing game Co-developed with 38 Studios


At the time of their move from THQ to 38 Studios, Big Huge Games was working on two large game projects, which are now canceled.[14]


  1. ^ Fear, Ed (May 27, 2009). "38 Studios snaps up Big Huge Games". Develop. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  2. ^ "Brian Reynolds interview on GameSpy". GameSpy. 2002-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  3. ^ "Acclaimed 'Oblivion' Designer Heads To Big Huge Games". 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-05-03.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ "Big Huge Games RPG Gets Publisher, Date". 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-05-03.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ Gamasutra: THQ Acquires BHG
  6. ^ Music 4 Games: Grant Kirkhope resigns from Rare, joins Big Huge Games as Audio Director
  7. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2009-03-18). "THQ Cuts Down Big Huge Games, Lets Go Two More". Kotaku. 
  8. ^ Dance, Scott (2009-05-27). "Big Huge Games acquired by Curt Schilling's 38 Studios". Washington Business Journal. 
  9. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "38 Studios and Big Huge Games lay off entire staffs [update]". Joystiq. 
  10. ^ Narcisse, Evan. "38 Studios and Big Huge Games Shutting Down [UPDATE]". 
  11. ^ Big Huge Games Resurrected as "Epic Games Baltimore"
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Big Huge Engine". Big Huge Games. Archived from the original on 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-07. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Big Huge Games Experiences Big Huge Media Leak, Oblivion Designer's Game Reportedly Canceled". Chris Fayler, Shack News. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  15. ^ "BHG and THQ join hands". THQ Investor Relations. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  16. ^ a b Plunkett, Luke (April 9, 2009). "What Were Big Huge Games Working On (And Have They Found A Buyer)?". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  17. ^ "BHG Big Huge Games now working on Wii title". 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 

External links[edit]