Firaxis Games

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Firaxis Games, Inc.
Formerly
Firaxis Software, Inc. (1996–1997)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedMay 1, 1996; 22 years ago (1996-05-01) in Hunt Valley, Maryland, U.S.
Founders
HeadquartersSparks, Maryland, United States
Key people
ProductsSee List of games by Firaxis Games
Number of employees
Increase 180 (2015)
Parent2K Games (2005–present)
Websitefiraxis.com

Firaxis Games, Inc. is an American video game developer based in Sparks, Maryland. The company was founded in May 1996 by Sid Meier, Jeff Briggs and Brian Reynolds, following their departure from MicroProse, Meier's earlier venture. They were acquired by Take-Two Interactive in August 2005, and subsequently became part of the publisher's 2K Games label. Firaxis Games is best known for developing the Civilization and XCOM series, as well as many other games bearing Meier's name.

History[edit]

Executive Plaza III on 11350 McCormick Road, Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Firaxis Games' former headquarters

Firaxis Software was founded on May 1, 1996,[1] by Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds and Jeff Briggs, three video game designers formerly employed by MicroProse, a video game venture founded by Meier and partner Bill Stealey in 1982.[2] Briggs explained that they decided to stay in the Baltimore area, rather than moving to Silicon Valley, because it was "just a great place to be".[3] Unlike MicroProse, Firaxis Software aimed at being a "design house", leaving manufacturing and distribution of their games to outside contractors.[2] As such, the company talked to six potential video game publishers for their games,[4] and finally signed an agreement with Electronics Arts, through which their games would be distributed under Electronic Arts' Origin Systems label.[2][5] The studio's opening was officially announced on June 24, 1996.[6] Firaxis Software was originally located in a 2,500-square-foot office on Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley, Maryland, temporarily sharing office space.[2][6] To accommodate their growth, in February 1997, they announced that they were moving their corporate headquarters to a 7,200-square-foot office suite in Executive Plaza III, an office building on 11350 McCormick Road and part of the Hunt Valley Business Community.[6] The deal, assisted by MacKenzie/O'Conor, Piper & Flynn Commercial Real Estate Services broker William W. Whitty Jr., was expected to be completed by March that year.[6] The company had 13 employees at the time.[6]

Firaxis Software announced their first title, Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, in June 1997.[4] Interimly, on July 24, 1997, the company was legally renamed Firaxis Games.[1][7] Electronic Arts announced to have acquired a minority interest in Firaxis Games, to undisclosed terms, in August 1997.[8] By September 1997, Firaxis Games signed life insurances for its three founders.[9] Gettysburg! was released in October 1997 to critical and commercial success, scoring near-perfect reviews from critics,[10] and selling 200,000 copies by August 1999.[11] Starting with Gettysburg!, Firaxis Games prefixed all games designed by Meier with "Sid Meier's", a trend the three founders carried over from MicroProse, as they believed that Meier's name added more recognizability to their games.[12] For his works on many MicroProse games, as well as Gettysburg! and Firaxis Games' second title, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Meier became the second-ever person in the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences's Hall of Fame, following Shigeru Miyamoto.[13] Co-founder Reynolds left Firaxis Games to pursue his personal interests in February 2000.[14] To compensate his departure, the company started hiring various industry veterans by March 2000.[15] For his executive engagement at Firaxis Games, co-founder and chief executive officer Briggs was named "CEO of the Year" by SamrtCEO Magazine in October 2004.[16] Briggs later left the company in November 2006, and was succeeded by Steve Martin.[17] Also for his executive work at Firaxis Games, Martin was awarded the "Maryland International Business Leadership Award" by the World Trade Center Institute in March 2011.[18]

In November 2004, Infogrames, at the time owner of the Civilization franchise and parent to the series' publisher, sold all intellectual property to an undisclosed buyer for US$22.3 million.[19][20] The buyer was announced to be Take-Two Interactive on January, 26, 2005.[21] The publisher announced that the franchise would be managed by their 2K Games label, which was founded the day before, and that Firaxis Games would stay in charge of the series' development.[22] In March 2005, NDL announced a partnership with Firaxis Games, wherein their Gamebryo engine would be used for the development of Civilization IV, which was to be released later that year.[23] On November 7, 2005, Take-Two Interactive announced that they had acquired Firaxis Games.[24] Through the deal, Firaxis Games became part of 2K Games, although its present management and development plans would stay intact.[25] Meier and Briggs both expressed that the acquisition saw a great opportunity for Firaxis Games in terms of creative development and marketing capabilities, and were fortunate to have re-gained full control over the Civilization franchise.[26][27] In April 2007, Soren Johnson, lead designer on Civilization IV, left the company to move to Maxis and work on Spore.[28] Similarly, Civilization V's lead designer Jon Shafer departed following the game's release, in December 2010.[29]

In August 2014, Firaxis Games announced Firaxicon, a convention dedicated to Firaxis games.[30][31] The event was held from September 27 to 28, 2014, at a hotel in Hunt Valley, and included meet and greets with the company's staff, a presentation titled "An Evening with Sid Meier", and early playtests of Civilization: Beyond Earth.[32][33] A tour of Firaxis Games' offices was also held at the event.[34] The event was renewed for a second edition in July 2015, and held on October 3, 2015, at the Baltimore Convention Center.[35][36] Events were similar to that of the 2014 event, with XCOM 2 and Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide up for early testing.[37][38]

By December 2015, Firaxis Games expanded their Sparks headquarters, which they moved to in 2009, to 40,000 square feet, and employed 40 new staff, totaling to 180 employees present at the company.[39] In June 2016, at the Games for Change festival, Firaxis Games announced that they had partnered with GlassLab to develop CivilizationEDU, an educational derivative of Civilization V optimized for classrooms.[40] On July 23, 2018, 2K Games' President, David Ismailer, confirmed that Firaxis Games is currently working on a new IP.[41]

Games developed[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Staff, Gamespot (December 31, 1998). "An Interview with Brian Reynolds". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  • Donlan, Christian (July 6, 2014). "The grand strategies of Firaxis". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "FIRAXIS GAMES, INC.: D04399861". Maryland Business Express. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Ey, Craig S. (June 24, 1996). "Designer starts new game firm". The Business Journals. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "In Hunt Valley, games are a serious business". The Business Journals. April 28, 1997. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Mullaney, Timothy J. (June 23, 1997). "A young business with a game plan Firaxis: The year-old company just unveiled its first product and expects in a year 'have two successful products on the market and be working on the next two.'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Noer, Michael (July 25, 1997). "Sid starts up. Again". Forbes. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e Ey, Craig S. (February 17, 1997). "Game maker opening new HQ in Hunt Valley". The Business Journals. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  7. ^ Ey, Craig S. (September 1, 1997). "Valley of the games". The Business Journals. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "COMPANY BRIEFS". The New York Times. August 22, 1996. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Wolpoff, Charles R. (September 1, 1997). "A price on their heads". The Business Journals. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  10. ^ E., Michael (October 30, 1997). "Sid Meier's Gettysburg! Review". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Campbell, Colin (August 30, 1999). "What's Up With Sid Meier's Antietam?". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Suellentrop, Chris (May 8, 2017). "'Civilization' Creator Sid Meier: "I Didn't Expect to be a Game Designer"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Glanz, William (April 5, 1999). "Sid Meier enters games Hall of Fame". The Business Journals. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  14. ^ Ajami, Amer (February 7, 2000). "Brian Reynolds Leaves Firaxis". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  15. ^ IGN Staff (March 23, 2000). "Firaxis Growing Strong Again With Promotions And New Hires". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Gamespot Staff (October 11, 2004). "Firaxis' Jeffery Briggs named CEO of the Year". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  17. ^ Bozeman, Bobby (November 16, 2014). "Developing Civilization". TimesDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  18. ^ IGN Staff (March 17, 2011). "Firaxis Games' President, Steve Martin, Receives Business Leadership Award". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  19. ^ GamesIndustry International (November 25, 2004). "Infogrames sells Civilisation franchise for $22.3m". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Feldman, Curt (November 24, 2004). "Civilization sold off to mystery buyer". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  21. ^ Jenkins, David (January 26, 2005). "Take-Two Partners With Firaxis As Civilization Goes Forth". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Winegarner, Beth; Thorsen, Tor (January 26, 2005). "Take-Two takes over Civilization". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  23. ^ GamesIndustry International (March 10, 2005). "NDL and Firaxis Games Expand Relationship". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Adams, David (November 7, 2005). "Take-Two Buys Firaxis". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Carless, Simon (November 7, 2005). "Take-Two Acquires Firaxis Games". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  26. ^ Thorsen, Tor (November 7, 2005). "Take-Two takes in Firaxis". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  27. ^ GamesIndustry International (November 8, 2005). "Firaxis acquired by Take-Two". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  28. ^ Miller, Ross (April 18, 2007). "From Firaxis to Maxis: Civ IV designer leaves to work on Spore". Engadget. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  29. ^ Purchese, Robert (December 22, 2010). "Civilization V leader leaves Firaxis". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Makuch, Eddie (August 22, 2014). "Civilization Dev Opening Its Doors for First-Ever Firaxicon, Tickets On Sale Now". GameSpot. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  31. ^ Mahardy, Mike (August 21, 2014). "Firaxis Games Announces First Ever Firaxicon". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  32. ^ Hillier, Brenna (August 22, 2014). "Every Civilization tragic has their day at Firaxicon". VG247. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  33. ^ Cavalli, Earnest (August 25, 2014). "Civilization dev launches Firaxicon fan conference". Engadget. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  34. ^ Dean, Paul (October 5, 2014). "Firaxis opens its doors at the first Firaxicon". Eurogamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  35. ^ Chalk, Andy (July 29, 2015). "Second annual Firaxicon is happening in October". PC Gamer. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  36. ^ Brown, Fraser (July 29, 2015). "Firaxis' second annual Firaxicon kicks off in October". PCGamesN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  37. ^ Reilly, Luke (July 29, 2015). "Firaxis Games Confirms Second Annual Firaxicon". IGN. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  38. ^ Mejia, Ozzie (July 29, 2015). "Firaxicon 2015 comes to Baltimore in October". Shacknews. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  39. ^ Dance, Scott (December 8, 2015). "Firaxis Games growing slowly as its legacy competes with a changing industry". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  40. ^ Francis, Bryant (June 23, 2016). "Firaxis partners with GlassLab for educational version of Civilization V". Gamasutra. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  41. ^ Bailey, Dustin (July 23, 2018). "A new game is in the works at Firaxis, and it's not Civ or XCOM". PCGamesN. Retrieved July 31, 2018.

External links[edit]