Crystal Dynamics

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Crystal Dynamics, Inc.
IndustryVideo games
FoundedJuly 8, 1992; 29 years ago (1992-07-08)[1]
  • Judy Lang
  • Madeline Canepa
  • Dave Morris
Key people
  • Scot Amos
  • Ron Rosenberg
ParentSquare Enix Europe
SubsidiariesCrystal Northwest
Crystal Southwest

Crystal Dynamics, Inc. is an American video game developer that was founded in 1992 by Judy Lang, Madeline Canepa and Dave Morris. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1998. After Square Enix's acquisition of Eidos in 2009, it became a subsidiary of Square Enix.[2] Crystal Dynamics was the first licensed developer for 3DO. The company's mascot was the video game character Gex the Gecko until 2000.


Crystal Dynamics was formed on 8 July 1992 by Sega veterans Judy Lang, Madeline Canepa, and Dave Morris. Crystal was the first licensed developer for 3DO, a gaming hardware platform simultaneously funded by Kleiner Perkins. Mark Cerny joined the company, but he left to work for Universal Interactive Studios. In 1993, Strauss Zelnick, president of 20th Century Fox's film studio, was hired to run Crystal Dynamics. This made national news and helped to touch off the frenzy of multimedia investments of the mid-1990s.[3] A 1993 editorial in Electronic Gaming Monthly declared that "the hottest new video game company on the upscale scene is definitely Crystal Dynamics."[4]

Due chiefly to the unexpectedly slow growth of the next generation gaming market, Crystal Dynamics's massive expansion in its early years failed to pay off.[5][6] In 1996 new CEO Ted Ardel announced the company was cutting one third of its workforce and stepping aside as a publisher to focus strictly on games development.[5] For several months the company functioned without a president, with Ardel managing the day-to-day operations until Rob Dyer was promoted to president on April 4, 1997.[7]

Crystal Dynamics had been most known for developing entries in the Legacy of Kain and Gex series. The studio was also entrusted the development of the best-selling Tomb Raider franchise after its original developer, Core Design, failed to gain critical or commercial success with their later Tomb Raider games, and released its first game in the series in 2006, Tomb Raider: Legend, which was the fastest-selling game in the series, selling 4.5 million units worldwide.[8][9] Crystal Dynamics co-developed Tomb Raider: Anniversary with developer Buzz Monkey Software. A remake of the first Tomb Raider game, it was released in June 2007. The next installment, Tomb Raider: Underworld, was released in October 2008. Crystal Dynamics' next release was the spin-off title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which did not feature the Tomb Raider branding despite utilizing the lead character.

In 2009, Crystal Dynamics laid off over 30 employees to refocus their efforts on the Tomb Raider games only.[10][11] On January 3, 2012, studio community manager Meagan Marie said that the studio would be revealing a new intellectual property (IP) in 2012.[12] In a podcast, released on June 23, 2012, executive producer Scot Amos said Crystal Dynamics new IP will be "fresh and familiar" and offer a similar experience to the new Tomb Raider game.[13] This was followed by Tomb Raider in 2013, a reboot which introduced a new backstory for Lara.

In December 2015, Square Enix announced that Darrell Gallagher, the studio's head, had left the company. His role in the company was replaced by Scot Amos and Ron Rosenberg.[14] In 2016, Brian Horton, director of the game Rise of the Tomb Raider, left the company. He had previously undertaken the role of senior art director on the Tomb Raider reboot in 2013.[15]

On January 26, 2017, Square Enix announced a partnership with Marvel Entertainment to create multiple video games based on Marvel properties, the first of which was announced as Avengers, based on the comics of the same name, which would be developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.[16]

On August 13, 2018, Square Enix announced that Crystal Dynamics had opened a satellite studio based in Bellevue, Washington called Crystal Northwest, which will assist the development of the Avengers game and future Crystal Dynamics projects.[17]

On May 26, 2021, Crystal Dynamics announced that they opened a new studio based in Austin, Texas, called Crystal Southwest. The studio will be headed by Dallas Dickinson, who worked before as Executive Producer in Crystal Dynamic games. The new studio will be a major part of all current and future Crystal Dynamics titles.[18]

Games developed[edit]


  1. ^ "Crystal Dynamics". Business Search – California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Ransom, James (July 7, 2009). "Eidos dissolved into 'Square Enix Europe,' layoffs likely". Joystiq. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  3. ^ Fisher, Lawrence M. (February 13, 1994). "Sound Bytes; The Not-So-Silent Screen". New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  4. ^ "Gaming Gossip". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 51. Sendai Publishing. October 1993. p. 54.
  5. ^ a b Svensson, Christian (August 1996). "Crystal Dynamics Faces Financial Reality". Next Generation. No. 20. Imagine Media. p. 22.
  6. ^ "Dynamic Changes at Crystal Dynamics". GamePro. No. 96. IDG. September 1996. pp. 20–21.
  7. ^ "Cleaning Time: Corporations Slim Down". Next Generation. No. 31. Imagine Media. July 1997. p. 23.
  8. ^ "InvestEgate, Eidos plc - Interim Results". March 8, 2009. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  9. ^ "SCi Entertainment Group PLC - Investor Relations - RNS Announcement". Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "Lay-offs hit Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics | Game Development | News by Develop". Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  11. ^ "Further layoffs at Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics | Game Development | News by Develop". June 10, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (January 3, 2012). "News: Tomb Raider dev to reveal new IP this year". Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  13. ^ Yin, Wesley (June 25, 2012). "Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics discusses its new IP • News •". Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  14. ^ Phillips, Tom (December 16, 2015). "Crystal Dynamics boss quits after decade at Square Enix". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 16, 2016). "Rise of the Tomb Raider Director Leaves Crystal Dynamics".
  16. ^ Frank, Allegra (January 26, 2017). "Square Enix teams up with Marvel for The Avengers project". Polygon. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  17. ^ Romano, Sal (August 13, 2018). "Crystal Dynamics expands with new Washington studio Crystal Northwest". Gematsu. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  18. ^

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