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The Climax Group

Overview

The Climax Group was founded by Karl Jeffery in 1987 and has a long history as a European game development house. Since early 2007 the company consists of one development studio, Climax Action based in Portsmouth, England. Around 2009 it was renamed Climax Studios Ltd.

In its early days the company focused on additional development and ports of existing games. It is not known if the company did any work in the industry in the nine years starting from 1987, but there appears to be a link with the software house Images Software Ltd. for the titles Shadow Dancer, R-Type (Atari ST) and Ninja Spirit. That company was also established by Jeffery and most likely Climax is the continuation of it. Initially development services were done under the name Climax. Later, different names were used for the division as the company expanded.

The first known work was in 1996 when Climax contributed art to the Genesis and Game Gear versions of Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble and then created their first original title, Muppets on the Go for the SEGA Pico. The team made the Saturn/PSX port Warcraft II: The Dark Saga (1997), the Saturn port of FIFA 98: Road to World Cup (1997), and the PSX ports of San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (1998), Diablo (1998), Populous: The Beginning (1998) and The F.A. Premier League Stars. A Saturn port of Cybersled they were working on along with Namco Hometek Inc. was cancelled.

At that time the company also had a number of demos it was pitching to publishers. Halcyon (PC/Dreamcast) was an RPG that combined high level resource management with real-time battles and open-world exploration. It was set in the universe of King Arthur, at the time shortly after his death. Another was a Dragonball 'Z' game for the Saturn, Huevos based on the arcade game Joust, and World Tennis, a 3D tennis game. None of these were eventually completed. In 1999 they announced the action RPG Symphony of Light. Originally intended for the Dreamcast, it eventually became the Xbox/Windows game Sudeki in 2004.

Around 1999, the company employed about 80 people and it was a licensed developer for the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo Game Boy Color. In October 1998 they already had established a separate PC division PC Studio, next to the main headquarters for console development. Shortly before, the company had also formed Game Boy World, a division for Game Boy handheld games. The entire company moved to a larger office in Fareham in 1999.

In 2000 the company released the PSX ports of Sim Theme Park, Superbike 2000 and Saban's Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue. Original work was delivered through NHL Blades of Steel for Konami (Game Boy Color), Warriors of Might and Magic (Game Boy Color) and Battlezone: Rise of the Black Dogs (Nintendo 64). In the same period the company established a joint venture with Games Workshop Ltd. to make an online, subscription-based game about the Warhammer universe. That would eventually become Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (2008), but by a different development studio as it was taken away from Climax in 2004.

Just before the new millennium, Climax had also started expanding its business through the acquisition of studios.The main development division had already been renamed Climax Fareham (Climax Solent by June 2002) to make the distinction clear. Following the quick demise of the Dreamcast, three original titles in development at that time were cancelled: Roswell Conspiracies (based on the BKN's series Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths & Legends), and the racing games Stunt Driver (made at Climax Brighton) and Austin Powers: Mojo Rally. A fourth title, Title Defense, was moved over for a PS2 release, but eventually not released.

In 2000 the PSX game ATV: Quad Power Racing was completed, along with Game Boy Color titles LEGO Alpha Team (2000) and LEGO Racers (2001). After those releases the Game Boy title Gauntlet: Dark Legacy for Atari was cancelled.

In the following years the different studios branched out with new titles such as the THQ MotoGP series and the RPG Sudeki.

In November 2002 Climax Handheld Games was established, and in May 2003 Climax LA - the first studio on another continent - as well as a new audio facility in Brighton in October 2003. The high amount of studios made it difficult for central management, and by November 2004 the European studios were reorganized into three main brands:Following the setback of the cancellation of Warhammer Online, Climax Online was closed by September 2005. By the summer of 2006 management stated that they wanted change Climax into a one location, one studio developer with a single management team. Climax Racing was sold to Buena Vista Games, Inc. in September 2006 and Climax LA was made a business division by February 2007. The reorganization was completed in February 2008 when the Kingston offices where Climax London and Climax Handheld Games used to be housed, were closed. The team had already moved to the Climax Solent location by then.

In 2009, only a single development studio remained: Climax Action, formerly called Climax Solent and the initial development division when the company first started. Eventually the name of the division was changed into Climax Studios Ltd. Since then the team was responsible for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009), Overlord: Dark Legend (2009), Overlord Minions (2009) and Rocket Knight (2010). Climax Studios then worked on an adaptation of the television series Gormiti for the Wii and Nintendo DS as Gormiti: The Lords of Nature! released in 2010. In 2011 the studio released the PlayStation Move game Eyepet & Friends.

The team is currently working on the XBLA game Bloodforge, and the Smart As PS Vita braintraining game under the banner of Sony (XDEV Studio Europe).

Trivia

Contact information (1999)

Climax Group
Fareham Heights
Standard Way
Fareham
PO16 8XT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1329 827777
Fax: +44 (0)1329 828777

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