Core Design

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Core Design Ltd.
Industry Video game industry
Fate Liquidated[1]
Successor Rebellion Derby
Founded May 13, 1988; 28 years ago (1988-05-13)
Defunct 2010 (2010)
Headquarters Derby, England
Key people
Jeremy Heath-Smith, Adrian Smith, Gavin Rummery, Toby Gard
Parent Rebellion Developments
Website Official Site
archived until 2008

Core Design Ltd. (stylised as CORE Design) was a British video game developer best known for Chuck Rock, Rick Dangerous and Tomb Raider franchises. It was owned by British publisher Eidos Interactive for most of its history. The studio closed in 2006.[1]


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.[2] The studio was part of distribution company CentreGold when it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1996.[2] Eidos subsequently sold most of CentreGold, but retained U.S. Gold, the owners of Core Design. Core had a brief history of producing titles for the Sega consoles,[2] such as Thunderhawk for Mega-CD and the original Tomb Raider game for the Saturn.

Tomb Raider[edit]

The company is widely known for the Tomb Raider series, created by Toby Gard and Paul Howard Douglas, which was released in 1996 and followed by several sequels. The success of Tomb Raider and its subsequent sequels played a huge part in keeping Eidos Interactive financially solvent.[citation needed] After the successful[3] Saturn debut of the original Tomb Raider a full month and a half ahead of the PlayStation version, Sony decided to use the brand to boost sales of its own console.[citation needed] In September 1997, Sony's U.S. arm, SCEA, signed an exclusivity deal with Eidos[4][5] to keep the franchise on their consoles. The agreement was extended to include Tomb Raider III. The fourth and fifth games in the franchise, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and Tomb Raider Chronicles respectively, were released for Sega Dreamcast.

Later years[edit]

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 three key members of the Core Design team and several others to leave the company and establish a development company of their own, Circle Studio.[7]

Sale to Rebellion[edit]

In May 2006, Eidos announced that independent developer Rebellion Developments had acquired Core Designs' assets and staff,[1] while the Core brand and intellectual property, including Tomb Raider, remained in Eidos' possession.[8][9]

In June 2006, Crystal Dynamics was confirmed to have a PSP anniversary edition of the original Tomb Raider in development.[10] 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.[11] The Derby studio was closed by Rebellion in March 2010[2] due to an expiring lease and the inability for the company to find a financier for the studio.

Games developed and published[edit]

According to GamesTM, Core Design had "over fifty successful titles under its belt such as Rick Dangerous, Curse of Enchantia and Premiere. However, the company is best known for creating and milking Tomb Raider series for all its worth."[12]

Year Game Platform(s)
1988 Action Fighter Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
1989 Dynamite Düx
Rick Dangerous Amiga, Atari ST, 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, DOS
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Computer Game Amiga, Atari ST, 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, 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, Genesis, SNES
Heimdall Acorn, Amiga, Atari ST, DOS, Sega CD
Frenetic Amiga, Atari ST
1992 Doodlebug
Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck Amiga, CD32, Sega CD, Game Gear, Genesis, Master System
Curse of Enchantia Amiga, DOS
Hook Sega CD, Genesis
Premiere Amiga, CD32
The Adventurers Amiga
Thunderhawk Amiga, DOS, Sega CD
Wolfchild Amiga, Atari ST, Sega CD, Game Gear, Genesis, SNES
Jaguar XJ220 Amiga, Sega CD
Wonder Dog
1993 Asterix and the Great Rescue Game Gear, Genesis, Master System
Encore DOS
Blastar Amiga
1994 Corkers
BC Racers 32X, 3DO, Sega CD
Heimdall 2 Amiga, CD32, DOS
Banshee Amiga, CD32
Battlecorps Sega CD
Bubba 'n' Stix Amiga, CD32, Genesis
1995 Skeleton Krew
Asterix and the Power of the Gods Genesis
The Big Red Adventure DOS
Shellshock PC, PlayStation, Saturn
Firestorm: Thunderhawk 2
1996 Tomb Raider
The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga Saturn
Blam! Machinehead a PlayStation, Saturn
Virtual Golf
1997 Swagman
Fighting Force PC, PlayStation
Tomb Raider II b
1998 Ninja: Shadow of Darkness PlayStation
Tomb Raider III b Mac, PC, PlayStation
1999 Fighting Force 2 Dreamcast, PlayStation
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation Dreamcast, PC, PlayStation
2000 Tomb Raider Chronicles
Tomb Raider Game Boy Color
2001 Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword
Project Eden PC, PlayStation 2
Thunderhawk: Operation Phoenix PlayStation 2
2002 Herdy Gerdy
2002 Tomb Raider: The Prophecy Game Boy Advance
2003 Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness Mac, PC, PlayStation 2
2005 Smart Bomb PlayStation Portable
a Released in North America as Machinehead.
b Released on the PlayStation system.


  1. ^ a b c Gibson, Ellie (16 June 2006). "Rebellion acquires Core Design staff and assets". 
  2. ^ a b c d 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. 
  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. 
  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. ^ Elliott, Phil (16 June 2006). "Rebellion finalizes Core buyout". GameSpot. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ McWhertor, Michael (17 June 2006). "PSP: Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition Cancelled, Announced". Retrieved 1 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Robinson, Martin (14 January 2010). "Aliens vs. Predator Campaign Hands-on". Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  12. ^ gamesTM Issue 5, p. 71. Imagine Publishing

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