Cavedog Entertainment was a label created in 1996 by Humongous Entertainment, a developer of children's computer games founded by Ron Gilbert and Shelley Day, to pursue the creation of mainstream games. Humongous Entertainment was originally independent, but was purchased in 1996 by GT Interactive, a video game publisher later acquired by Infogrames in 1999 (later renamed to Atari).
Cavedog gained the attention of gamers and the gaming press alike with the 1997 release of Total Annihilation (TA), winning many accolades such as multiple "Game of the Year" honors. The game's creator, Chris Taylor, left the company shortly before the release of the Total Annihilation: Core Contingency expansion pack to found his own development house, Gas Powered Games. Despite this loss, Cavedog released one more expansion pack, Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics, as well as many freely downloadable enhancements and patches, and built strong community support with their own online service Boneyards (now shut down) that matched opponents and provided a continuing game campaign.
In 1999, Cavedog released the eagerly anticipated Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. TA:Kingdoms largely reused the TA game engine[, replacing the science fiction theme with one of fantasy. TA:Kingdoms did not resonate as well with critics or fans of the original title. One expansion pack was released, The Iron Plague. ]
The closure of Cavedog came as the game industry began to experience a downturn in sales, to which parent company GT Interactive, was no exception. Besides the TA franchise, Cavedog had three ambitious games in development, but only Total Annihilation and TA:Kingdoms made it to store shelves and their sales were much smaller than their user base.
The unfinished projects were Amen: The Awakening, a promising first-person shooter; Elysium, a fantasy adventure title featuring a unique episodic distribution model; and Good & Evil, an adventure title from Ron Gilbert. With GT Interactive spiraling into debt and no ship dates in sight, all three were discontinued by the Fall of 1999. GT Interactive was purchased by Infogrames and the Cavedog label was discarded by Humongous Entertainment in 2000, which renewed its focus on children's games. Cavedog declared bankruptcy in 2000. Humongous Entertainment was shut down in 2005 by Infogrames (now called Atari). Cavedog's developers have played significant roles at Gas Powered Games and Beep Industries.
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