Legend Entertainment shut down by Atari

ShackNews has the story on Atari closing down Legend Entertainment. Makers of adventure games such as Mission Critical and Gateway, Legend also produced the Wheel of Time game and the expansion pack for the original Unreal. Their last shipped game was Unreal 2, released in February 2003. They also made the highly-praised free XMP multiplayer add-on for U2 and had been working on the Xbox version of Unreal 2, which has yet to ship.

Former Legend devs confirm the closure in the Shack thread. The Legend website has already been pulled.

I feel sorry for the developer of Wheel of Time but the developer of Unreal 2 probably doesn’t deserve any better. :cry:

I heard that they also shut down their QA group in Beverly, Mass., but haven’t been able to confirm that.

Yep, Wheel was my favorite game of '99. I loved the level beneath the white tower that was nothing but traps, mainly because the lack of enemies was such a different pace from your typical shooter.

I wish the best of luck to Glen Dahlgren and the rest.

Don’t forget, they made Superhero League of Hoboken. You gotta love a game where your party members can equip items like a Neutron Fez, Asbestos Underwear, or a Trained Doberman.

Wheel of Time was fucking fantastic. I simply can’t believe the same people made the trash that was Unreal 2.

Unreal II was disappointing but I find it hard to consider it “trash.” It looked good, it played well enough, it was just a fairly standard shooter. Certainly not trash by my estimation.

Yeah, that’s too bad. I thought XMP was pretty mediocre, but Legend has made a lot of great games over the years. Mission Critical is still one of my all-time favorite adventure games. Wheel of Time was also an excellent, underrated game.

>>>I heard that they also shut down their QA group in Beverly, Mass., >>>but haven’t been able to confirm that.

Yes, they did lay off our whole QA staff (30+ people) in Beverly this past Thursday. 2 weeks prior they laid off all the temps (another 30+). They did make offers to folks to move out to Sunnyvale (where QA is now centralized), but not many people are gonna take that up.

This came as a major shock to all of us. Lots of tears, a lot of these folks stretch back to Microprose days.

Re: Legend, hadn’t heard that but i wasn’t in the office (Beverly) yesterday, so i might have missed the announcement (they usually don’t email us; they pull us into a conference room and verbally spin it). I’m sure I’ll get the full skinny on Monday…

[email protected]

I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath for Spellcasting 401.

Bummer on the QA guys, Con. (And “hi!”, didn’t know you were hanging around in these parts.) Hate to see the few segments of the industry that aren’t in Southern California get moved there… (Particularly since I’d never want to live down there.)

Shame about Legend. Old fogeys in the crowd will remember they did some interesting adventures in the early days – Eric the Unready, Spellcasting 101/201/301, the Pohl Gateway games. Not classics, but some good games that didn’t fit the Sierra mold so common at the time.

Legend co-founder Bob Bates goes way back, too. He developed a few games for Infocom before they died. Anyone know if he was still at Legend?

Speaking of non-California developers… Are Red Storm and Wild Bill’s Warbirds group the only game developers left in North Carolina now?

There are a handful, although I don’t know which are in business at any one time. Only name that immediately springs to mind is Vicious Cycle.

To the best of my knowledge, Bob was still Legend’s president.

Actually, to my thinking, the two Pohl games are classics – text/graphic adventures that felt more like action games.


Off the top of my head, the Research Triangle is home to Red Storm, Epic, Scion, and Vicious Cycle; I don’t know the state of the Warbirds group.


iEntertainment Network, the current incarnation of The Company Formerly Known as Interactive Magic, still seems to exist, though their stock floats back and forth between 1 and 2 cents a share these days and they haven’t had a profitable quarter in as far back as their chart at Yahoo financials goes.

Other companies still scraping by in the Triangle include Shrapnel Games and NDL (makers of the Gamebryo engine).

Triangle area fatalities are: Timeline, iROCK, Sinister, South Peak, Hasbro, Random Games and… oh, I’m probably missing somebody. It’ll come to me later.

Having lived in NC for about five years, I was kind of hoping it would be come a mini-mecca for game developers. Alas, it doesn’t seem as if companies have flocked there.

I’d think that project costs would be lower just due to the lower cost of living there. $75K in the Bay Area is enough to net you a decent apartment and leave you a few bucks for fun. $75K in RTP is living high on the hog.

Fanatastically what is the question… exceedingly average game, and the reviews pegged it as such.

Recruiting was always problematic-- not that many people wanted to come to RTP even when it was a mini-Mecca, back in the pre-dot.bust days. And you can’t have the companies (or keep them, it seems) without the people. Average team sizes have tripled at least over the past few years, and top-end teams easily run into the low hundreds of people.

It’s a chicken and egg issue, really. Even Red Storm survived only on Clancy’s coattails until Ubisoft bought us out.

And if you start working out salary equivalancies, don’t bother stopping at NC. Why not move the studio to Montreal, where thanks to local and national tax supports you only pay pennies on the dollar, and that’s the Canadian dollar, no less. Or eastern Europe for even less.

So is the game industry going to become more and more like Hollywood, where the talent lives in one area (LA, San Fran, ???) and works not for companies as much as they get hired on from project to project? It seems that as the costs to make games scales up it gets harder and harder for independant studios to survive. One dud game and they can be roadkill.