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Ritual logo 2005
Ritual Entertainment
Former name(s) Hipnotic Interactive (1996-1997)
Founded August 12, 1996
Founder(s) Robert Atkins
Richard Gray
Michael Hadwin
Mark Dochtermann
Jim Dosé
Defunct January 24, 2007
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Website www.ritual.com (archived)

Ritual Entertainment, Inc. was a video game developer known for their work on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike (Xbox).

History

Troubled founding

Hipnotic logo

Hipnotic Interactive logo

Ritual Entertainment was originally founded under the name Hipnotic Interactive, Inc. on August 12, 1996 by 3D Realms employees Robert Atkins, Richard Gray, Michael Hadwin, Mark Dochtermann and Jim Dosé.[1][2][3] According to George Broussard, then president of 3D Realms, they left in the middle of the night without any prior notice.[4] The sudden decision by the employees to leave 3D Realms left a lot of bad blood between the companies and several gaming journalists called the event a mutiny.[5][6]

Tom Mustaine and Harry Miller joined the company three days after it had been founded,[3] but they are still sometimes listed as founders[7][8] despite not technically being there from the very beginning.

The company released one title, Scourge of Armagon, before the name had to be changed to Ritual Entertainment on June 9, 1997 due to trademark issues.[9][10]

Counter-Strike to provide relief

In early August 2002, Ritual Entertainment was in a difficult financial situation as EA Games had cancelled the PC port of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which had been a very lucrative project for the company.[11][12] As Gearbox Software had only recently withdrawn from the development of the Counter-Strike series, Valve Software was looking for new developers for both Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Counter-Strike (Xbox). An agreement was quickly reached and further development on these titles was overtaken by Ritual Entertainment.[13]

The primary focus for the company was finishing Condition Zero. Ritual Entertainment had a 10 month time frame to work on the title and by June 2003 they were finished with development.[14] However, when Valve Software conducted internal playtests of the title, they found the gameplay experience unsatisfactory and thus the project was restarted with Turtle Rock Studios in charge of development.[15] The game as developed by Ritual Entertainment was eventually released separately as Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes.

In June 2003, Ritual Entertainment encountered financial trouble and was forced to lay off some employees as the company had been unable to secure a new project after work on Star Trek: Elite Force II had been completed.[16] However, it was stated that the development of neither Condition Zero nor the Xbox version of Counter-Strike would be affected.[16]

After Ritual Entertainment had finished development on Condition Zero in June 2003, most of the company shifted over to working on the Xbox version of Counter-Strike.[17] Once again they had a very short time frame to work on the title and the game was mostly finished by late August/early September.[17] The game was released to retailers a few months later.

New troubles ahead

In late 2006, Ritual Entertainment faced new financial troubles. Their previous release, SiN Epsiodes: Emergence had sold decently but not well enough to completely fund its sequel and thus its development was cancelled.[18] Soon, several key personnel would depart and the company was restructured.[19] On January 24, 2007 MumboJambo announced that they had acquired Ritual Entertainment.[20]

Games

  • 1997 – Quake Mission Pack: Scourge of Armagon (as Hipnotic Interactive)
  • 1998 – SiN
  • 1999 – SiN: Wages of Sin (Co-developed with 2015, Inc.)
  • 2000 – Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K.²
  • 2000 – Blair Witch Volume 3: The Elly Kedward Tale
  • 2003 – Star Trek: Elite Force II
  • 2003 – Counter-Strike (Xbox version)
  • 2003 – Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (Released in 2004 as Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes)
  • 2003 – Legacy of Kain: Defiance (Co-developed with Crystal Dynamics)
  • 2004 – Delta Force: Black Hawk Down - Team Sabre
  • 2006 – 25 to Life (Co-developed with Avalanche Software)
  • 2006 – SiN Episodes: Emergence

References

  1. 3D Realms (1997-02-25). "Activision spreading misleading information about Duke Nukem Team". 3D Realms. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  2. Ritual Entertainment (2001-08-13). "Happy Birthday to us...". Ritual Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2001-12-30. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hipnotic Interactive (1996-08-15). "PC Industry's Top Game Designers Form New Development Corporation. Blue's News. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  4. Bowen, Kevin (1997-03). "Lord of the Realms". The New Vore Times. Archived from the original on 1997-06-07. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  5. Heaslip, Stephen (1998-11-16). "Blue and Levelord Get Drunk!". loonygames 1:13. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  6. Heaslip, Stephen (1996-08-18). "August News - Now They're Calling it a Mutiny". Blue's News. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  7. Grce, Goran (2006-08-22). "Trying to Create the Ultimate FPS: A Look Back at SiN". Ritualistic. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  8. O'Connor, Alice (2017-02-01) "Doom helpers Escalation Studios join ZeniMax". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  9. Ritual Entertainment (1997-06-10). "News - Ritual Entertainment". Ritual Entertainment. Archived from the original on 1998-01-25. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  10. Ritual Entertainment (1997-06-09). "Hipnotic Interactive changes name of company to Ritual Entertainment". Ritualistic. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  11. IGN Staff (2002-08-05). "Two Towers Cancelled?". IGN. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  12. Gibson, Steve (2002-12-30). "Shacknews Article: Counter-Strike: Condition Zero". Shacknews. Archived from the original on 2003-01-27. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  13. Styles, Andrew (2006-10-26). "Counter-Strike: Bringing the World's Most Popular Shooter to Xbox Live". Ritualistic. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  14. Tinney, Charles (2004-05-05). "Stop misleading people!!". Ritualistic Forums. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  15. Thorsen, Tor (2003-10-17). "Condition Zero commotion has golden ending". GameSpot. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Keefer, John (2003-06-13). "Ritual lays off Elite Force 2 team". GameSpyDaily. Archived from the original on 2003-07-01. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Tinney, Charles (2003-12-08). "CSX". Ritualistic Forums. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  18. Hessel, Steve & Grce, Goran (2007-01-29). "Going Small - How the MumboJumbo Merger Will Affect Ritual". Ritualistic. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  19. Remo, Chris (2006-12-06). "Ritual Sees Departures, Appoints New Studio Director". Shacknews. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  20. MumboJambo (2007-01-24). "MumboJumbo™ Acquires Game Development Studio Ritual Entertainment™". Business Wire. Retrieved 2017-05-17.

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