Rockstar New England

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Rockstar New England, Inc.
Formerly
Mad Doc Software, LLC (1999–2008)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo games
FoundedNovember 1999; 20 years ago (1999-11)
FounderIan Lane Davis
HeadquartersAndover, Massachusetts, US
Key people
Number of employees
100 (2007)
ParentRockstar Games (2008–present)

Rockstar New England, Inc. (formerly Mad Doc Software, LLC) is an American video game developer and a studio of Rockstar Games based in Andover, Massachusetts. The company was founded as Mad Doc Software in November 1999 by Ian Lane Davis, formerly of Activision. The company started out assisting Activision with the completion of Star Trek: Armada and led the development on its sequel, Star Trek: Armada II. Alongside multiple smaller projects, such as completing the canceled Jane's Attack Squadron from defunct Looking Glass Studios, Mad Doc Software achieved success through the Empire Earth series. However, its Empire Earth III was critically panned, leading to the termination of the franchise.

Mad Doc Software teamed up with Rockstar Games to develop Bully: Scholarship Edition, a remaster of Bully, which saw widespread success. Rockstar Games' parent company, Take-Two Interactive, acquired Mad Doc Software by April 2008, which became part of Rockstar Games as Rockstar New England. Rockstar New England has since acted out minor roles, working on porting duties for Grand Theft Auto IV's Microsoft Windows version (2009), Red Dead Redemption (2010), L.A. Noire (2011), Max Payne 3 (2012), and Grand Theft Auto V (2013).

History[edit]

As Mad Doc Software (1999–2008)[edit]

Former Mad Doc Software logo

Mad Doc Software was founded by Ian Lane Davis in November 1999.[1][2] Davis had previously received a doctorate in artificial intelligence and robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1996, and served as technical director for Activision between 1996 and 1999.[2] Originally located in Andover, Massachusetts, Mad Doc Software moved to Lawrence the following year.[3] The company started out completing Activision's Star Trek: Armada and then led the development on its sequel, Star Trek: Armada II.[4][5] At the time of the game's announcement in March 2001, the company consisted mostly of former employees from Activision and Looking Glass Studios (which shut down in May 2000).[6] The game was released in November 2001.[7] Also in 2001, Mad Doc Software acquired the development license to Jane's Attack Squadron, which was canceled Looking Glass Studios when it closed.[8][9] The game was finished by Mad Doc Software and released by Xicat Interactive in March 2002.[10] The company was also developing the single-player portion of Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (alongside Splash Damage) before this portion was canceled in February 2003.[11]

In May 2002, Sierra Entertainment announced that Mad Doc Software was developing Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest as an expansion pack to Stainless Steel Studios' 2001 real-time strategy game Empire Earth.[12] Following an open beta test phase that started in August 2002, the game was released in September 2002.[1][13] Mad Doc Software remained the principal developer of the Empire Earth series, and the next installment, Empire Earth II, was announced in July 2004 and released in April 2005.[14][15] Special praise was laid onto the game's in-depth interface, which allowed players to more easily navigate a game thought to be very complex.[16] Empire Earth II was followed by an expansion, Empire Earth II: The Art of Supremacy, which was announced in October 2005 and released in February 2006.[17][18] The final Empire Earth installment, Empire Earth III, was announced in February 2007.[19] With a total of US$10 million spent for the game's production, Empire Earth III was released in November 2007.[20][21] The game received overall negative reception and is considered to have terminated the franchise.[22]

In July 2003, Mad Doc Software announced that they were working with Gas Powered Games and Microsoft Game Studios on an expansion pack for Dungeon Siege (2002).[23] Titled Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna, the expansion was co-developed with Gas Powered Games to expand on the original game, with its story starting at Dungeon Siege's ending.[24][25] Davis stated that Mad Doc Software was chosen as the expansion's developer because Gas Powered Games was impressed with the talent present at the studio, and how well the studio's previous titles had been received.[26] The team aimed at improving on the original concept of the game by adding a more open world, giving the player more direct control of their actions, and developing a great story for players of the original Dungeon Siege.[27] The game was released in November 2003,[28] and, like The Art of Conquest, saw mixed reception.[29][30][31] Giving it a score of 7.0/10, Dan Adams of IGN stated that the game was perfectly suited for fans of the original game, even if it failed to be a remarkable game when seen from the view of a journalist.[32] An untitled bonus pack, which followed up on the events of Legends of Aranna, was released as freeware by Mad Doc Software, in September 2004.[33] The Dungeon Siege intellectual property, including Legends of Aranna and its free bonus pack, was acquired by 2K Games in March 2006.[34]

In January 2006, Bethesda Softworks announced that Mad Doc Software was developing Star Trek: Legacy, a new game based on the Star Trek franchise, as part of Bethesda's three-game Star Trek licensing deal, which also spanned Tactical Assault and Encounters.[35] Star Trek: Legacy was released in November 2006.[36] By December 2007, when Mad Doc Software had roughly 100 employees, the studio had relocated from Lawrence to Ballardvale, a village within Andover.[3] Around this time, Rockstar New England also created an autonomous navigation system for the United States Department of Defense.[3] For the February 2008 release of Propaganda Games' Turok, Mad Doc Software, alongside Threewave Software, developed map designs for the game's multiplayer mode.[37]

In July 2007, Rockstar Games announced that their 2006 title Bully, initially developed by Rockstar Vancouver for PlayStation 2, would be ported to Xbox 360 and Wii under the name Bully: Scholarship Edition.[38] The conversions were developed by Mad Doc Software, and included enhanced graphics and new story missions.[39] Bully: Scholarship Edition was released in March 2008 and later ported Microsoft Windows.[40][41]

As Rockstar New England (2008–present)[edit]

On April 4, 2008, Rockstar Games' parent company, Take-Two Interactive, announced that it had acquired Mad Doc Software for an undisclosed amount.[42][43] Mad Doc Software became part of Rockstar Games and was renamed Rockstar New England.[44][45] In June 2009, Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku reported that Rockstar New England had laid off approximately 10% of its staff, including the studio's entire quality assurance department.[46][47] According to the report, the decision was made because Rockstar Games wanted to avoid having per-studio quality assurance teams, instead relying on its dedicated quality assurance studio (Rockstar Lincoln).[48][49]

Following the acquisition, Rockstar New England contributed to the development of other games published by Rockstar Games, such as the Microsoft Windows port of Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto IV (2008), Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption (2010), Team Bondi's L.A. Noire (2011), and Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto V (2013).[citation needed] Rockstar New England was one of the four leading developers, alongside Rockstar Vancouver, Rockstar Toronto and Rockstar Leeds, on Max Payne 3 (2012).[50] By February 2013, Rockstar New England had moved into new offices in Andover's Dundee Park business park.[51] As of October 2014, Rockstar New England is one of the biggest video game development studios in the Greater Boston area, alongside Turbine, Harmonix and Demiurge Studios.[52]

Games developed[edit]

As Mad Doc Software[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
2000 Star Trek: Armada Microsoft Windows Activision Supportive development for Activision
2001 Star Trek: Armada II N/A
2002 Jane's Attack Squadron Xicat Interactive Took over development from defunct Looking Glass Studios
Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest Sierra Entertainment N/A
2003 Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna Microsoft Windows Microsoft Game Studios Co-developed with Gas Powered Games
2005 Empire Earth II Vivendi Universal Games N/A
2006 Empire Earth II: The Art of Supremacy
Star Trek: Legacy Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 Bethesda Softworks
2007 Empire Earth III Microsoft Windows Vivendi Games
2008 Turok Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Disney Interactive Studios Supportive development for Propaganda Games
Bully: Scholarship Edition Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Xbox 360 Rockstar Games Remaster of Bully by Rockstar Vancouver

As Rockstar New England[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
2008 Grand Theft Auto IV Microsoft Windows Rockstar Games Ported only, together with Rockstar Toronto; game developed by Rockstar North
2010 Red Dead Redemption PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Supportive development for Rockstar San Diego
2011 L.A. Noire Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Supportive development for Team Bondi
2012 Max Payne 3 macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox One Developed as part of Rockstar Studios
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Supportive development for Rockstar North
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox One Developed as part of Rockstar Studios

Canceled[edit]

References[edit]

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