Core Design

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Rebellion (Derby) Ltd
FormerlyCore Design Limited (1988–2006)
IndustryVideo games
Founded13 May 1988; 35 years ago (1988-05-13)
Defunct17 March 2010 (2010-03-17)
ProductsRick Dangerous series
Chuck Rock series
Thunderhawk series
Tomb Raider series
Fighting Force series
Number of employees
5 (2010)

Core Design Limited (known as Rebellion (Derby) Ltd between 2006 and 2010) was a British video game developer based in Derby. Founded in May 1988 by former Gremlin Graphics employees, it originally bore the name Megabrite until rebranding as Core Design in October the same year. The company was acquired by umbrella company CentreGold in December 1994, which in turn was acquired by Eidos Interactive in April 1996. In May 2006, the Core Design personnel and assets were acquired by Rebellion Developments, and the company became Rebellion Derby, which was then shut down in March 2010.


Based in the city of Derby, England, Core Design was founded in 1988 by Chris Shrigley, Andy Green, Rob Toone, Terry Lloyd, Simon Phipps, Dave Pridmore, Jeremy Heath-Smith, Kevin Norburn and Greg Holmes. Most were former employees of Gremlin Graphics.[1] The studio was part of distribution company CentreGold when it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1996.[1] Heath-Smith regarded the acquisition as a relief, commenting, "The funding of development is so expensive that I doubt we could have continued to fund ourselves as an independent company."[2] Eidos subsequently sold most of CentreGold, but retained U.S. Gold, the owners of Core Design.

The company is widely known for the Tomb Raider series. The first game was created by Toby Gard and Paul Douglas, released in 1996, and followed by several sequels. The success of the first Tomb Raider has been credited with making Eidos Interactive a major force in the industry,[2] and turned Eidos's 1996 pretax loss of $2.6 million into a $14.5 million profit.[3] In September 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment's U.S. arm, SCEA, signed an agreement with Eidos[4][5] to keep the franchise exclusive to the PlayStation console. The deal was extended to include Tomb Raider III. Fourth and fifth games in the franchise, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and Tomb Raider: Chronicles respectively, followed.

After the critical failure of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness in 2003, parent company Eidos put Crystal Dynamics, another Eidos-owned studio, in charge of Tomb Raider franchise development.[6] This prompted members of the Core Design management team, including Heath-Smith, and development staff to leave the company and establish a new company, Circle Studio.[7]

In May 2006, Eidos announced that independent developer Rebellion Developments had acquired Core Design's assets and staff,[8] while the Core brand and intellectual property, including Tomb Raider, remained in Eidos' possession.[9][10]

In June 2006, Crystal Dynamics was confirmed to have a PSP anniversary edition of the original Tomb Raider in development.[11] Remnants of the Core Design team (under the banner of Rebellion) went on to work on several titles in years since, including Shellshock 2: Blood Trails and Rogue Warrior.[12] Starting in January 2010, due to an expiring lease on Rebellion Derby's offices, Rebellion Developments started seeking restructuring opportunities for the studio.[13] As no other possibility than closure was found, Rebellion Derby was closed down effective on 17 March 2010.[14]


In July 2010, shortly after the closure of the studio, a nearby road in Derby was named "Lara Croft Way", in honour of the studio's contribution to the creative industries.[15]

Games developed[edit]

Year Game Platform(s)
1988 Action Fighter Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
1989 Dynamite Düx
Rick Dangerous Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Saint and Greavsie Amiga
Switchblade Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
1990 Torvak the Warrior Amiga, Atari ST
Corporation Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Computer Game Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Axel's Magic Hammer Amiga, Atari ST
Impossamole Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Turbografx-16
Rick Dangerous 2 Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
CarVup Amiga
1991 War Zone
Chuck Rock Acorn, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Sega CD, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, SNES
Heimdall Acorn, Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Sega CD
Frenetic Amiga, Atari ST
1992 Doodlebug
Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck Amiga, CD32, Sega CD, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Master System
Curse of Enchantia Amiga, MS-DOS
Hook Sega CD, Sega Genesis
Premiere Amiga, CD32
The Adventurers Amiga
Thunderhawk Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Sega CD
Wolfchild Amiga, Atari ST, Sega CD, Game Gear, Sega Genesis, SNES
Jaguar XJ220 Amiga, Sega CD
Wonder Dog
1993 Asterix and the Great Rescue Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Master System
Encore MS-DOS
Blastar Amiga
1994 Corkers
BC Racers Sega 32X, 3DO, Sega CD, MS-DOS
Heimdall 2 Amiga, CD32, MS-DOS
Banshee Amiga, CD32
Battlecorps Sega CD
Bubba 'n' Stix Amiga, CD32, Sega Genesis
1995 Skeleton Krew
Asterix and the Power of the Gods Sega Genesis
The Big Red Adventure Amiga, MS-DOS
Shellshock MS-DOS, PlayStation, Saturn
The Scottish Open: Virtual Golf
Firestorm: Thunderhawk 2
1996 Tomb Raider
Blam! Machinehead PlayStation, Saturn
1997 Swagman
Fighting Force Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
Tomb Raider II
1998 Ninja: Shadow of Darkness PlayStation
Tomb Raider III Classic Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
1999 Fighting Force 2 Dreamcast, PlayStation
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
2000 Tomb Raider: Chronicles
Tomb Raider Game Boy Color
2001 Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword
Project Eden Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
Thunderhawk: Operation Phoenix PlayStation 2
2002 Herdy Gerdy
Tomb Raider: The Prophecy Game Boy Advance
2003 Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2
2005 Smart Bomb PlayStation Portable
2007 Free Running


  1. ^ a b Moss, Richard (31 March 2015). ""It felt like robbery": Tomb Raider and the fall of Core Design". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b Rider, David; Semrad, Ed (December 1997). "British Invasion". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 101. Ziff Davis. pp. 168, 175.
  3. ^ Newsweek staff (9 November 1997). "Lara Croft, The Bit Girl". Newsweek Inc.
  4. ^ "Sony Computer Entertainment America Signs Exclusive Deal with Eidos for Tomb Raider Franchise; Lara Croft Videogames to Be Exclusive to the PlayStation for Game Consoles" (Press release). Foster City, Calif.: Sony Computer Entertainment America. 18 September 1997. Archived from the original on 17 May 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Sony Computer Entertainment America Signs Exclusive Deal with Eidos for Tomb Raider Franchise; Lara Croft Videogames to Be Exclusive to the PlayStation for Game Consoles". Business Wire. CBS Interactive Business UK. 18 September 1997. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Lara leaves UK". BBC News. 31 July 2003. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  7. ^ Fox, Fennec (15 July 2003). "Tomb Raider Co-Creator Steps Down". Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  8. ^ Gibson, Ellie (16 June 2006). "Rebellion acquires Core Design staff and assets".
  9. ^ Elliott, Phil (16 June 2006). "Rebellion finalizes Core buyout". GameSpot.
  10. ^ "History of the company". Core Design. 2006: The company is acquired by Rebellion (Rebellion Derby), but Eidos retains the name and IPs. Rebellion Derby closed its doors later in 2010.
  11. ^ McWhertor, Michael (17 June 2006). "PSP: Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition Cancelled, Announced". Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  12. ^ Robinson, Martin (14 January 2010). "Aliens vs. Predator Campaign Hands-on". Retrieved 18 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Rebellion confirms restructure - MCV/DEVELOP". MCV. 12 January 2010.
  14. ^ "Rebellion confirms Derby closure, cuts at Oxford studio". 17 March 2010.
  15. ^ "20 years on, the Tomb Raider story told by the people who were there". Eurogamer. 30 October 2016.