Westwood Studios (1985-2003) was a computer and video game developer, founded in 1985 as Westwood Associates by Brett Sperry and Louis Castle and based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Also Known As
Westwood Associates (1985 - 1992)
Westwood Studios, Inc. (1992 - )
The company's first projects consisted of contract work for companies like Epyx and Strategic Simulations (SSI), porting 8-bit titles to 16-bit systems like Commodore Amiga and Atari ST. Proceeds from contract work allowed the company to expand into designing its own games in-house. Their first original title was Mars Saga, a game developed for Electronic Arts and released in 1988. One of the company's first greater successes was Eye of the Beholder (1990), a real-time computer role-playing game based on the Dungeons & Dragons license, developed for SSI. Other publishers of early Westwood games included Infocom and Disney.
In 1992, the company was renamed Westwood Studios and sold to Virgin Interactive. Well-known Westwood titles from this period include Dune II, the adventure game The Legend of Kyrandia and the role-playing game Lands of Lore. Westwood's greatest commercial success came in 1995, with the release of the real-time strategy game Command & Conquer. Building on the gameplay and interface ideas of Dune II, it added pre-rendered 3D graphics for gameplay sprites and video cinematics, an alternative pop\rock soundtrack with techno elements streamed from disk, and modem play. Command & Conquer, Kyrandia, and Lands of Lore all spawned multiple sequels.
In August 1998, Westwood was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) for $122.5 million in cash, and at the time Westwood had 5% to 6% of the PC game market. In response to what was perceived as an unwillingness to maintain the Westwood brand and independence from EA, many long-time employees quit over the next few years.
Along with Westwood, EA had also acquired a development studio in Irvine, California. It was managed by Westwood and became known as Westwood Pacific (later EA Pacific). Westwood Pacific developed or co-developed games like Nox and the Command & Conquer sequel Red Alert 2.
One of the last games released by Westwood, Command & Conquer: Renegade (an action game which mixed elements from first-person shooters and real-time strategy games) failed to meet consumer expectations and commercial goals Westwood and EA had set for it. In March of 2003, Westwood Studios (along with EA Pacific) was liquidated by EA and all willing staff were assimilated into EA Los Angeles. At the time of its closure, Westwood employed more than 100 people. Their last game was the MMORPG Earth & Beyond.
Some time after the closing of Westwood Studios, a new game studio, Petroglyph, was formed consisting mainly of former Westwood employees.