Piranha Games

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Piranha Games Inc.
IndustryComputer and video games
FoundedVancouver, British Columbia, Canada (January 22, 2000)
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia
Key people
Bryan Ekman
Russ Bullock
Number of employees

Piranha Games Inc. is a Canadian video game developer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was founded by Russ Bullock, President and Executive Producer, and Bryan Ekman, VP and Creative Director. Piranha Games is one of the oldest independent game developers in the Vancouver area and is currently housed in the International Village Mall in the Chinatown area.


During the fall of 1999, three entrepreneurs - Bullock, Ekman, and Jason Holtslander - set out to create a Half-Life mod called Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza (DH:NP). After working together for a few months, the team received a letter from Fox Interactive requiring all work on the mod cease and desist. The three used this event as a catalyst to pursue their dreams of starting a new development studio and turning Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza into a full product for the PC platform.

Piranha Games Inc. was officially founded in early 2000 by Bullock, Ekman, and Holtslander, with an initial infusion of private funding. After an 8-month period of creating demos for Fox Interactive, a deal was struck in August 2000, and Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza was officially under production.

Early years[edit]

Work began in earnest on DH:NP mid August, 2000. The team doubled in size from six developers to twelve and moved into its new office location in Downtown Vancouver. Production on DH:NP moved along steadily through the winter and into 2001 in preparation for E3 2001. After a modest E3 showing, DH:NP continued development, targeting a fall release date. Crunching hard for the next 6 months, with the team exhausted and the ownership at odds with each other, the game's ship date slipped into spring 2002. During the summer and fall of 2001, Jason Holtslander was bought out by the remaining principals.[citation needed]

With the departure of Holtslander, Piranha refocused its energy towards finishing DH:NP and expanding the business into the casual space through the creation of a new label and company called Jarhead Games. In the spring of 2002 DH:NP was released.

In the summer of 2005 Piranha Games began working on an unannounced next generation title which was later revealed to be a new Mechwarrior game.[1] In the spring of 2007, Piranha Games was contracted to work on EA Playground for the Nintendo DS and Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 for the PSP. Piranha Games has also worked with Gearbox Software to develop the PS3[2] and Xbox 360 versions of Duke Nukem Forever, along with the multiplayer[3] component.

In 2011, after failing to work with former rights holders Smith & Tinker to fund a new MechWarrior game, Piranha Games bought the rights to the series from them.[4]

After a lengthy period without news regarding the new MechWarrior game, Piranha announced that the game, after some 'false starts', had become MechWarrior Online, and had been transformed into a mech-based MMO. MechWarrior Online ended Closed Beta phase in 2012, and officially launched following an Open Beta in fall of 2013 to mediocre reviews from critics, and poor reception with fans of the franchise.[5]


PGI continues live iterative development of Mechwarrior Online. On Dec. 5, 2016, Piranha announced their development of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, a single-purchase sandbox title for the franchise using the Unreal 4 engine, with a playable demo due to be rolled out at the company's annual Vancouver Mech-Con event in December 2017[6] and full release rescheduled for September 2019 (Originally December 2018)[7].

On July 25, 2019, it was announced that MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries would be delayed again with a launch date of December 10th 2019. The game would also be an Epic Games Store exclusive for 1 year[8].

Games developed[edit]


  1. ^ "MechWarrior PC Games Trailer - Reveal Trailer". IGN. Archived from the original on 10 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  2. ^ James Gallagher (12 October 2010). "Duke Nukem Forever Interview". Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Duke Nukem Forever Interview with Gearbox Software". 18 October 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  4. ^ Russ Bullock [@russ_bullock] (24 February 2014). "@AnthonyHeadrick That is correct. At that point we were licensing from them and then in Feb 2011 we purchased the rights from them" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "MechWarrior Online". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  6. ^ "MechWarrior 5 Playable For First Time This December". Screen Rant. 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  7. ^ "Everything we know about MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries". pcgamer. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  8. ^ "MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries delayed to December, now Epic Games Store exclusive". polygon. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  9. ^ "Duke Nukem Forever Interview with Gearbox Software". AusGamers.com. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2011.