Turbine (company)

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Turbine, Inc.
Subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1994; 23 years ago (1994)
Founder Johnny Monsarrat,[1] Jeremy Gaffney, Kevin Langevin, Timothy Miller
Headquarters Needham, Massachusetts, United States
Products Asheron's Call
Asheron's Call 2
Dungeons & Dragons Online
The Lord of the Rings Online
Owner Time Warner
Parent Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Website turbine.com

Turbine, Inc. (formerly Turbine Entertainment Software, Second Nature, and originally CyberSpace, Inc.) is an American computer game developer that develops 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Turbine was founded by Johnny Monsarrat, Jeremy Gaffney, Kevin Langevin, and Timothy Miller as CyberSpace, Inc., changing their company name in 1995 to Turbine, Inc. In April 2007, Turbine released their most recent MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online.[2]

Turbine was a privately held company backed by Highland Capital Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, and other private investors since 1998. On April 20, 2010, the company was formally acquired by Warner Bros..[3]

Turbine is known for employing fans of the game to the customer service side. Examples for Dungeons & Dragons Online include "Tolero" (who hosted a long running role play segment on the unofficial DDO podcast, DDOcast), and Jerry Snook (creator and host of said cast).

History[edit]

Turbine was founded in April 1994 by Johnny Monsarrat and fellow students at Brown University, as a project with the goal to create the world's largest game.[1] Monsarrat was hit by a car in 1994, which resulted in a payout he used to fund the company. In 1995 the company was based in his mother's house with 12 staff members. They found an office in Providence, RI, but later moved to Westwood, Massachusetts to better take advantage of the software engineers coming out of Boston's colleges. As CEO, Monsarrat used free food and office pranks[4] to keep staff motivated.

The company was originally called CyberSpace because "that seemed cool". Its name was later changed to "Second Nature", but since that was taken, "Turbine" was chosen. Asheron's Call was the company's first game.[5] It was notable for being the second 3D MMORPG, following the launch of EverQuest. Its most notable feature, designed by Monsarrat, was a "loyalty" system giving new and experienced players incentives to work together. The Olthoi was the first monster developed for Asheron's Call, designed by Joe Angell.

After Asheron's Call, the company went on to make a sequel, Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings, which came out in 2002 (just after the first Asheron's Call expansion). However, after only one expansion Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings shut down in 2005. The following year Turbine brought out Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. Early reception was positive but the game was criticised for poor solo play.

One year after that, in 2007, Turbine released The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, which got positive reviews and was seen as a needed boost for the company.

In 2009, Dungeons and Dragons Online was suffering a low playerbase; in an attempt to save the game, Turbine replaced the traditional monthly subscription model with a free one and changed the name from "Stormreach" to "Eberron Unlimited". Many other games in the MMORPG genre have since followed this shift to a Free to Play (F2P) model. The game was later renamed simply to Dungeons and Dragons Online.

In 2010, Turbine also moved The Lord of the Rings Online (which was then on its second expansion) to a Free to Play model. In the same year, Turbine was purchased by Warner Bros..

In 2012, Turbine announced that they would bring back Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings.

In 2015, it was announced that development of Infinite Crisis would end immediately and that the game will be closed on August 14.[6]

The company was hit with layoffs for three years consecutively starting from 2014. While Turbine's focus was shifted to develop free-to-play mobile games by Warner Bros. in 2016, the servers for both The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online would be maintained and supported. Turbine's current projects include two mobile titles: Batman: Arkham Underworld and Game of Thrones: Conquest.[7]

On December 19, 2016, it was announced that Turbine would no longer be involved with the development of The Lord of the Rings Online or Dungeons & Dragons Online, instead a spin-off studio under the name of Standing Stone Games was formed to take over further development of the game, with game staff moving from Turbine to the new studio. As part of this transition, Daybreak Game Company would become the new publisher, taking over from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. [8] It was announced not long after that, though the Asheron's Call IP would remain with Turbine, Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings would both close on January 31, 2017.[9]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
And iOS Mac PC
1999 Asheron's Call No No No Yes
2002 Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings No No No Yes
2006 Dungeons & Dragons Online No No Yes Yes
2007 The Lord of the Rings Online No No Yes Yes
2015 Infinite Crisis No No No Yes
2016 Batman: Arkham Underworld Yes Yes No No
TBD Game of Thrones: Conquest[10] TBD

References[edit]

External links[edit]