Digital Anvil melted down

All-but-dormant studio formed by Wing Commander creator is put to sleep--staff "redeployed" to Microsoft Game Studios HQ.


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In 1996, game designer Chris Roberts founded an all-new studio, Digital Anvil. Already renowned for his creation of the then-popular Wing Commander series, Roberts had grown restless after his employer, Origin Systems, grew in size. He told the press that Digital Anvil would be a return to the smaller studio system which he felt produced better games.

However, it wasn't until four years later that Starlancer (PC, Dreamcast), the first game to bear the Digital Anvil imprimatur, was released. Around the same time, the small shop was bought by one of the biggest companies around--Microsoft, which folded it into its internal Microsoft Game Studios system. Chris Roberts promptly exited the company, but would consult on several games in development.

Microsoft's first move after buying Digital Anvil was to sell off two of its projects--Frontier Wars and Loose Cannon--to Ubisoft. It also took the previously PC-only Brute Force and turned it into an Xbox exclusive, released in 2003. That year also saw the release of the most acclaimed Digital Anvil game, Freelancer, for the PC.

Now, it appears Brute Force will have the distinction of being Digital Anvil's last game. Today, Microsoft confirmed to GameSpot that it has shut down the shop and is organizing a "redeployment" of its staff to studios at Microsoft Game Studios headquarters.

"Microsoft Game Studios has undergone a redeploying of resources in its Austin, Texas-based Digital Anvil studio and will centralize the studio's resources in Redmond, Washington," the company said in a statement. "We are working closely with current Digital Anvil employees to place each team member in a position on the Microsoft Game Studios team in Redmond if they so choose. This redeployment of resources will be finalized on January 31, 2006."

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Avatar image for halobullet

Freelancer 2 must be made for the gaming world to move forward.

Avatar image for Incrognito

You read the news (at least I hope you did ^_^). There will most likely not be another Freelancer. From the way it sounded, Microsoft merely gathered up Digital Anvil's resources and offered them a job. That doesn't sound like a company intending to open the door for a sequel =(.

Avatar image for orionkarate

This is the best space game I've ever had. Many years have gone, this game is still the best so far. Just love it! Any chance for Freelancer 2?

Avatar image for Commando6382

Freelancer is the best space game i own! This one is HARD to beet. If they make Freelancer 2 i will be happy.

Avatar image for tachyon96

The game Eve Online doesnt come close to the enjoyment we had with Freelancer....Now i have this game and cant play it online anymore?

Avatar image for orionkarate

I really enjoy Freelancer. Hopefully, Microsoft Game Studios will make Freelancer 2 or an Freelancer Expansion.

Avatar image for UnusualSuperFly

:( I WANT FREELANCER 2!!!!! We should all write angry letters to Microsoft and threaten never to buy any of their games again if they don't come to reason XD

Avatar image for nebert

This is really dissapointing freelancer is a game that is would be excellent to continue into further games i think it was one of the greatest games ever released microsoft made a big mistake here and now my Freelancer CD is cracked and it i will not be able to play it again ;(

Avatar image for Spectyle


Avatar image for Zarcon94

You know, I would go play X3 or something, but freelancer... is just better. X3 takes too much time and is too hard. Fans of the Lancer series LET US RISE UP AND TAKE THE MANTLE OF THIS GLORIOUS GAME! And finish it quickly before we get sued by Microsoft and a thousand other corporations.

Avatar image for Ilthik

MS will never, ever release source code for any piece of software its even looked at. If MS had the slightest feeling that an open source fan version of Freelancer 2 were to get too popular it would immediately sic its fleet of lawyers on the unfortunate fans. Make no mistake, they're in this for the money alone. They bought Digital Anvil to bury it and they've succeeded.

Avatar image for ChiefRedCloud

Freelancer is still a force to be recond within the Space Sim Family. Due to MP and extensive modding by the FL communities, Freelancer lives on. If more sources of the game were released it could even be better. So If Microsoft will not revisit FL, why not give the FL communities the chance to do more with it. Simply put, MS, release any code that is left, or make Freelancer 2 for the PC first.

Avatar image for gamer_1001

Screw this man, I want Freelancer 2!!!

Avatar image for Spartan1017

freelancer 2?!? i need BRUTE FORCE 2!!!!

Avatar image for erikthorsen


Avatar image for R3VOLV360

This is all the Xbox's fault >.> Now there's not gonna be a Freelancer 2 :shock: :cry:

Avatar image for jadelotuz

Elite ... I just say, Elite :) and, sad that DA got sacked ... by big brother MS. (as usuall).

Avatar image for Theknightsbane

I don't get it wing commander was doing well and then it died. I have been hoping somewhere in the small back of my mind that they would make a sequel to wing commander prophecy but no origin died, then anvil comes out with star lancer and free lancer. what is the deal with development companies they must think that sci fi space sims have no fan base which is bull. I mean come on we are just waiting for another wing commander quit killing space sim companies and let them be.

Avatar image for SciFiShooterGUY

The only Microsoft published games I ever remember playing are Mechwarrior 4 and Flight Simulator 2004.

Avatar image for quickshot14

Yea its sad I was hoping a fl2 may have been possible. At least theres still all the mods for it to keep it alive :) And of course for a real fix there freespace 2 open soruce project. I think it was great voltion did that before they died released the fs2 source code it's too bad da couldn't of done that, but like microsoft will release the source code of anything ,ha! Oh well theres still X2 and X3 to keep people intrested, and of course the great mods for freelancer, hey were trying to keep it intresting ;)

Avatar image for JeffAhola112

Freelancer was one of the best games ever made.... this sucks.

Avatar image for bumbacel

ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US (Microsoft to Digital Anvil - in an imaginary dialogue) :-) But serious now, this is bad news. Freelancer it one of my favorite games ever and I am actually playing it right now. Too bad to hear this. And I was dreaming for a sequel...

Avatar image for airforceone452


Avatar image for Dave_The_Slushy

"Microsoft Game Studios has undergone a redeploying of resources in its Austin, Texas-based Digital Anvil studio and will centralize the studio's resources in Redmond, Washington" Translation: Since Bill dropped the ball on Bungies "Secret Project" every farker not working on stopping 360's from burninating everything is now working on Halo 3.

Avatar image for brunocavaco

Starlancer was one of my favorite games of all time... it's a shame... To those who just know Freelancer, I bid you to try Starlancer... It ROCKS.

Avatar image for conkersbat

Brute Force was a great game. I'm sad to hear Digital Anvil croak. I'm just curious, will there be a Brute Force 2?

Avatar image for amerus

yup freelancer for the win. but it could have been better. to bad to see something like that go away. but its money money money... doh!

Avatar image for SHADOWSTRYK3R


Avatar image for itay390

damn, 3 of their games were my favorite : starlancer, conquest frontier wars, and freelancer and now nobody will create games like this? the world is getting worse and worse. digital anvil had a mind of mine in the scifi subject, there are no more companies with that mind : egosoft sucks, they demand super computers and their games are very boring. well.. pity.. guess we're going to live without scifi simulator games..

Avatar image for CthulhuRlyeh

wait.. it was elite FOUR

Avatar image for CthulhuRlyeh

i read something on elite for like a year ago

Avatar image for Exaspenite

My bad, I guess Enlight handled publishing duties rather than the actual development. I also missed mentioning Egosoft's X3: The Reunion, which came out just last month. Whoops... Anyway, my point is that space combat sims are few and far between, and the devs which worked on that genre, whatever was left them, are one less now.

Avatar image for Galaxy613

Nevermind that Egosoft made X2: The Threat... *roll eyes* Sad to see Digital Anvil gone. :( They could've improved FL...

Avatar image for Exaspenite

Wasn't Digital Anvil just about the last space combat sim maker out there after the demise of Origin? I suppose there's Enlight (maker of X2: The Threat) and Warthog (Mace Griffin, a space shooter/FPS hybrid, and Battlestar Galactica), but they've been MIA from the space shooter front for years, plus their resumes are pretty limited in that genre.

Avatar image for ArmoredAshes

This is the same reason im kinda worried about micrsoft getting hold of the final fantasy series...they may end up ruining it just like they did here. For their sake they had better not screw it up....especially if they are on that campaign to impress the people of asia.

Avatar image for insane956dv

Microsoft+EA=World domination

Avatar image for The_Getaway

WHAT THE HECK ?!!! THEY SOLD LOOSE CANNON OFF TO UBI ?!!!! god i never knew, i thought the game had been srcapped straight away... anyone suppose there are any plans for it ? cos it looked like what you get in GTA san andreas, only in 4 years in advance, and without the gangsta vibe... my most anticipated game of all time, *sigh*...

Avatar image for lilweightlifter

Microsoft owns everyone

Avatar image for Bargib

Been a very involved Lancer-series fan, and visited the guys a few times in Austin. Sad to see them moved appart as a group. I hope they get a better future where they go to... :'(

Avatar image for Inquisitor

" Go cry about it. So where is Roberts now? Has he made his own new studio yet? Or can he?" Roberts's latest hijinks according to Wikipedia: After leaving Digital Anvil, Roberts founded Point of No Return Entertainment, planning to produce films, television and games. He also founded Ascendant Pictures in 2002, where he is currently planning to direct a WWI movie called The American Knight.

Avatar image for TaintedTimmy

It's sad, with so many companies out there, you think there would be more great games comming out. I'm so tired of seeing the same rehashed crap every year. Brute Force seemed to fit in to the been there done that catagory.

Avatar image for Hellisunreal

Only the best will be kept (that to at incomes that MS sees fit), the rest will be thrown out like garbage.

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

It's sad, but at least Microsoft is giving Digital Anvil's employess the option to be placed in a position on the Microsoft Game Studios team. I hate to see people displaced/unemployed because of closings.

Avatar image for Antimerc191

I mean wtf?, how could microsoft destroy such a good games studio, i think im gonna cry. Aidos Digital Anvil you will be missed but never forgotten. R.I.P Digital Anvil Studios 1996 - 2005

Avatar image for MoogleDragoon

Yeah, how sad right when brute force came out myself and 3 friends were invited into their studio for a sneak play of it they were all nice guys here in Austin :( Don't leave us :(

Avatar image for SteveTwo

Wing Commander Online could have been great., but that's a dream of a dream.

Avatar image for craigbic

Aidios Digital Anvil. We'll miss you.

Avatar image for Benihana7

Wow, shame to see Digital Anvil go, Freelancer was a great game. :(

Avatar image for wiggleman

Freelancer is still one of my favorite games, I am very sad to hear this.

Avatar image for Treadstone71

I'm kind of curious - just what did these people do for the last two years?

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