Bitmap Brothers, The

Moby ID: 173

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Founded in 1987 by Steve Kelly, Mike Montgomery and Eric Matthews the Bitmap Brothers were the original ‘rockstar’ developers - a small, but highly successful development team that prized quality over quantity, and depth over glitz. The company has been responsible for several memorable titles, released on a range of formats that have included 8, 16 and 32-bit home computers and consoles - from the Commodore 64 through to 21st century PCs and consoles.

The first game from the Bitmaps, Xenon, was released in 1988, a sophisticated shoot-‘em up that, through a combination of cutting-edge graphics and challenging gameplay, became the first Amiga game to enter the UK top 40 charts. The sequel, Xenon 2: Megablast, was an even bigger success.

Also in 1988, the Bitmap Brothers followed up the success of Xenon with the futuristic beat-‘em up ballgame, Speedball. Its sequel Speedball 2:Brutal Deluxe was their most critically-acclaimed game. A third title in the series, Speedball 2100 on the PlayStation, was released in September 2000. A 3D version entitled Speedball Arena was abandoned mid-project.

Other hits included TV tie-in Magic Pockets, much-delayed Steampunk shooter The Chaos Engine, and real-time strategy game Z. Their last game was World War II: Frontline Command. This was a WW2 RTS that used the 3D engine from Steel Soldiers.

At one point the studio was split into two studio sites - one in Wapping, London, the other in Harrogate in the north of England. In 1998, Kelly and Matthews both stepped down from the board to concentrate on games design and programming respectively, Mike Montgomery took on the role of Managing Director and successfully drove the company forward, investing in personnel and equipment that enabled the company to develop a new range of next-generation games software. Employing over 20 designers, programmers and artists, the Bitmap Brothers remained fiercely independent and entirely privately owned.

Credited on 22 Games from 1988 to 2021

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The Bitmap Brothers Collection 1 (2021 on Evercade)
Speedball 2 HD (2013 on Windows)
Speedball 2: Tournament (2007 on Windows)
Ford Racing: Full Blown (2006 on Arcade)
kill.switch (2003 on Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox)
World War II: Frontline Command (2003 on Windows)
Dead to Rights (2002 on Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox...)
Pac-Man World 2 (2002 on Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox...)
Steel Soldiers (2001 on Windows, iPhone, Android...)
Xenon 2000: Project PCF (2000 on Windows)
Speedball 2100 (2000 on PlayStation)
Z and Z Expansion Kit (1998 on Windows)
Z (1996 on DOS, Windows, PlayStation...)
The Chaos Engine 2 (1996 on Amiga)
Soldiers of Fortune (1993 on DOS, Windows, SNES...)
Magic Pockets (1991 on DOS, Dreamcast, Genesis...)
Gods (1991 on DOS, SNES, Genesis...)
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (1990 on DOS, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance...)
Cadaver (1990 on DOS, Amiga, Atari ST...)
Xenon 2: Megablast (1989 on DOS, Game Boy, Genesis...)

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History +

August 7, 2003

The Bitmap Brothers is one of the first companies in the UK to be accepted for the government's new "Access to Finance" initiative.


Company founded by Steve Kelly, Mike Montgomery and Eric Matthews.

Trivia +


  • Computer and Video Games
    • Issue 06/1989 - Winner Golden Joystick Award 1989 in the category "Programmer of the Year 16-bit" (reader's vote)

Related Web Sites +


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