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Universal Interactive
Division
Industry Video game industry
Fate Dissolved
Founded January 4, 1994; 24 years ago
Founders Skip Paul
Robert Biniaz
Defunct March 3, 2006
Headquarters Universal City, California, U.S.
Area served
North America
Parent Universal Studios (1994–2000)
Vivendi Universal Games (2000–2006)
Website www.universalinteractive.com (archived)
Universal Interactive (formerly Universal Interactive Studios) was an American video game publisher. The foundation of Universal Interactive Studios was announced by MCA Inc. on January 4, 1994.[1] Leading key personnel for the foundation were Skip Paul and Robert Biniaz.[2] The company's first product was Jurassic Park Interactive, which was previously announced in 1993 and released on May 10, 1994, to mixed reception.[3][4] Universal Interactive Studios had their biggest success with Crash Bandicoot in 1996.[5] When Univeral Studios merged with Vivendi in July 2000,[6] Universal Interactive Studios was re-organized under Vivendi's Havas Interactive (later Vivendi Games) division as Universal Interactive.[7] Vivendi Universal divested of the "Universal" name, including Universal Interactive, on March 3, 2006.[8]

History Edit

Before Universal Interactive was founded, MCA/Universal solely licensed games as merchandise. Among the games published this way was the notorious E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982.

The purchase of Universal to Matsushita Electric (operating as Panasonic) in 1990 was conducted in part by Skip Paul, who was an executive at Atari during the E.T. deal. Matsushita soon became the primary hardware licensee for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, leading a corporate push for MCA to provide entertainment software for the platform.

The division was officially launched by Paul in 1993 with the announcement of its first title, Jurassic Park Interactive. It was intended to be released as a launch title for the 3DO, but it was delayed until 1994.

Universal Interactive Studios

Universal Interactive Studios logo since 1993 until 2002 which renamed to Universal Interactive

That same year, Universal Interactive made three-game contracts with upstart developers Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog, who respectively pitched Disruptor and Way of the Warrior. Vice president Mark Cerny oversaw the development of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon series under these deals. Cerny would quit his position in 1998 to become an independent consultant for the two developers as they eventually moved out of Universal.

A division named Universal Studios Digital Arts was formed exclusively for Xena: Warrior Princess.

After Universal was bought by Vivendi in 2000, Universal Interactive was consolidated along with other purchased studios into Vivendi Universal Games. The label continued to be used until 2003, when it was retired in favor of its parent company. However the company still made and distribute games under the Vivendi Universal name until they were shut down in 2007 after their last game Scarface: The World Is Yours on the Wii was out in stores.

Games published Edit

Year Title System Developer Publisher
1994 Jurassic Park Interactive 3DO Interactive Multiplayer Studio 3DO Universal Interactive Studios
Way of the Warrior Naughty Dog
1996 Crash Bandicoot PlayStation Sony Computer Entertainment
Disruptor Insomniac Games Universal Interactive Studios (NA)
Interplay Productions (EU/JP)
1997 Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back Naughty Dog Sony Computer Entertainment
1998 Spyro the Dragon Insomniac Games
Running Wild Blue Shift 989 Studios (NA)
Sony Computer Entertainment (EU)
Crash Bandicoot: Warped Naughty Dog Sony Computer Entertainment
1999 Xena: Warrior Princess Universal Studios Digital Arts Electronic Arts
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! Insomniac Games Sony Computer Entertainment
Crash Team Racing Naughty Dog
2000 Spyro: Year of the Dragon Insomniac Games
The Grinch Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Artificial Mind and Movement Konami
Crash Bash PlayStation Eurocom Entertainment Software Sony Computer Entertainment
The Mummy Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Rebellion Developments Konami
Woody Woodpecker Racing Syrox Developments
2001 The Mummy Returns PlayStation 2 Blitz Games Universal Interactive Studios
Spyro: Season of Ice Game Boy Advance Digital Eclipse
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex PlayStation 2 Traveller's Tales
2002 Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure Game Boy Advance Vicarious Visions Universal Interactive
Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex GameCube, Xbox Eurocom Entertainment Software, Traveller's Tales
Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon Xbox Ronin Entertainment
4x4 EVO 2 GameCube Terminal Reality
The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian GameCube, PlayStation 2 Point of View, Inc.
Spyro 2: Season of Flame Game Boy Advance Digital Eclipse
Monster Force
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly GameCube, PlayStation 2 Check Six Games, Equinoxe Digital Entertainment
2003 Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced Game Boy Advance Vicarious Visions
Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox Blue Tongue Entertainment
Hulk GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox Radical Entertainment
The Incredible Hulk Game Boy Advance
Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs Digital Eclipse
Crash Nitro Kart Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox Vicarious Visions
Battlestar Galactica PlayStation 2, Xbox Warthog Games

References Edit

  1. Marx, Andy (January 5, 1994). MCA gets into interactive. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  2. HARMON, AMY (January 5, 1994). MCA Branching Out to Video Game Publishing. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  3. Jurassic Park Underactive. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  4. Jurassic Park Interactive. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  5. Ahmed, Shahed (September 22, 2000). Q&A: Universal Interactive Studios. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  6. Teather, David (June 19, 2000). Vivendi seals merger. Retrieved on July 22, 2018.
  7. Buy Low, Sell High: Vivendi's History in Video Games. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.
  8. Vivendi Universal to shorten company name. Retrieved on July 20, 2018.