|Night Dive Studios, LLC (2012–2016)|
Number of employees
Nightdive Studios, LLC (formerly Night Dive Studios, LLC) is an American video game developer and publisher based in Vancouver, Washington. The company was founded in 2012 by video game artist Stephen Kick, formerly of Sony Online Entertainment. The company is best known for obtaining rights to classic abandonware video games, updating them for compatibility with modern platforms, and re-releasing them into digital distribution. Their first release was an updated version of System Shock 2, a first-person shooter from 1999 that influenced many later video games.
Stephen Kick had been a character artist with Sony Online Entertainment but had found the desire to make his own games. He took time to travel around the world bringing some video games along with him to find inspiration, but was surprised that he could not find a legal way to acquire System Shock 2, which had seemingly fallen into abandonware. Kick began investigating the situation for this, and discovered that System Shock 2's intellectual property (IP) rights were hung up between Electronic Arts, the game's publisher, and Meadowbrook Insurance Group (a subsidiary of Star Insurance Company) which had acquired the assets to the game's developer, Looking Glass Studios, after their closure. Kick approached Meadowbrook to negotiate the rights to System Shock 2 as to be able to port the game for modern systems. Meadowbrook agreed, and with that, Kick founded Night Dive Studios in late 2012 to support this effort. The version was eventually released through GOG.com in February 2013, where System Shock 2 had been one of the most requested games from consumers, with other storefronts following later.
With this release, Kick decided to continue Night Dive in similar efforts to bring back older games to modern systems. In 2013, the studio released updated versions of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, a video game designed by science fiction author Harlan Ellison and based on his eponymous short story, Wizardry VI, VII, and 8, and two Trilobyte titles The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour.
In 2014, Night Dive Studios re-released 28 titles from the Humongous Entertainment children's adventure games catalog, as well as the cult classic adventure game Bad Mojo. The company also generated speculation that it might be planning to re-release The Operative: No One Lives Forever, as news sources took notice of a Night Dive Studios trademark filing that included material referencing the No One Lives Forever franchise. Kick responded to these rumors by saying that the company could not comment on future releases for the time being. Kick later revealed that they had indeed been working on trying to acquire the publishing rights for both No One Lives Forever and its sequel, to the point where they had the original source code to construct a remake of the title, but could not get the three companies with stake in the games' IP, Activision, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros., to negotiate the rights.
2014 also saw the company's participation in the Humble Bundle series of games collections, with a Humble Bundle package in May 2014 that featured all of the company's titles through that date, and a "flash sale" bundle in July that featured the company's Humongous Entertainment re-release titles. In December 2014, Night Dive Studios coordinated the re-release of the 1996 first-person shooter role playing hybrid game Strife as Strife: Veteran Edition, after acquiring rights to the game. Because the game's source code had been lost, a derivative of the Chocolate Doom subproject Chocolate Strife was used as the game's engine, with its original programmers being contracted to do additional coding for the re-release. The source code of Strife: Veteran Edition has been made available under GPLv3 on GitHub by Night Dive Studios' and Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal on December 12, 2014. While this was the first source code opened for a Night Dive Studios release, Kick announced his commitment in recovering, preserving and also opening of more source code in a Reddit AMA in 2016.
In February 2015, Kick announced that the studio was working on re-releasing PowerSlave for digital distribution services with an added bonus of porting the Saturn version into the package. Kick also announced that he was working with the original developers of Noctropolis and the original source code and the updated package will feature remastered music, widescreen support and bug fixes. On September 22, 2015, Night Dive Studios released the original System Shock in the Enhanced Edition that adds support for more resolutions and mouselook. Night Dive Studios has since announced it has acquired full rights to the System Shock series, and are considering developing a third title in the series, as well as remakes for both previous titles, working with original concept artist Robert Waters for some of the design. In November 2015, Night Dive had 10 full-time employees, led by Kick as chief executive officer, his wife, Alix Banegas, as chief financial officer and Larry Kuperman as director of business development. In May 2016, Night Dive Studios rebranded as Nightdive Studios.
|Year of release||Title||Developer(s)|
|2014||Strife: Veteran Edition|
|2015||Spirits of Xanadu||Good Morning, Commander|
|System Shock: Enhanced Edition|
|2016||Womb Room||Bearded Eye|
|2019||Blood: Fresh Supply|
|2020||System Shock||Nightdive Studios|
- Newman, Jared (November 12, 2015). "How One Company is Bringing Old Video Games Back from the Dead". Fast Company.
- VB Staff (April 25, 2017). "Nightdive turns games of the past into a bright future…virtually". VentureBeat.
- Newman, Jared (February 13, 2013). "Thirteen Years Later, System Shock 2 Lives Again". Time.
- Smith, Adam (February 13, 2013). "Many Questions: System Shock 2 Comes To GOG". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
- Carlson, Patrick (May 10, 2013). "System Shock 2 arrives on Steam". PC Gamer.
- Carlson, Patrick (September 5, 2013). "Classic horror game I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream finds release on GOG". PC Gamer.
- Walker, John (September 11, 2013). "Wizard! Wizardry VI, VII, and 8 Are Now For Sale On Steam". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
- Renaudin, Josiah (October 23, 2013). "Trilobyte Games Add Classics The 7th Guest and The 11th Hour to Steam". Gameranx.
- Cowan, Danny (April 22, 2014). "Putt-Putt, Spy Fox join Humongous Entertainment's Steam catalog". Engadget.
- Sarkar, Samit (May 1, 2014). "New trademarks filed for No One Lives Forever games". Polygon.
- Tyrrel, Brandin (May 1, 2014). "No One Lives Forever Resurfaces Through Trademark Filings". IGN.
- Hamilton, Kirk (February 27, 2015). "The Sad Story Behind A Dead PC Game That Can't Come Back". Kotaku.
- Peeples, Jeremy (May 8, 2014). "Humble Night Dive Studios Weekly Bundle Launched". Hardcore Gamer.
- Devore, Jordan (July 28, 2014). "This Humble Flash Bundle has Putt-Putt and other Humongous titles". Destructoid.
- Villarreal, Samuel (December 12, 2014). "Strife Veteran Edition GPL Source Release". GitHub.
- Kick, Stephen (June 22, 2016). "IamA Founder of Night Dive Studios, Stephen Kick – We track down and restore classic video games! AMA!". Reddit.
- Nightdive Studios (May 6, 2016). "Check out the new ND fresh look!". Facebook.