Crystal Dynamics is an American video game developer formed in mid-1992 by Sega veterans Judy Lange (sales and acting CEO), Madeline Canepa (marketing) and Dave Morse (Amiga). Based in the San Francisco Bay area, the company was acquired by Eidos Interactive, a British video game publisher, in 1998, and is still part of the Eidos group. Eidos Interactive has been subsequently acquired by British entertainment company SCi in 2005.
Crystal Dynamics has developed games both for the PC and for various consoles. At one time, Crystal Dynamics was also a publisher; mostly publishing games that it had developed itself. However, it also published several games developed by other companies. The compnay is most well known for developing the Legacy of Kain and Gex series, but in 2006 the studio finished development of Tomb Raider: Legend and is now believed to have creative control over and primary development responsibilities for the best-selling Lara Croft: Tomb Raider franchise.
In 1993 Strauss Zelnick, then president of 20th Century Fox's film studio, was hired to run Crystal Dynamics, and the company became the first licensed developer for 3DO, a gaming hardware platform simultaneously funded by Kleiner Perkins. However, 3DO's launch during the 1993 Christmas season was a commercial failure, undermining Crystal's one-platform software strategy, and resulting in the resignation of Zelnick and Lange.
The company then become a leading publisher for two new 32-bit, 3D-capable consoles, the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation. Randy Komisar was hired from LucasArts in 1994 to replace Zelnick as CEO. Crystal Dynamics expanded to a staff of 140, and shipped some of the world's first PlayStation and Saturn games for Christmas 1994. However, losses continued to mount.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America, which had the power to set both retail price and cost of goods for licensed publishers of PlayStation games, dictated a reduced retail price for such games, reducing the contribution margin of Crystal Dynamics games to a point where the company could not make money on its existing sales and cost structure.
In May 1996, with mounting debts and no route to profitability in sight, Kleiner Perkins changed the company's publishing strategy and laid off 40% of the staff. Crystal was recast as a boutique game developer, and was bought by Eidos in 1998.
- 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue (PlayStation/Dreamcast/Game Boy Color, 2000)
- 3D Baseball (Saturn, 1996)
- Akuji the Heartless (PlayStation, 1999)
- Blazing Dragons (PlayStation, 1996)
- Crash n' Burn (3DO, 1993)
- Gex series
- Gex (3DO, 1994; Sega Saturn, 1995; Sony PlayStation, 1995; PC, 1996)
- Gex: Enter the Gecko (PlayStation/N64, 1998)
- Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko (PlayStation/N64, 1999)
- The Horde (3DO, 1994; Saturn/PC, 1995)
- Legacy of Kain series:
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain(PC, PlayStation)
- Soul Reaver (PC, PlayStation, 1999; Dreamcast, 2000)
- Soul Reaver 2 (PS2, 2001)
- Blood Omen 2 (Xbox, 2001; PC/PS2/GameCube, 2002)
- Defiance (PC/Xbox/PS2, 2003)
- Mad Dash Racing (Xbox, 2001)
- Off-World Interceptor (3DO, 1994)
- Off-World Interceptor Extreme (PlayStation, 1997)
- Pandemonium series
- Pandemonium (PlayStation/Saturn 1996; NGage, 2003)
- Pandemonium 2 (PlayStation, 1997)
- Project Snowblind (PC/Xbox/PS2, 2005)
- Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2/Xbox/PC/PSP/Xbox 360/GameCube, 2006)
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PS2/Xbox/PC/PSP/Xbox 360, 2007)
- Tomb Raider: Legend 2 (PS3/Xbox 360/PC/PSP, 2008)
- Total Eclipse (3DO, 1994)
- Total Eclipse Turbo (PlayStation, 1995)
- The Unholy War (PlayStation, 1998)
- Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour (Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, PlayStation, 2000)
- Whiplash (Xbox, PlayStation 2, 2003)
- Sample This! (commercial sample title for 3DO, 1993)