VIS Entertainment

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VIS Entertainment Limited
  • Sandalwood Limited (1995–1996)
  • VIS Interactive Media Productions Limited (1996)
  • VIS Interactive plc (1996–2000)
  • VIS Entertainment plc (2000–2004)
Industry Video game industry
Fate Liquidation
Successor 4J Studios
Founded 20 September 1995; 23 years ago (1995-09-20)
Founder Chris van der Kuyl
Defunct 20 March 2007 (2007-03-20)
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland
Key people
Chris van der Kuyl (President, CEO)
Number of employees
42 (2005)
Parent BAM! Entertainment (2004–2007)
  • State of Emergency Development
  • VIS iTV (50%)

VIS Entertainment Limited was a British video game developer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company was founded in September 1995 by Chris van der Kuyl. In April 2003, VIS Entertainment acquired BAM! Entertainment's London-based development studio, though, after financial struggles, closed it down in September that year. A studio on the Isle of Wight was closed in August and several jobs were cut from their VIS iTV joint venture in November. VIS Entertainment was acquired by BAM! Entertainment in May 2004, which itself struggeled financially. As a result, in April 2005, the company was placed into administration, closed its Dundee studio and laid off 52 of 96 staff. Remaining assets were sold off to various companies, and VIS Entertainment liquidated in March 2007.


VIS Entertainment was founded on 20 September 1995[1] by Chris van der Kuyl alongside some former staff from DMA Design and people from outside the video game industry.[2] A Dundee native, van der Kuyl headed the company as president and chief executive officer.[2]

In April 2003, the company acquired BAM! Entertainment's London-based development studio,[3] however, following several delays and cancellations to that studio's projects, it was shut down announced in September that year that the studio would close following the completion of its remaining projects.[4] Another studio, located on the Isle of Wight, was closed in August 2003.[5] VIS iTV, a Dundee-based joint venture between VIS Entertainment and cable operator Telewest, laid off 75% of its staff in November 2003.[6] Following these layoffs, Jane Karowoski, chief operating officer for VIS Entertainment, announced that she would be resigning from the company.[7] The following the December, VIS iTV announced that their ongoing "interactive virtual horseracing" project, I-Race, was to debut on the newly established iSports TV.[8] The plan that never materialised, and the venture was placed into administration in December 2004.[9] California-based Bellwether Group acquired VIS iTV and I-Race in January 2005 and hired five of its previous staff.[9]

On 18 February 2004, BAM! Entertainment announced that they were to acquire VIS Entertainment and State of Emergency Development, a subsidiary set up to fund development for State of Emergency 2, in exchange for shares valued around US$7 million.[10][11] The acquisition was completed on 25 May 2004.[12][13]

VIS Entertainment entered administration on 7 April 2005.[14][15] Subsequently, the company's Dundee-based was shut down, with all 26 staff made redundant.[16] Another 28 positions were cancelled in the company's headquarters and last remaining studio in Edinburgh, with the last 42 "sent home" during the process of administration.[16] The administration was handelled by Tom Maclennan and Kenny Craig of Tenon Recovery.[17] VIS Entertainment founder van der Kuyl went on to found 4J Studios on 19 April 2005, twelve days after VIS Entertainment went into administration.[2][18] DC Studios announced on 1 May 2005 that they had acquired the rights to State of Emergency 2 for an undisclosed sum, and that they would employ between 10 and 40 from VIS Entertainment staff.[18][19] VIS Entertainment finally liquidated on 20 March 2007.[20]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s)
1998 H.E.D.Z. Microsoft Windows Hasbro Interactive
1999 Earthworm Jim 3D Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 64 Interplay Entertainment, Rockstar Games
2000 Tom and Jerry in Fists of Furry NewKidCo, Ubi Soft
2001 The Powerpuff Girls: Chemical X-Traction Nintendo 64, PlayStation BAM! Entertainment
2002 State of Emergency Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox Rockstar Games, Global Star Software
Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox NewKidCo
The Powerpuff Girls: Relish Rampage GameCube, PlayStation 2 BAM! Entertainment
2003 Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick PlayStation 2, Xbox THQ
2005 Narc Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox Midway Games, Zoo Digital Publishing
Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360 Sony Computer Entertainment, Evolved Games, SouthPeak Games


  1. ^ "VIS ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "4J's Chris van der Kuyl". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  3. ^ IGNPS2 (3 October 2003). "VIS Entertainment Axes London Studio". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. ^ "VIS shuts London studio". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ "VIS studio shuts as developer faces financial crisis". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Layoffs at VIS-ITV, but I-Race project still in the running". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  7. ^ Jenkins, David. "Gamasutra - The Art & Business of Making Games". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  8. ^ "VIS-iTV to launch i-Race on UK satellite". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Vis iTV bought by US venture capital group". 30 January 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  10. ^ "BAM! Entertainment buys VIS in $8.5 million share deal". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  11. ^ Jenkins, David. "Gamasutra - The Art & Business of Making Games". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  12. ^ Jenkins, David. "Gamasutra - The Art & Business of Making Games". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  13. ^ "BAM reports Q3 loss, completes VIS acquisition". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  14. ^ "VIS goes into administration; Dundee studio shut down". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  15. ^ Feldman, Curt (8 April 2005). "VIS Entertainment files for bankruptcy". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  16. ^ a b Jenkins, David. "Gamasutra - The Art & Business of Making Games". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  17. ^ "It's game over for VIS". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b "New State of Emergency declared as Glasgow firm takes on game". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  19. ^ "DC Studios picks up State of Emergency 2". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  20. ^ "VIS ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED - Insolvency (free information from Companies House)". Retrieved 1 July 2018.