Rainbow Studios

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Rainbow Studios
  • Rainbow Multimedia Group (1986–1992)
  • THQ Digital Studios Phoenix (2010–2011)
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded1986; 33 years ago (1986)
FounderEarl Jarred
ProductsMX vs. ATV
Number of employees
41 (2019)

Rainbow Studios is an American video game developer based in Phoenix, Arizona, best known for developing the MX vs. ATV series. It was established by Earl Jarred in 1986 under the name Rainbow Multimedia Group and was rebranded as Rainbow Studios in 1992. In January 2002, the company was acquired by THQ, under the ownership of which it was renamed THQ Digital Studios Phoenix in February 2010 and subsequently closed in August 2011. The studio was re-instantiated as Rainbow Studios in 2013 by Nordic Games (later known as THQ Nordic), a publishing company that had purchased most assets of the then-bankrupt THQ earlier that year.


Rainbow Studios, originally named Rainbow Multimedia Group, was founded by Earl Jarred in 1986.[1][2] In 1992, the company shifted its focus towards developing video games and was rebranded Rainbow Studios.[2] On November 8, 2001, video game publisher THQ announced that they had agreed to acquire the studio in exchange for 1 million shares of common stock.[3] An agreement of merger was signed between the two companies on December 21, 2001,[4] and THQ announced that the deal had been completed on January 3, 2002, at which point THQ had issued 858,203 shares and expected to issue further 106,259 at a later point in time.[5] In 2005, Jarred, alongside vice-chairman Jeff Padden and employees Rick Baltman and Robb Rinard, left Rainbow Studios to form a new video game studio, 2XL Games.[6] Three further Rainbow Studios veterans—Brad Ruminer, Dennis Booth, and Glenn O'Bannon—announced the formation of their studio, TimeFly Studios, in April 2008.[7]

In mid-April 2008, Rainbow Studios laid off a team of 30 people working on an unannounced game. Because the team was "a minority" in the studio's multi-team setup, development on the game was able to continue despite the staff reduction.[8] Further layoffs were instigated in November 2008 and February 2009 as part of larger restructurings within THQ.[9][10] To push THQ's vision for digitally distributed games as part of its core portfolio, effective on February 3, Rainbow Studios and sister studio Juice Games were rebranded as THQ Digital Studios Phoenix and THQ Digital Studios Warrington, respectively.[11] As a result of the restructuring, both studios collectively lost 60 employees.[11][12] On August 9, 2011, THQ announced that, as part of another larger restructuring, THQ Digital Studios Phoenix, alongside two other studios, would be closed down.[13] The closure led to the elimination of 48 jobs at the Phoenix studio.[14] THQ planned to retain a quality assurance department on-site.[14]

THQ later filed for bankruptcy, and many of its assets, including the Rainbow Studios-developed MX vs. ATV franchise, were auctioned off to publisher Nordic Games (later known as THQ Nordic) in 2013.[15] As Nordic Games planned to start developing new titles in that franchise, the company opted to resurrect Rainbow Studios under the former name and in its former location.[15] The move was announced in December that year, at which point the new Rainbow Studios had hired many people previously employed by the former Rainbow Studios, including Ken George, Dave Dwire, Mike Mamula, Brad Bowling, Scott Hofmann, Justin Walsh, David Knudsen, and Chris Gilbert.[16][17] By June 2019, Rainbow Studios had 41 employees.[18]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Publisher(s) Platform(s)
1994 Air Havoc Controller Trimark Interactive MS-DOS
1995 The Hive MS-DOS, PlayStation
1996 Ravage D.C.X Inscape Microsoft Windows
Deadly Tide Microsoft Microsoft Windows
1998 Motocross Madness Microsoft Windows
2000 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 EA Sports Microsoft Windows
Motocross Madness 2 Microsoft Game Studios Microsoft Windows
2001 ATV Offroad Fury Sony Computer Entertainment PlayStation 2
Splashdown Infogrames PlayStation 2, Xbox
2002 Star Wars Racer Revenge LucasArts PlayStation 2
Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 Activision PlayStation 2, Xbox
ATV Offroad Fury 2 Sony Computer Entertainment PlayStation 2
2003 Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild THQ PlayStation 2
2004 MX Unleashed PlayStation 2, Xbox
2005 MX vs. ATV Unleashed Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Xbox
2006 Cars GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360
2007 Cars Mater-National Championship Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360
MX vs. ATV Untamed PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2009 Deadly Creatures Wii
MX vs. ATV Reflex PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2010 Dood's Big Adventure Wii
2011 MX vs. ATV Alive PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2014 MX vs. ATV Supercross THQ Nordic Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
2018 MX vs. ATV All Out Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2019 Monster Jam Steel Titans Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One


  1. ^ "Corporate Information". Rainbow Studios. 1999. Archived from the original on September 3, 2000. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Corporate History". Rainbow Studios. 2000. Archived from the original on March 6, 2001. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ IGN Staff (November 8, 2001). "THQ Buys Rainbow". IGN.
  4. ^ "Agreement of Merger – THQ Inc. and Rainbow Multimedia Group Inc". Onecle. December 21, 2001.
  5. ^ IGN Staff (January 3, 2002). "THQ Completes Rainbow Studios Acquisition". IGN.
  6. ^ Jenkins, David (November 11, 2005). "Rainbow Studios Veterans Form 2XL Games". Gamasutra.
  7. ^ Boyer, Brandon (April 1, 2008). "MX Vs. ATV, Cars Vets Form TimeFly Studios". Gamasutra.
  8. ^ Remo, Chris (April 30, 2008). "Report: THQ's Rainbow, Sandblast Studios See Layoffs". Gamasutra.
  9. ^ Welsh, Oli (November 4, 2008). "THQ closes five US studios". Eurogamer.
  10. ^ Martin, Matt (February 5, 2009). "THQ cuts 600 staff as losses hit $192 million". GamesIndustry.biz.
  11. ^ a b Sinclair, Brendan (February 3, 2010). "Juice Games, Rainbow Studios get downloadable focus, layoffs". GameSpot.
  12. ^ Faylor, Chris (February 4, 2010). "THQ Rebrands Studios Under New Digital Initiative, Laying Off 'Approximately 60'". Shacknews.
  13. ^ McWhertor, Michael (August 9, 2011). "THQ Cuts 200 Jobs, MX vs. ATV Series, de Blob Studio and More". Kotaku.
  14. ^ a b O'Grady, Patrick (August 16, 2011). "THQ closing Phoenix game development operations, cutting 48 jobs". The Business Journals.
  15. ^ a b Corriea, Alexa Ray (December 20, 2013). "Nordic Games developing new MX vs. ATV launching early next year". Polygon.
  16. ^ Crecente, Brian (May 15, 2014). "MX vs. ATV Supercross is playable at E3". Polygon.
  17. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (December 20, 2013). "Nordic bringing back MX vs. ATV". GamesIndustry.biz.
  18. ^ Wingefors, Lars (August 27, 2019). "THQ Nordic Annual Report 2018/19" (PDF). Cision.

External links[edit]