Pumpkin Studios was formed in 1996. Their primary goal was to develop Warzone 2100, a new breed of RTS that would significantly improve the RTS genre.
Some info to pull in to this article:
Info from an old interview with Nick & Jim:
2: So who came up with the concept of Warzone 2100, the layout and the 3d and awesome camera?
The original idea grew from a brainstorming session between Jim Bambra, Alex Mclean, and myself back in the summer of 1996. It was a game that we had all wanted to do for some time. We felt that the RTS market at that time was somewhat stagnant and that were many areas that could be improved. The movement into a three-dimensional environment was also a logical move. Combat in the real world takes place in three dimensions after all. Height and elevation play an important tactical part of Warzone 2100, as it does in real warfare. It is difficult to see how a 2D system, even when using a pseudo 3D look, could do this so well as a full 3D environment like Warzone’s.
In addition to a great single player game we also set out to create an exciting multiplayer game that we would continue to support and expand over the internet. We also wanted to give players lots of starting options, hence the different base set-ups and the add-on options of the starting the game at any of the three tech levels (watch out for CAM 3 tech trees next week).
3: How many hours (roughly) where put into this game's creation?
It is easier to state this in terms of years. Let see that would be 45 man-years!
6: Who's idea was it to keep your base intact and have the map expand more as the missions go forward and always keeping the first base you built?
It was something I’d always wanted to do. Too many games have you build a great base only to take it away from you at the end of a mission. In WZ the base lasts from mission to mission which means you really care about it, plus you get to add new structures as the research progresses making your base and bigger and more impressive as the game moves on.
Back Row (standing) (Left to Right): Tim Cannell, Alex McLean, Erol Kentli, Annette Bell, Gareth Jones, John Elliot, Pete Ball, Jeremy Sallis Keith Ledger, Martin Severn, Paul Dunning.
Back of Sofa: Alex Lee, Kevin Wicks.
On Sofa: Kevin Ayre, Jim Bambra, Louise Anderson.
On Floor: Nick Cook, Pete Johnson.
Whilst Warzone 2100 was a great success, games developers have to keep releasing new titles. Pumpkin were doing just that, busy working on a came called "Saboteur" which they inherited from a company called Tigon. Eidos, however, saw trouble on the horizon - PS1 sales were dwindling and Saboteur wouldn't be released in time to generate sufficient revenue. As a result, Eidos cancelled the Saboteur project, effectively removing all funding from Pumpkin in the process, leaving Pumpkin no choice but to cease trading.
The Pumpkin Studios website published one final farewell message, which is shown below:
It is with extreme sadness I have to announce the closure of Pumpkin Studios, effective from the 13th March, 2000. This is due to the cancellation of the Saboteur project that we inherited from the game developer Tigon. Despite the considerable work and improvement that Pumpkin was able to effect in the five months it had the product, Eidos felt it was necessary to cancel the product due to its projected release date and the dwindling Playstation 1 market.
As a development team we are extremely proud of what we achieved with Warzone 2100. RTS games by their nature are one of the most demanding products to develop. Also Pumpkin wasn't shy of taking on an established market to create a product that was revolutionary in many ways. Quite an achievement for a studio's first product.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you the fans. Your continued support and feedback enabled us to refine the product far beyond the original release. In the end we released 10 updates, the main content being new features requested by you. I hope you feel we did a good job of this. We certainly feel that we added considerable value to the original product.
As regards our future, with such a talented group of individuals the future is always very bright!
A group of ex-Pumpkin staff went on to create a company called Pivotal Games, which was later acquired by a company called SCi. SCi went on to later acquire Eidos, and a few years after shut down Pivotal. SCi then renamed itself as Eidos Plc and was itself acquired by a company called Square Enix in 2009.
Pumpkin Studios - Developer:
- Jim Bambra - Director of Projects
- Nick Cook - Director of Development
- Alex McLean - Head of Software Engineering
- Annette Bell - Software Engineer
- Tim Cannell - Software Engineer
- Paul Dunning - Software Engineer
- John Elliot - Software Engineer
- Gareth Jones - Software Engineer
- Alex Lee - Software Engineer
- Jeremy Sallis - Software Engineer
- Pete Johnson - Graphic Artist
- Errol Kentli - Graphic Artist
- Kevin Wick - Graphic Artist
- Kevin Ayre - Graphic Artist /Mission Designer
- Martin Severn - Graphic Artist/Musician
- Keith Ledger - Designer
- Pete Ball - Systems Manager
- Louise Anderson - Project Coordinator
Eidos Interactive USA - Publisher:
- Mike Gilmartin - Producer
- Gary Keith - Product Manager
- Mike McHale - Quality Assurance Manager
- Rudi Ellis - Lead Quality Assurance
- Pete Schmalz - Lead Quality Assurance
- Jeremy Hunter - Hardware Compatibility
- Clayton Palma - Quality Assurance
- John Arvay - Quality Assurance
- Greg Rizzer - Quality Assurance
- Corey Fong - Quality Assurance
- Greg Coleman - Quality Assurance
- Tim Moore - Quality Assurance
- Kenneth Schmidt - Quality Assurance
- Chris Charles - Quality Assurance
- Franklin Vasquez - Quality Assurance
Eidos Interactive UK - Publisher:
- Eric Adams - Producer
- Grant Dean - Senior Producer
- Rose Montgomery - Eidos Development Support
- Flavia Timiani - Localisation Manager
- John Davis - Head of Marketing
- David Burton - Marketing Manager
- Rebecca West - Assistant Product Manager
- Steve Starvis - PR Manager
- Jonathan Rosenblatt - PR Manager
- Tony Bourne - QA Manager
- Jason Walker - Lead Quality Assurance
- Dave Isherwood - Lead Quality Assurance
- Linus Dominque - Lead Quality Assurance
- Michael Hanley - Quality Assurance
- Maf - Quality Assurance
- Dominic Berzins - Quality Assurance
Warzone's life story in detail:
- Pumpkin Studios — The original developers of Warzone 2100...
- NEWST — After the demise of Pumpkin Studios, a dedicated group of Warzone 2100 fans set up NEWST in order to continue development...
- Liberation — The story behind the open sourcing of Warzone 2100...
- The Warzone 2100 Project
- Warzone Versions — A brief history of Warzone releases on Windows, Linux and Mac.
- Development Activity — 235 years worth of contributions visualised on one page...
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