Universal Interactive

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Universal Interactive
Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Fate Merged with Vivendi
Successor Vivendi Universal Games
Founded 1993; 24 years ago (1993)
Founder Skip Paul
Defunct 2003; 14 years ago (2003)
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Key people
  • Rob Biniaz (Founding President)
  • Mark Cerny (Founding VP)
Parent Vivendi

Universal Interactive (founded as Universal Interactive Studios) was a video game developer and publisher. It was a division of Universal Studios before being bought by Vivendi through their acquisition of Seagrams entertainment assets. Universal Interactive was primarily known for publishing and distributing the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games, along with games based on feature films from Universal Pictures. Universal Interactive as a brand was spun off as a video game publishing label for Vivendi before being dissolved in 2003, whilst the legal entity became the reformed Vivendi Universal Games.

History[edit]

Before Universal Interactive was founded, MCA/Universal solely licensed games as merchandise. Among the games published this way was the notorious E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982.

The purchase of Universal to Matsushita Electric (operating as Panasonic) in 1990 was conducted in part by Skip Paul, who was an executive at Atari during the E.T. deal. Matsushita soon became the primary hardware licensee for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, leading a corporate push for MCA to provide entertainment software for the platform.[1]

The division was officially launched by Paul in 1993 with the announcement of its first title, Jurassic Park Interactive.[2] It was intended to be released as a launch title for the 3DO, but it was delayed until 1994.[3]

That same year, Universal Interactive made three-game contracts with upstart developers Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog, who respectively pitched Disruptor and Way of the Warrior.[4] Vice president Mark Cerny oversaw the development of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon series under these deals. Cerny would quit his position in 1998 to become an independent consultant for the two developers as they eventually moved out of Universal.

A division named Universal Studios Digital Arts was formed exclusively for Xena: Warrior Princess.

After Universal was bought by Vivendi in 2000, Universal Interactive was consolidated along with other purchased studios into Vivendi Universal Games. The label continued to be used until 2003, when it was retired in favor of its parent company. However the company still made and distribute games under the Vivendi Universal name until they were shut down in 2007 after their last game Scarface: The World Is Yours on the Wii was out in stores.

List of games[edit]

This is a list of video games made and distributed by Universal Interactive.

Title System Release date Co-produced with Note
Jurassic Park Interactive 3DO Interactive Multiplayer 1994 Studio 3DO
Way of the Warrior November 1, 1994 Naughty Dog Game completed before publishing rights were bought
Crash Bandicoot PlayStation August 31, 1996
Disruptor November 30, 1996 Insomniac Games
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back October 31, 1997 Naughty Dog
Spyro the Dragon September 10, 1998 Insomniac Games
Running Wild October 7, 1998 Blue Shift/989 Studios
Crash Bandicoot: Warped October 31, 1998 Naughty Dog
Xena: Warrior Princess PlayStation September 30, 1999 Electronic Arts Credited as Universal Studios Digital Arts

Based on Xena: Warrior Princess

Game Boy Color August 2001 Titus Software
Crash Team Racing PlayStation September 30, 1999 Naughty Dog Last installment developed by Naughty Dog
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! November 2, 1999 Insomniac Games
The Land Before Time: Return to the Great Valley September 14, 2000 Realtime Associates License only
Spyro: Year of the Dragon October 25, 2000 Insomniac Games Last installment developed by Insomniac Games
The Grinch Dreamcast October 31, 2000 Artificial Mind & Movement

Konami

Based on Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Game Boy Color November 2000
Microsoft Windows December 4, 2000
PlayStation December 8, 2000
Crash Bash PlayStation November 6, 2000 Eurocom
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Nintendo 64

Game Boy Color

November 16, 2000 Player 1

Titus Software

Based on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Woody Woodpecker Racing PlayStation November 22, 2000 Syrox Developments

Konami

Game Boy Color December 22, 2000
Microsoft Windows February 1, 2001
The Land Before Time: Great Valley Racing Adventure PlayStation May 1, 2001 TDK Mediactive License only
The Land Before Time Game Boy Color July 14, 2001 Conspiracy Entertainment
Woody Woodpecker: Escape from Buzz Buzzard Park Game Boy Color September 2001 Eko Software
Microsoft Windows November 21, 2001
PlayStation 2 February 21, 2002
Spyro: Season of Ice Game Boy Advance October 29, 2001 Digital Eclipse
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex PlayStation 2 October 29, 2001 Traveller's Tales
GameCube April 15, 2002
Xbox September 17, 2002
Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure GameCube December 18, 2001 Nai'a Digital Works License only
Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure Game Boy Advance February 25, 2002 Vicarious Visions
The Land Before Time February 28, 2002 Full Fat License only
Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon Xbox July 2, 2002 Ronin Entertainment
The Thing Microsoft Windows August 20, 2002 Computer Artworks Shared credit with Black Label Games division
Xbox September 3, 2002
PlayStation 2 September 10, 2002
The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian GameCube September 11, 2002 Point of View, Inc. Based on The Scorpion King
PlayStation 2
Spyro 2: Season of Flame Game Boy Advance September 25, 2002 Digital Eclipse
Monster Force September 29, 2002
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly PlayStation 2 November 2, 2002 Check Six Games

Equinoxe Digital Entertainment

GameCube November 8, 2002
The Land Before Time: Big Water Adventure PlayStation November 27, 2002 Digital Illusions
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced Game Boy Advance January 7, 2003 Vicarious Visions
Knight Rider: The Game PlayStation 2

Microsoft Windows

February 12, 2003 Davilex Games

Tri Synergy

License only

Based on Knight Rider

Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend Game Boy Advance March 28, 2003 Vicarious Visions
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis Microsoft Windows March 10, 2003 Blue Tongue Entertainment
PlayStation 2 March 25, 2003
Xbox March 26, 2003
Hulk Game Boy Advance

GameCube

PlayStation 2

Xbox

Microsoft Windows

May 27, 2003 Marvel Entertainment

Radical Entertainment

Based on Hulk
Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs Game Boy Advance October 27, 2003 Digital Eclipse
Crash Nitro Kart PlayStation 2

GameCube

Xbox

Game Boy Advance

November 11, 2003 Vicarious Visions

References[edit]

  1. ^ Markoff, John (1993-09-09). "Market Place; Investors can only guess which video game device will conquer.". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  2. ^ "A behind-the-scenes look at the stars of 'Jurassic Park' COMPUTERS". Knight Ridder News Service. 1993-06-21. Retrieved 2016-03-10 – via Baltimore Sun/Tribune. 
  3. ^ Harmon, Amy (1994-05-10). "COMPANY TOWN : MCA Hopes 'Jurassic' Can Keep 3DO From Extinction : Technology: The interactive game, based on the movie, arrives in stores today.". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  4. ^ BiffsGamingVideos (2011-11-12), 1994 SCES: Parts 13-23 (3DO, Crystal Dynamics, IntelliPlay, CD-i), retrieved 2016-03-10