OverviewThe development studio was founded as Hipnotic Software in August 1996 and it is based in Dallas, Texas (2006). One of the founders was Tom Mustaine. Their first title was Quake Mission Pack No 1: Scourge of Armagon (1997), the first official expansion pack to id Software's Quake. In June 1997 the name was changed to Ritual Entertainment and their most important title so far is SiN (1998), a first-person shooter based on the id Tech 2 engine and set in a modern environment. It was followed by the expansion Wages of Sin (1999) created together with 2015, Inc.
In 2000 two more games were released: the third-person platformer Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 and the third game in the Blair Witch series: Blair Witch, Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale. Their next game was Star Trek: Elite Force II (2003), a sequel to Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force by Raven Software Corporation.
Ritual started work on Counter-Strike: Condition Zero in December 2002, the single player version of the popular Counter-Strike multiplayer title, after both Rogue Entertainment and Gearbox Software had taken on the project but did not complete it. A few months later, a second team at Ritual began work porting Half-Life: Counter-Strike to the Xbox (using updated assets from Condition Zero), shipping that product in November 2003. However, the review copies of the finished Condition Zero game received negative feedback and in the summer of 2003 Valve decided to hand the project to Turtle Rock Studios. Turtle Rock went on to develop a completely different game, including Ritual's missions as Deleted Scenes in the retail version released in 2004. That same year, Ritual released the Team Sabre expansion pack to Novalogic's Delta Force: Black Hawk Down.
The studio's final game as an independent studio was SiN Episodes: Emergence, another take on the SiN shooter franchise envisioned as a series of episodic downloads through Valve's Steam distribution service along with retail copies. Ritual had nine instalments planned, but that came to a halt after just one episode when the studio was acquired by the casual game development studio MumboJumbo in January 2007. This was no surprise as the response to the SiN Episodes project was underwhelming and several key employees had already left the company prior to the acquisition. Steve Nix left to become the director of business development at id Software, vice president and co-founder Tom Mustaine went to work on the now-canned eSports title Severity for the now defunct Cyberathlete Professional League. Level designer John Schuch went to 3D Realms and QA manager Michael Russell also left. After the acquisition, community relations manager Steve Hessel moved on to Splash Damage. Already before the acquisition, Ken Harward had been appointed the new company director.
MumboJumbo's CEO Mark Cottam explained the other episodes were not completely shelved, but Ritual was hired to create high-quality casual games, not to enter the more mainstream market.
Before the acquisition Ritual had also contributed assets to 25 to Life (2006) and created the Übertools for id Software's id Tech 3, which were licensed to several other developers.
Since then, the only major title Ritual has contributed to is Electronic Arts Los Angeles' Medal of Honor: Airborne (2007). The team has been integrated entirely into MumboJumbo and no longer operates as a division within the company.
Ritual's unreleased projects include a PC version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and a demo/prototype of SiN 2 (2003).
Also Known As
- Hipnotic Software (from Aug, 1996 to Jun 08, 1997)
TriviaThe company website was formerly located at www.ritual.com
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