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Cyberdreams, Inc.

Overview

Cyberdreams was founded in 1990 by Patrick (Pat) Ketchum and owned by Rolf Klug, and stayed in business till 1997. To differentiate Cyberdreams from more established companies, Ketchum aimed to create high-quality science-fiction/fantasy/horror games for an adult audience, with a budget between $400-600,000. To each title a high profile artist - designer, writer, filmmaker etc. - would be attached, and during its existence Cyberdreams actually succeeded to collaborate with several celebrities, such as H.R. Giger, Syd Mead, and Harlan Ellison.

The company was, before it was named Cyberdreams, nothing more than a president, Patrick Ketchum, and a programmer, John Krause, who were working out of Ketchum’s house. Later on the company relocated to Woodland Hills, and then to Calabasas (CA). Though the staff had grown of course by the time the company's first games were published (Dark Seed, 1992 and CyberRace, 1993), it would never become a development company with a staff of in house artists that was self sufficient to create games, like for instance Dynamix or Presto Studios were when they were start-ups. Cyberdreams often commissioned out house artists, and later on development houses were chosen to implement the game designs provided by the company.

In the early years a few games were announced/taken into production that were never finished. "Evolver," a side-scrolling action game, would have become Cyberdreams' very first game, but it was halted. "Hunters of Ralk" was also taken into development and was even announced in game magazines. It was supposed to be the first episode in a series designed by Gary Gygax, co-creator of “Dungeons & Dragons.” The game was in production for over two years, but then halted as well. (Gygax' work wasn't lost: the RPG was released in 1999 as Lejendary Adventure.)

1995 became a central year in the history of the company. Two games were published: I have No Mouth, and I must Scream and Dark Seed 2. In both cases Cyberdreams had worked with well-known out house writers (Harlan Ellison and Raymond Benson) to create the scripts and game design documents, which were then implemented by development companies. In the credits of the games Patrick Ketchum was no longer mentioned. In 1995 an “internal shake-up” had taken place: the investors removed management and installed a “turnaround management team,” that would make a transition to 3rd party publishing. Paul Licari became the new President/General Manager.

It wouldn't help. Cyberdreams only managed to publish one more title, Noir: A Shadowy Thriller (1996). In the meantime a lot of projects (almost all action games) were announced/taken into development: Species, Reverence, The Incredible Shrinking Character, Blue Heat, Ares Rising, and Wes Craven’s Principles of Fear. Sometimes they had been in production for years. For instance, Wes Craven's Principles of Fear, developed by Asylum Entertainment, won the Bronze Medal award for Interactive Fiction at Electronic Entertainment Expo in Atlanta in 1997 and a demo was released, but the game was never completed, due to the closure of Cyberdreams. Only two games, in which Cyberdreams had little involvement, managed to survive and were published by other companies (Blue Heat and Ares Rising).

Early 1997 staff members started to leave the company, and in the same period the website went down. It was said that “the owner wanted to focus on his other businesses instead.” According to postings in the Usenet newsgroups, the company still confirmed orders for games in June 1997, but they didn’t answer the phone any longer.



Trivia

Company address in 1995:

Cyberdreams, Inc.
23585 Calabasas Road, Suite 102
Calabasas, California 91382

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