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Backbone Entertainment was an American video game developer based in Emeryville, California. The company was formed in 2003 as the result of a merger between developers Digital Eclipse and ImaginEngine. In 2005, Backbone merged with The Collective to form Foundation 9 Entertainment.

History[]

Backbone Entertainment was formed in 2003 through a merger between Digital Eclipse, a developer of emulations of arcade games, and ImaginEngine, an edutainment games developer. ImaginEngine remained an independent studio, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, while Digital Eclipse's studios were absorbed by Backbone, becoming Backbone Emeryville and Backbone Vancouver, respectively. In 2004, in co-operation with the University of Hawaii, Backbone opened an office in Honolulu, Hawaii, under the lead of Backbone's chairman, Mark Loughridge. On March 29, 2005, Backbone Entertainment announced that it was merging with another developer, The Collective, to form Foundation 9 Entertainment. By this point, Backbone also operated Games2Learn, another edutainment game developer. Later in 2005, Backbone first rose to prominence with the release of Death Jr., a game for PlayStation Portable.

In February 2006, Backbone opened another subsidiary studio, Backbone Charlottetown, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, under the lead of Andrew Ayre. In May 2007, the new studio, including Ayre and several former Digital Eclipse employees, spun off from Backbone and became Other Ocean Interactive, aiming at showcasing Digital Eclipse's former traits in a smaller fashion. In September 2008, Backbone let go most people employed at its Vancouver studio, followed by a full closure of the studio in May 2009. In October 2012, Backbone laid off the majority of its Emeryville-based staff to avoid closing completely. A few days later, it was reported that ImaginEngine had shut down, leaving 25 people, including studio head Randall Sanborn, out of work. Backbone remained dormant, and Foundation 9 shut down in 2015 after its board of directors elected to dissolve the company.

Subsidiaries[]

  • Backbone Charlottetown (2006–2007)
  • Backbone Emeryville (2003–2015)
  • Backbone Vancouver (2003–2009)
  • Games2Learn
  • ImaginEngine (2003–2012)

Games developed[]

Year Title Platform(s)
2004 The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island Microsoft Windows
2005 Rifts: Promise of Power N-Gage
Death Jr. PlayStation Portable
Namco Museum 50th Anniversary GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Smash TV Xbox 360
Gauntlet
Joust
2006 Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Time Pilot
Scramble
Robotron: 2084
Contra
Frogger
Defender
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings Nintendo DS
Charlotte's Web Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Death Jr. II: Root of Evil PlayStation Portable, Wii
NBA Ballers: Rebound PlayStation Portable
Sonic Rivals
MechAssault: Phantom War Nintendo DS
2007 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Xbox 360
Streets of Rage 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog
Ecco the Dolphin Xbox 360
Golden Axe
Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Track & Field
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Super Contra
Rush'n Attack
Root Beer Tapper
Paperboy
Gyruss
Cyberball 2072
Bomberman Live
Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom Nintendo DS
Sonic the Hedgehog iOS
Brooktown High PlayStation Portable
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Sonic Rivals 2 PlayStation Portable
Shrek n' Roll Xbox 360
2008 Monster Lab Wii
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
1942: Joint Strike
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
2009 Space Invaders Extreme Xbox 360
Shinobi
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection/Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection PS3, Xbox 360
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Nintendo DS
Rock Band Unplugged PlayStation Portable
Lego Rock Band Nintendo DS
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2010 X-Men
Rock Band 3 Nintendo DS, Wii
2011 Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone
2012 The Simpsons Arcade Game
Dance Central 3 Xbox 360
Midway Arcade Origins PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
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