R.I.P: 20 Years of Eidos Interactive

We pay tribute to one of the last great British publishers

  • Popular British video game developer and publisher [[artnid:121981|Eidos Interactive]] recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary – on the eve of the wrap up of the company’s buyout by Square Enix – that will unfortunately mean that the brand will cease to exist. Over the past two decades, Eidos Interactive has introduced the world to many great video games; from the irrepressible Tomb Raider to Final Fantasy on the PC.

    To mark this bittersweet occassion, join us on a trip down memory lane as we rediscover the greatest highs and lows of Eidos Interactive over the years.

  • Chuck Rock (1991)

    One of Eidos’ earliest collaborations was Chuck Rock. Working alongside Core Design, Eidos began its development phase with this side-scrolling platform game that saw you navigate through the Stone Age with the titular Neanderthal. Amusingly, the villain was modeled after a certain British pop singer who would go on to live in infamy (hint: the villain's name is Gary 'Gritter').
  • [[artnid:226299|Tomb Raider]] (1996)

    A big hit for Eidos came in the form of a busty, brainy and sharp-shooting archaeologist named Lara Croft. The covergirl enticed countless boys and men (as well as many gamer girls) into the Tomb Raider fold, which has now spawned eight sequels and two films starring Angelina Jolie. As you can probably tell by the screenshot, game development has come a long way since ’96.
  • [[artnid:308648|Final Fantasy VII]] (1997)

    Commercially and critically known as the game that sold the Playstation, Final Fantasy VII is still considered one of the greatest video games ever created. In 1998, Eidos published the Windows version, bringing Square's masterpiece to a whole new community of gamers.

    In Feburary last year, Square Enix, the company behind the Final Fantasy series, bought out Eidos Interactive. All future Eidos IP (Tomb Raider, Thief, etc) will now ship under the 'Square Enix Europe' brand.
  • [[artnid:71545|Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver]] (1999)

    1999 saw the release of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, a fantasy-action game which tied together combat and puzzle solving to critical acclaim. The game was a follow-up to the isometric PlayStation title Blood Omen, although it starred a new character and had a completely different play style.

    Unfortunately, the three sequels that followed were less successful, with widespread criticism for repetitive gameplay.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Cont.)

    Later releases in the Legacy of Kain series failed to improve on their forbearer.
  • [[artnid:299519|Thief series]] (1998 – 2004)

    Reaching ‘hall of fame’ status, Thief was one of the first games to incorporate stealth as a gameplay mechanic. Unlike Legacy of Kain, this series maintained its top-tier status as sequels began to emerge from the shadows. A fourth game in the series, imaginatively titled Thief 4, is currently in development.

  • Thief series (Cont.)

    The City enthralled gamers with its fusion of steampunk and medieval architecture. To this day, it remains one of the most original video game worlds ever realised.
  • Thief series (Cont.)

    Garret -- sneak-thief, cut-purse and rogue for hire.
  • [[artnid:205897|Fear Effect]] (2000)

    Lucky not to receive the ‘Uwe Boll’ move-adaptation kiss of death, Fear Effect is set in a futuristic China under the premise of three mercenaries out to ransom a wealthy businessman’s daughter. The end result is an action-packed adventure/survival horror game, with lesbian undertones. No really.

    A sequel was released in 2001.
  • [[artnid:324898|Deus Ex]] (2000)

    Published by Eidos at the start of this millennium, Deus Ex combines role playing and first-person shooter elements in a dystopian cyberpunk future. The game was critically lauded at the time of release and remains a fixture on Best Games of All Time lists to this day. A prequel is currently in development.
  • [[artnid:139309|Hitman series]] (2000 - 2006)

    The Hitman series has been widely popular ever since it was first published on the PC in 2000. Ten years on and Hitman is set to release its fifth instalment in 2011 — however the less said about the film adaptation, the better.

  • Hitman (Cont.)

    There are so many interesting ways to die...

    The Hitman series has won over fans with its unconventional weapons and inventive kills.
  • [[artnid:117113|Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness]] (2003)

    Widely regarded as the worst Tomb Raider game ever made, Angel of Darkness was riddled with bugs and game control problems. Consequently, the series was placed on a forced hiatus for nearly five years. Every rose really does have its thorn.

  • [[artnid:120068|Shellshock: Nam ’64]] (2004)

    Another average offering from Eidos came in the form of Shellshock: Nam ’64, a Vietnam War based third-person shooter game. It was mainly disregarded for its repetitive gameplay and ropy enemy AI. On the plus side, it had one of the most effective and chilling intros in video game history.

    In 2009, Eidos released a sequel which added an inexplicable zombie element (the previous game had strove for authenticity).
  • Shellshock: Nam ’64 (Cont.)

    Although it failed to gel as a satisfying game, Shellshock: Nam ’64 was still noteworthy for its gritty authenticity. One of the more shocking moments involved a Vietnamese prostitute being knifed to death by a psychotic GI.
  • [[artnid:256175|Lego Star Wars: The Video Game]] (2005)

    A somewhat surprising hit, Lego Star Wars enthralled young and old gamers alike.
  • [[artnid:166490|Just Cause]] (2006)

    Eidos' take on the sandbox genre managed to put a fresh spin on the stale GTA template. The game essentially set you loose on a tropical island teeming with bad guys and encouraged you to cause as much havoc as possible. While reviews were mixed, it remains a noteworthy addition to the genre.
  • Just Cause (2006)

    A [[atnid:340911|sequel to Just Cause]] was released in March, 2010.
  • [[artnid:188961|Tomb Raider: Anniversary]] (2007)

    Tomb Raider: Anniversary ushered Lara into the high-def era; a full ten years since her pneumatic debut. By returning the series to its explorative roots, Eidos managed to wash away the stain left by Angel of Darkness. Finally, gaming's biggest and best heroine was back.
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Cont.)

    Tomb Raider: Anniversary ushered in a more realistic looking Lara, although certain physical attributes remained somewhat exaggerated. (Seriously, those lips are ridiculous.)
  • [[artnid:352794|Kane & Lynch: Dead Men]] (2007)

    Holding a bit of a cult following since its release in 2007, Kane & Lynch is a third-person cooperative shooter game that begins with two death row inmates breaking out and ends in a whole heap of bloodshed. Its sequel, [[artnid:352794|Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days]], comes out next month.
  • Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Cont.)

    Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was the cause of much controversy after Gamespot editor Jeff Gerstmann was fired in relation to the game. It was alleged Gerstmann was [[xref:|dismissed due to advertising pressure]], after giving the game a mediocre score.
  • [[artnid:222832|Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures]] (2008)

    Age of Conan is a truly massive MMORPG, as epic as any blockbuster starring Aarnold Schwarzenegger. Its combat-fuelled campaigns brought new and excited gamers into the online fold. And yes [[artnid: 353514|Old Spice guy]], this man is also on a horse!
  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Cont.)

    Though dwarfed by the ever-popular World of Warcraft, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures remains an excellent and fittingly gritty MMORPG. In May 2010, the expansion Rise of the Godslayer was released, featuring extra regions to explore and a new race of playable characters.
  • [[artnid:275084|Batman: Arkham Asylum]] (2009)

    When it comes to blockbuster games, not many come close to Batman: Arkham Asylum — a Rocksteady developed and Eidos published action-stealth adventure game which pins the Dark Knight against the charismatically schizophrenic Joker and other well-known villains in an apocalyptic Arkham Asylum. Not only was it awarded the BAFTA last year for ‘Game of the Year’-- [[artnid:340306|beating out Uncharted 2]] -- but it currently holds the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Video Game Ever’. Wow indeed.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (Cont.)

    In Harley Quinn, Batman: Arkham Asylum made homicidal psychosis disturbingly appealing.
  • What next?

    While the Eidos name will soon be no more, the nucleus of the company will continue to evolve within Square Enix Europe. Naturally, we'll also have all those memories of the great games the company brought us over the years. Truly, Eidos Interactive were one of the bastions of British games publishing. Salut.
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