Panic Button (company)

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Panic Button, LLC
IndustryVideo games
Founded2007; 13 years ago (2007)
  • Craig Galley
  • D. Michael Traub
  • Russell Byrd
  • Aaron Smischney
Number of employees
<50[1] (2019)

Panic Button, LLC is an American video game developer based in Austin, Texas. Founded in late 2007, the studio is best known for their ports of AAA video games from other platforms to the Nintendo Switch console.[2][3] Panic Button also does contract work on other platforms, including 4K updates for PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X.[2]


Panic Button was founded by Craig Galley, D. Michael Traub, Russell Byrd and Aaron Smischney.[1] The four had worked together at video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment before joining developer Inevitable Entertainment.[1] Inevitable Entertainment was eventually acquired by Midway Games and renamed Midway Studios Austin, after which the studio was procedurally stripped of its game development duties and was tasked with streamlining Midway's development tools and technology instead.[1] Wishing to return to game development, the four founders left the studio and established Panic Button in Austin, Texas, at the end of 2007.[1][4] Galley and Traub are still active with the company as of July 2018.[4]

Panic Button started out experimenting with motion-based games, and for the next few years, they developed several exclusive games for the Nintendo Wii and the Kinect peripheral for Xbox 360.[4] However, interpreting the user's intent in motion games proved difficult and unreliable for them.[4] In 2011, Adam Creighton joined Panic Button, becoming a co-owner in the company and its general manager.[2] He instituted a focus change in the studio, wherein it turned towards port development.[2] In 2012, Panic Button collaborated with fellow Austin company Twisted Pixel Games to make their first port their game Ms. Splosion Man.[4] Porting games became the main source of revenue of the company for the next few years, although they also released their own properties such as Astro Duel Deluxe in 2017.[4]

The company's Nintendo Switch port of Rocket League made Panic Button better known in the industry in 2017.[4] Their Switch ports of Doom and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus followed with similar positive responses the next year and turned Panic Button into a studio in demand.[4] The company had started working with the Switch hardware around 2012 (including early development tech), earlier than any other studio,[5] and they work closely with Nintendo and Nvidia.[3] Panic Button sees the source of its success in collaborating closely with the original content makers to ensure faithful ports within the constraints of the hardware,[4] while adding non-gimmicky elements that improve the port, such as including touch or motion controls for the Switch.[6]

To keep a diverse portfolio, Panic Button partnered with Sony to bring the VR title To the Top from Oculus and HTC Vive to PlayStation VR in 2018; more VR ports may come should the opportunity arise.[6] The studio also intends to keep building their own internal properties,[2] saying "We don't plan to reinvent the genres for the games we're making, but we want to create some very tight, well-crafted love letters to these particular genres that we think will be fun and enjoyable and replayable for folks."[6]

Creighton left Panic Button in May 2019 to form his own studio, Enduring Games.[7][8]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Notes Ref.
2009 Go Play Lumberjacks Wii N/A [4]
We Wish You a Merry Christmas Wii N/A [4]
2010 Attack of the Movies 3D Wii, Xbox 360 N/A [4]
Swords Wii N/A [4]
2011 Hulk Hogan's Main Event Xbox 360 N/A [4]
2012 Kinect Star Wars Xbox 360 Contributed to development [2]
Ms. Splosion Man Microsoft Windows Handled port [4]
Top Hand Rodeo Tour Xbox 360 N/A [9]
2013 Injustice: Gods Among Us PlayStation Vita Handled port [4]
2015 Primal Carnage: Extinction PlayStation 4 Handled port [10]
Octodad: Dadliest Catch Wii U Handled port [4]
2016 ReCore Microsoft Windows, Xbox One Handled ports [6]
Rocket League Nintendo Switch, Xbox One Handled ports [2]
2017 Astro Duel Deluxe Nintendo Switch N/A [6]
Doom Nintendo Switch Handled port [6]
2018 To the Top PlayStation 4 Handled port [6]
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Nintendo Switch Handled port [6]
Warframe Nintendo Switch Handled port [6]
Subnautica PlayStation 4, Xbox One Handled ports [6]
2019 Hob: The Definitive Edition Nintendo Switch Handled port [11]
Wolfenstein: Youngblood Nintendo Switch Handled port [12]
Doom 3 Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Handled ports [13][14]
Torchlight II Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Handled ports [15]
2020 Doom Eternal Nintendo Switch Handled port [16]


  1. ^ a b c d e Summers, Nick (June 11, 2019). "How Panic Button became masters of the Switch port". Engadget.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bailey, Kat (June 13, 2018). "Panic Button is Building Off Its Acclaimed Switch Ports to Make Its Own Original Games". USgamer. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Kat (June 20, 2018). "What the Next Console Generation Could Mean for Switch According to One of its Key Developers". USgamer. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q McFerran, Damoby Damien (July 31, 2018). "Feature: Sitting Down With Panic Button, Nintendo Switch's Most Important Third-Party Studio". Nintendo Life. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Crecente, Brian (June 12, 2018). "'Doom' Makes Argument for Switch as Simultaneous Release Platform, Dev Says". Variety. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Valentine, Rebekah (October 17, 2018). "Panic Button and the search for "design fun"". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Craddock, Ryan (May 10, 2019). "Panic Button Studio Head Adam Creighton Steps Down, Moving On To Something New". Nintendo Life.
  8. ^ Craddock, Ryan (July 9, 2019). "Panic Button Ex-Director Adam Creighton Reveals New Dev Studio, Enduring Games". Nintendo Life.
  9. ^ Cerven, Michael; Rubin, Brian (November 2, 2012). "See If You Have What It Takes to Be a Rodeo Champion in Top Hand Rodeo Tour Now Available Exclusively for Kinect for Xbox 360". Business Wire.
  10. ^ Makuch, Eddie (October 2, 2015). "PS4 Dino Shooter Primal Carnage: Extinction Release Date Announced". GameSpot.
  11. ^ Craddock, Ryan (March 28, 2019). "Panic Button Is Bringing Hob: The Definitive Edition To Switch Next Week". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Doolan, Liam (August 12, 2018). "Bethesda Confirms Panic Button Is Developing The Switch Version Of Wolfenstein: Youngblood". Nintendo Life. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  13. ^ Stanichar, Joseph (July 26, 2019). "Three Classic Doom Titles Are Now On Modern Consoles". Game Informer.
  14. ^ Linneman, John (July 31, 2019). "Everything that's right - and wrong - with the new Doom console ports". Eurogamer.
  15. ^ Romano, Sal (March 28, 2019). "Torchlight II coming to consoles this fall". Gematsu. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  16. ^ Purchese, Robert (March 28, 2019). "The big Doom Eternal interview: Switch timings, multiplayer and a whiff of Heaven". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 29, 2019.

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