Frog City Software, Inc.

Moby ID: 1517

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Frog City Software, Inc. was a game development studio based in San Francisco (USA), founded in 1995 by the brothers Bill Spieth and Ted Spieth, and by Rachel Bernstein.

Development on the first game, Imperialism, was started in 1994, as mix between Civilization and Master of Magic, but with a supply and demand economy and a computer opponent that played by the same rules as the player. It was signed and funded by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1995 and released in 1997. The game sold about 300,000 copies and became a sleeper hit, leading SSI to request a sequel.

The team went on to work on two projects simultaneously, the sequel Imperialism II: The Age of Exploration, released in 1999, and a project running on the AXVI engine, designed for displaying games in two-and-a-half dimensions (pre-rendered sprites over 3D terrain). That eventually became Pantheon, an RTS / RPG hybrid about the Greek gods until it was cancelled in 2000 when SSI withdrew from the games industry.

The studio's third released title was the real-time trading simulation Trade Empires in 2001, now published by Eidos. Although it spanned 4,000 years and four continents, it was a small game, created fairly quickly using AXVI to tide things over after the cancellation of Pantheon. Eidos was pulling back from the PC business at the time and it was released ahead of schedule to help them round out a quarter.

The fourth game was Tropico 2: Pirate Cove in 2003, a sequel to a PopTop Software game, and published by Gathering of Developers. Another project, the strategy/RPG title Spymaster was pitched to Gathering/Take-Two Interactive. It was a thriller about spies in the Cold War, purporting to tell the secret history behind the headlines. Take-Two liked it so well they acquired the company in 2003.

The team started working on a 3D world using RenderWare. Work began on Snow, a strategy game about the business of smuggling pot and cocaine in America. After the initial prototyping, Gathering requested Xbox support for the team's first console title. At that point, the interface was redesigned and an interactive, branching story was added, told through over 70 cutscenes done with a graphic novel style. The game was shown at the E3 in 2005, but before it could be completed the studio was closed down in 2006 by Take-Two, as a part of a larger reorganization. A part of the team was merged into Firaxis. A core of veteran team members stayed together as Sidecar Studios.

Credited on 4 Games from 1997 to 2003

Tropico 2: Pirate Cove (2003 on Windows, Macintosh)
Trade Empires (2001 on Windows)
Imperialism II: The Age of Exploration (1999 on Windows, Macintosh)
Imperialism (1997 on Windows, Macintosh)

History +


Take-Two Interactive shuts down the company and merges most of the team into Firaxis. A core of veteran developers establishes Sidecar Studios independently.


The company is acquired by Take-Two Interactive.


Company founded.

Trivia +

Frog City Software's home page used to be at


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