Cavedog Entertainment's logo
|Headquarters||Bothell, Washington, USA|
|Key people||Ron Gilbert
|Products||Total Annihilation series|
|Employees||approx. 20 (1997)|
|Parent||Division of Humongous Entertainment|
|Website||cavedog.com (archived version 1998-04-28)
cavedog.com (archived version approx. 2000)
Cavedog Entertainment, or Cavedog, was a video game developer based in Bothell, Washington. Cavedog gained the attention of gamers and the gaming press alike with the 1997 release of Total Annihilation (TA), winning many accolades such as multiple Game of the Year honors or being one of The Greatest Games of All Time.
Cavedog Entertainment was a label created in 1996 by Humongous Entertainment, a developer of children's computer games founded by Ron Gilbert and Shelley Day, to pursue the creation of mainstream games. Humongous Entertainment was originally independent, but was purchased in 1996 by GT Interactive, a video game publisher later acquired by Infogrames in 1999 (later renamed to Atari).
In the same year Squaresoft closed its office in Redmond, so many of their former developers were hired for Cavedog, notably game music composer Jeremy Soule and graphics designer Clayton Kauzlaric, who created the logo for Cavedog. After two years of development on Cavedog's first product, Total Annihilation, it was presented at the E3 at Atlanta 1997 and published on September 30, 1997.
The game's creator, Chris Taylor, left the company shortly before the release of the Total Annihilation: Core Contingency expansion pack to found his own development house, Gas Powered Games. Despite this loss, Cavedog released one more expansion pack, Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics, as well as many freely downloadable enhancements and patches, and built strong community support with their own online service Boneyards (now shut down) that matched opponents and provided a continuing game campaign.
In 1999, Cavedog released the eagerly anticipated Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. TA:Kingdoms largely reused the TA game engine, replacing the science fiction theme with one of fantasy. TA:Kingdoms did not resonate as well with critics or fans of the original title. One expansion pack was released, The Iron Plague.
The closure of Cavedog came as the game industry began to experience a downturn in sales, to which parent company GT Interactive was no exception. Besides the TA franchise, Cavedog had three ambitious games in development, but only Total Annihilation and TA:Kingdoms made it to store shelves and their sales were much smaller than their user base.
The unfinished projects were Amen: The Awakening, a first-person shooter; Elysium, a fantasy adventure title, and Good & Evil, an adventure title from Ron Gilbert. With GT Interactive spiraling into debt and no ship dates in sight, all three were discontinued by the Fall of 1999. GT Interactive was purchased by Infogrames and the Cavedog label was discarded by Humongous Entertainment in 2000, which renewed its focus on children's games. Cavedog declared bankruptcy in 2000. Humongous Entertainment was shut down in 2005 by Infogrames (now called Atari). Cavedog's developers have played significant roles at Gas Powered Games and Beep Industries.
- "GT INTERACTIVE LAUNCHES CAVEDOG ENTERTAINMENT, A NEW INTERNAL SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT STUDIO". gtinteractive.com. 1997-02-05. Archived from the original on 1997-05-30. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
- Keighley, Geoff (1997-06-09). "TA-Team". gameslice.com. Archived from the original on 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- "Game of the Year". Best & Worst Awards 1997. GameSpot. 1998-01-31. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- Kasavin, Greg (2004-03-26). "Armed to the Core: Total Annihilation". The Greatest Games of All Time. GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- Keighley, Geoffrey (2007). "The Total Annihilation: The Story So Far". gamespot.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- Keefer III, John. "Cavedog: Annihilation, Aggravation and Anticipation". GameSpy. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Kauzlaric, Clayton (2006-10-02). "TA-ncient History #4: Dogs, Yaks & Boron". Ton of Clay. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- Bye, John (June 25, 2001). "The Death Of the Celebrity Studio". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 27, 2007. "One by one their other projects were cancelled as it became obvious that the games were simply far too ambitious, until in February 2000 the company was closed down entirely and its remaining staff absorbed into parent company Humongous."