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Troika Games was a computer game developer created by the key people behind the first of the critically acclaimed first games of the Fallout series. The company was focused on computer role-playing games between 1998 and 2005 for personal computer. It is best known for Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
In 1997 Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky and Jason D. Anderson were working on the Fallout sequel at Interplay. Finishing the initial design for Fallout 2, they were unable to come to an agreement with Interplay about the future team structure. They decide to leave Interplay to form a company that felt more like the old Interplay, producing computer role-playing games for PC in 1997. They formed their company on April 1, 1998, calling their new company Troika Games (a Russian word "Тройка" meaning "three of any kind"), since they were the three key Designers/Artists/Coders behind the critically acclaimed Fallout. They initially planned to do games exclusively for one publisher (Sierra Entertainment), but every game was published by a different company.
After disappointing sales on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and unable to secure funding for future projects, they were forced to lay off their staff in late 2004; and closed their doors on February 28, 2005.
They started the initial design in 1998 on a steampunk/fantasy crossover computer RPG named Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and convinced Sierra Entertainment to publish it. The game was launched on August 21, 2001. While criticized for being unpolished and having a bad combat engine, it received in general favorable reviews with an average of 81% on Metacritic. With 234,000 units sold it is, to this date, Troika's best selling game.
After Arcanum was released in 2001, two teams start to work on two separate games. One team created The Temple of Elemental Evil for publisher Atari which was released on the September 26, 2003. It was lauded for the good implementation of the D&D 3.5 system but overall it got mixed reviews due to gameplay bugs and lack of a plot. With a 71% on Metacritic it was the lowest rated Troika game. It sold about 128,000 units.
The other team worked for Activision on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Using an early version of the source engine, development was finished in October 2004. Due to contractual obligations with Valve Corporation, Activision was not allowed to release the game before Valve released Half-Life 2, scheduled for release in November 2004. Troika Games used the interim period to code a patch into the main program. Bloodlines was released on November 16, 2004 (the same day as Half Life 2). Critics praised Bloodlines' visual, audio and story but warned about a bug-ridden game. It got a rating of 80% on Metacritic, and sold merely 72,000 units.
In 2004 Troika tried to find a publisher for an unnamed post-apocalyptic computer role-playing game, but were unsuccessful, leading to rumors in January 2005 that the company had already shut down. Screenshots of the unnamed game were posted in 2004 to the Fallout fan sites "No mutants allowed" and "Duck and Cover". A video of the tech demo was released in early 2005 weeks before closing.
Future of Troika employees
After the shutdown ex-Troika staff has been picked up by the following companies:
- Tim Cain – Joined Carbine Studios in 2005 as programming director. Was promoted to design director in late 2008.
- Leonard Boyarsky – Took a year off due to burnout syndrome, then joined Blizzard Entertainment to work on Diablo III.
- Jason D. Anderson – Left the gaming industry to sell real estate. In September 2008 he joined Interplay Entertainmen to work on an unannounced MMORPG. In March 2009 he quit Interplay and joined inXile Entertainment as creative director in a new RPG project.
- Brian Mitsoda – Lead writer (also character designer). Joined Obsidian Entertainment, worked on Alpha Protocol. Left Obsidian to open his own development studio DoubleBear Productions in June 2009.
- Chad Moore – Lead character modeler. Joined Sony Computer Entertainment motion capture department, work includes Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed, God of War and Killzone.
- Brock Heinz – Lead scripter. Joined Obsidian Entertainment as programmer on Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Left Obsidian in early 2009, is now working at Turtle Rock Studios.
- Michael McCarthy – Lead artist. Worked for Double Fine Productions on Brütal Legend and for Radical Entertainment on Prototype.
- Dennis Taylor (programmer), T. J. Perillo (designer). Joined 7 Studios to work on the PS2 game The Sopranos: Road to Respect.
- Christopher Glenn (artist). Joined SuperVillain Studios
- ↑ http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_77/440-The-Rise-and-Fall-of-Troika
- ↑ Thorsen, Tor (2005-02-24). Troika closes - News at GameSpot. Gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura (pc) reviews at. Metacritic.com (2001-08-21). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Temple of Elemental Evil: A Classic Greyhawk Adventure, The (pc) reviews at. Metacritic.com (2003-09-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Troika Games' Sales Figures | News @ GameBanshee. Gamebanshee.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (pc) reviews at. Metacritic.com (2004-11-16). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Thorsen, Tor (2005-01-29). Rumor Control: The Supersized Edition - News at GameSpot. Uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Troika Games Untitled Post-apocalyptic RPG. YouTube (2006-07-29). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Carbine Studios. Carbine Studios (2008-10-24). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ McWhertor, Michael (2008-09-24). Interplay Brings Back Original Fallout Designer | Kotaku Australia. Kotaku.com.au. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ News - Fallout Designer Jason Anderson Joins inXile For 'Epic' RPG. Gamasutra (2009-03-18). Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Bumblebird vs Man-Man » Interview Without A Vampire: Bloodlines' B Mitsoda. Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewstory&threadid=100792
- ↑ Chad Moore. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Brock Heinz. MobyGames. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- ↑ Company Info. Appliedcinematics.com. Retrieved on 2009-08-01.
- Troikapedia a Troika Games Wiki.
- Troika Chronicles A Blog dedicated to Troika Games
- Troika Connection First Troika (Team) fansite
- The Escapist - The Rise and Fall of Troika
- Troikagames.com archived version from Terra-Arcanum, a Troika Games fansite