OverviewFireFly Studios is a London-based development company founded in 1999 by Simon Bradbury and Eric Ouellette, who had previously worked on the Caesar and Lords of the Realm series for Impressions Games.
Their debut title, the real-time strategy and city/castle building hybrid called FireFly Studios' Stronghold, was released in 2001 to public acclaim and set the tone for the studio's future portfolio. Although published by Gathering of Developers (by then a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive), the studio maintained control over the Stronghold intellectual property, which was rare at the time. The successful run continued with Stronghold Crusader, a 2002 Stronghold standalone expansion set in the Middle East during the earlier Crusades. The last game on that 2D engine was the 2003 management sim Space Colony, which was received lukewarmly.
In 2005, FireFly released their first 3D game, Stronghold 2 as an evolution for the franchise in terms of mechanics and content, and followed it with the 2006 spin-off Stronghold Legends, which was poorly reviewed. Also in 2006, FireFly released CivCity: Rome produced by Firaxis Games, who had also licensed the usage of the Civilization IP for the game.
In 2008, during the global financial crisis, the studio changed publishers to the short-lived Gamecock Media Group and released the panned Stronghold Crusader Extreme. Financially, the team was doing poorly and was at the only point in their history where they were forced to let parts of the studio go. A hack-and-slash RPG titled Dungeon Hero had to be cancelled around this time due to lack of funding. The publisher was changed again and back to 2K Games to release The Stronghold Collection in 2009.
A skeleton team of 4 developers created the alpha version of Stronghold Kingdoms in 2010, and was released on Steam in early 2012, during the platform's start of supporting free-to-play games, eventually gaining a large player base. Meanwhile, in late 2011, the studio released Stronghold 3, poorly received mainly due to its poor optimization and visibly rushed development, which the studio claims to have been because of the pressure of their publisher at the time, an also short-lived 7Sixty LLC, to release the game at a particular time.
In 2012, FireFly Studios decided to self-publish their games. Stronghold Crusader II was revealed at Gamescom 2012 and had a fundraising campaign meant to cover part of the development budget. Even though this campaign failed, the game was released in 2014 to some success. Very soon afterwards, the studio announced mobile ports of Stronghold Kingdoms and a new title codenamed Stronghold Next. In 2017, a dungeon crawler game called MetaMorph: Dungeon Creatures was announced, but after some time, its development was placed on the backburner. In 2019, the studio announced Romans: Age of Caesar, a game similar to Stronghold Kingdoms but set in ancient Rome, and at E3 2019, they fully announced Stronghold Next as Stronghold: Warlords after a prolonged period of teaser videos on YouTube revealing smaller details that the game would feature, with the game fully releasing in 2021.
Although the main studio is in London, United Kingdom, two smaller branches were opened over time in the United States and in Scotland. However, by January 2019, the company was split in terms of creative development as teams developing Stronghold: Warlords and Romans: Age of Caesar, with supporting and updating Stronghold Kingdoms on the side.
Contributed by Plokite_Wolf (55697) on Jul 19, 2019. [revised by : Plokite_Wolf (55697)].
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