OverviewNEON Software was a German development studio founded in 1993 by Antony Christoulakis, Boris Triebel, Jan Jöckel, Michael Büttner, and Peter Thierolf. The latter previously co-founded Kaiko in late 1990. A little later Matthias Wiederwach (also with Kaiko) joined as a shareholder.
After some games commissioned for advertising NEON picked up the development of the tentatively named platformer Timet: the Flying Squirrel that was originally started at Kaiko. Aiming to become a console developer NEON struck a deal with publisher Ocean Software Ltd., who attempted to launch Mr. Nutz as a mascot with a SNES game. Because of the thematic similarities, Timet became Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad as a sequel to Ocean's Mr. Nutz (1994). After the Amiga release work on a SEGA Mega Drive port was started but eventually never finished because of Ocean's dwindling interest in the platform. Ocean was satisfied with the work however and NEON signed a deal for four more games for multiple platforms.
NEON started work on the PC role-playing game Vanished Powers (eventually unreleased) and completed the action game Tunnel B1 in 1996. Shortly after the release Ocean ran into financial difficulties and was acquired by Infogrames (now Atari). Some payments to NEON were still due and the studio was forced to lay off about 20 people. In a dispute with the other four founders Büttner and Wiederwach left the company. Büttner moved on to X-ample Architectures where Viper was completed for Ocean in 1998.
NEON took a different direction. After completing Mars Taxi (1997) the studio focused on mostly licensed Game Boy Color games for different publishers such as Janosch (1999), Pumuckls Abenteuer bei den Piraten (1999), Tabaluga (1999), Maya the Bee: Garden Adventures (2000), Pumuckls Abenteuer im Geisterschloss (2000), Die Maus: Verrückte Olympiade (2001), Santa Claus Junior (2001), and Santa Claus Jr. Advance (2002 - GBA), but also titles like the action shooter Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M. (1999) and the BMX game Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (2000).
The company was purchased by JoWooD in 2000. Triebel left in 2003 and went on to co-found the development studio ZEAL GmbH. NEON's last title was the PS2 game Legend of Kay (2005). JoWood ran into financial difficulties and in late 2005 NEON was closed and all developers were let go. Former employees went on to work at other German developers and some founded the German studio 49Games GmbH.
The three remaining owners, Christoulakis, Jöckel, and Thierolf, founded keen games GmbH & Co. KG in 2005 with some other developers.
TriviaThe company website was http://www.neonstudios.de/
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