Frontier Developments

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Frontier Developments plc
Frontier Developments Limited (1994–2013)
Traded asLSEFDEV
IndustryVideo games
Founded28 January 1994; 25 years ago (1994-01-28)
FounderDavid Braben
HeadquartersCambridge Science Park, ,
Key people
  • David Braben (CEO)
  • David Walsh (COO)
  • Jonny Watts (CCO)
RevenueDecrease GB£34.2 million[1] (2018)
Decrease GB£24.1 million[1] (2018)
Decrease GB£2.8 million[1] (2018)
Total assetsIncrease GB£65.5 million[1] (2018)
Total equityIncrease GB£55.3 million[1] (2018)
Number of employees
422[2] (30 November 2018)

Frontier Developments plc is a British video game developer[3] based at the Cambridge Science Park in Cambridge, England.[4] Founded by David Braben in January 1994, it has produced several games in the Elite series, including 2014's Elite: Dangerous. A second studio, Frontier Developments Inc., was opened in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in August 2012, headed by David Walsh as its president, and closed in January 2015. In 2013, the company reincorporated as a public limited company, and entered the stock market.


Frontier Developments' first game was the 1993 Amiga CD32 port of the largely successful Frontier: Elite II followed by Frontier: First Encounters, second sequel to the seminal 1984 game Elite by Acornsoft. The company describes the original Elite as a "Game by Frontier", in its back catalogue during the company's 2013 sale of shares to the public, with David Braben owning all rights to the game assigned to the company in 2008.

Between 2005 and 2011, the company experienced a turmoil while developing its next generation title The Outsider. Its feature list was ambitious from its initial announcement, although little was seen of the game in public following this. The project was initially self-funded by the developer but failed to maintain publisher backing. When Codemasters withdrew from the deal the studio was also forced to make 17 staff members redundant.

Frontier Developments had been planning a new Elite sequel, under the working title Elite 4, since 1998. The company completed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2012, where the new sequel's name Elite: Dangerous was revealed. Early-access versions of the game have been playable by backers since December 2013. The full game was released to PC on 16 December 2014.

Frontier Developments has made many other games, including Dog's Life, Thrillville, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. The company also made games for the Wallace and Gromit franchise, and has released Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo, and a tie-in game for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In 2008, Frontier released LostWinds, a launch title for Nintendo's WiiWare platform. It received critical acclaim, scoring 81% on Metacritic. It was followed up with a sequel in 2009, entitled LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias, which scored 86% on Metacritic. In 2010, Frontier developed Kinectimals for Microsoft's Kinect controller on the Xbox 360. In 2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Kinectimals: Now With Bears were developed, along with ports of LostWinds for iOS and Kinectimals for iOS and Windows Phone. In 2012, Frontier released Coaster Crazy, and started to work on Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter, which successfully closed at the start of 2013. In 2013, Frontier released Xbox One and Xbox 360 exclusive Zoo Tycoon, published by Microsoft Studios, and launched backers alpha for Elite: Dangerous in December. In 2015 the company released Screamride, a theme park construction and management simulation game for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The company has recently released Planet Coaster, a construction and management simulation video game similar to the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise. The game is the second major self-published franchises from Frontier along with the Elite series. Frontier announced that they will begin self-publishing all their future games, starting with Planet Coaster.[5]

On 3 January 2017 TMZ reported that the company sued Atari, Inc. for not paying the company enough for royalties for their game RollerCoaster Tycoon 3; Frontier reported that they only received $1.17 million when they needed $3.37 million. David Walsh confirmed the report in a GameSpot interview, stating that they had previously attempted to resolve the issue without legal action since April 2016.[6]

On 6 February 2017 Frontier announced that they had acquired licensing rights from an unnamed Hollywood movie studio to be used in their third self-published title, an "enduring movie franchise of global renown".[7] This was later announced to be Jurassic World Evolution, which released on 12 June 2018.[8]

On 26 July 2017 the company announced Frontier Expo 2017, a press and community event focusing on Elite: Dangerous, Planet Coaster, and Jurassic World Evolution. The event took place on 7 October 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, UK.[9]

In July 2017, Tencent, a Chinese investment company bought a 9% share in the company.[10]

In June 2019, Frontier announced that it would begin publishing games from third-party developers under a new label named Frontier Publishing. Their first project would be a collaboration with Haemimont Games.[11]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Publisher(s) Platform(s)
1995 Frontier: First Encounters GameTek MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Classic Mac OS, Linux
1995 Darxide Sega Enterprises Sega 32X
1998 V2000 Grolier Interactive Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
2000 Infestation Ubi Soft Microsoft Windows, PlayStation
2003 Darxide EMP Frontier Developments Pocket PC
2003 RollerCoaster Tycoon Infogrames Xbox
2003 Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo BAM! Entertainment Microsoft Windows, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
2003 Dog's Life Sony Computer Entertainment PlayStation 2
2003 RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Wacky Worlds Infogrames Microsoft Windows
2003 RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Time Twister Atari, Inc. Microsoft Windows
2004 RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Atari, Inc. Microsoft Windows, OS X, iOS
2005 RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! Atari, Inc. Microsoft Windows, OS X
2005 RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild! Atari, Inc. Microsoft Windows, OS X
2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Konami PlayStation 2, Xbox
2006 Thrillville LucasArts PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable
2007 Thrillville: Off the Rails LucasArts PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii, Microsoft Windows
2008 LostWinds Frontier Developments iOS, Wii, Microsoft Windows
2009 LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias Frontier Developments iOS, Wii, Microsoft Windows
2010 Kinectimals Microsoft Game Studios Xbox 360, Windows Phone, iOS, Android
2011 Kinectimals: Now with Bears! Microsoft Studios Xbox 360, Windows Phone, iOS, Android
2011 Kinect: Disneyland Adventures Microsoft Studios Xbox 360
2012 Coaster Crazy Frontier Developments iOS
2013 Zoo Tycoon Microsoft Studios Xbox 360, Xbox One
2013 Coaster Crazy Deluxe Frontier Developments Wii U, iOS
2014 Tales from Deep Space Amazon Game Studios Fire OS, iOS
2014 Elite: Dangerous Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2015 Screamride Microsoft Studios Xbox 360, Xbox One
2015 Elite Dangerous: Horizons Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
2016 Elite Dangerous: Arena Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
2016 Planet Coaster Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows
2018 Jurassic World Evolution Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2019 Planet Zoo Frontier Developments Microsoft Windows


  1. ^ a b c d e "2018 Full Year Results" (PDF). Frontier Developments. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Interim Report And Accounts 2019" (PDF). Frontier Developments. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Big tech presents next chapter for UK gaming companies". Financial Times. 26 April 2019.
  4. ^ Barton, Seth (July 2018). "Life on the Frontier". MCV. No. 937. Future Publishing. pp. 14–18.
  5. ^ Jarvis, Matthew (31 March 2016). "Frontier cements total independence with self-published Planet Coaster". Develop. NewBay Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  6. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (3 January 2017). "Atari Being Sued for Alleged Unpaid Rollercoaster Tycoon Royalties". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Frontier Developments Secures Movie Licence For Third Game Franchise". London Stock Exchange. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Frontier Announces Jurassic World Evolution".
  9. ^ "Elite Dangerous developer announces Frontier Expo 2017". PC Gamer. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Chinese game giant Tencent buys 9% of Elite Dangerous dev Frontier". Eurogamer. 28 July 2017.
  11. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (12 June 2019). "Frontier signs first deal as third-party publisher". Retrieved 14 December 2019.

External links[edit]