5th Cell is an independently owned American video game developer founded in 2003 as 5th Cell Media, LLC. led by Jeremiah Slaczka and Marius Falhbusch. The company is most well known for creating the Drawn to Life and Scribblenauts series.[1]

5th Cell Media, LLC.
Company typePrivate
IndustryVideo games
PredecessorEpix Interactive Studios
FoundedAugust 28, 2003 (20 years ago)
HeadquartersBellevue, Washington
Key people
Jeremiah Slaczka
(CEO & Creative Director)
Joseph M. Tringali
Marius Falhbusch
ProductsScribblenauts series
Drawn to Life series
Lock's Quest
Run Roo Run
Number of employees
25 (2021)

Overview edit

Founded on August 28, 2003, by Joseph M. Tringali, Jeremiah Slaczka and Brett Caird, the company started out developing mobile games working with such publishers as THQ Wireless, JAMDAT Mobile (now EA Mobile) and UIEvolution (a former subsidiary of Square Enix).

On August 2, 2004, THQ Wireless announced it would publish 5th Cell's first three original mobile games: Siege, SEAL Team 6 and Mini Poccha.[2]

In 2006, 5th Cell transitioned into Nintendo DS and casual game development. While they have worked with licenses and work for hire in the past, the core focus has moved completely onto building innovative, original video games.

In an IGN interview with Michael Thomsen, Jeremiah Slaczka, the company's creative director, was asked "What kinds of games do you ultimately want to be known for?". He responded by saying:

Innovative games – we want to be known as a company that produces AAA content you can't get anywhere else from anyone else. So far, with both Drawn to Life and Lock's Quest, I think our products have lined up with that vision. We've completely switched our company's focus to original titles now. We don't do licensed games or work for hire anymore.[3]

On April 21, 2006, IGN revealed 5th Cell's first Nintendo DS game Drawn to Life, an original title.[4]

On June 1, 2006, 5th Cell announced its partnership with Merscom to publish D.N.A, a PC casual game and also an original title.[5]

On May 9, 2007, THQ announced it would publish Drawn to Life, an action-adventure/platformer hybrid with the unique twist of the player drawing the hero and the world itself using the DS's touchpad. [6] THQ released the game worldwide in 2007 and 2008. According to Next-Gen.biz from the game's launch (September 2007) until March 1, 2008 (6 months) the game had sold 820,000 units worldwide and was ranked 61st of the top 100 selling video games of the last 12 months.[7]

On April 2, 2008, THQ announced it was publishing 5th Cell's next Nintendo DS game, Lock's Quest, an original action-strategy game where the player first builds defenses and then battle against an invading clockwork army all racing against the clock.

On December 5, 2008, 5th Cell unveiled its next Nintendo DS game on IGN.com, Scribblenauts, an emergent action puzzle game where the player can write anything they can think of to help them solve the puzzle. On May 1, 2009, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced it would be publishing Scribblenauts. On September 15, 2009, Scribblenauts was released in North America, with its Australian release being on September 30 and European release on October 9. According to the NPD Group, Scribblenauts sold 194,000 units in the United States during September 2009, following Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in top Nintendo DS sales.[8] A sequel, Super Scribblenauts was released on the DS in North America on October 12, 2010, Australia on October 27 and Europe on October 29. The game improved on many aspects of the original, adding more words, introducing adjectives and tweaking the controls to accommodate use of the D-Pad. A remake of the original Scribblenauts on iOS, called Scribblenauts Remix, was released by Warner Bros. Interactive on October 12, 2011. Instead of 5th Cell, it was actually ported to the platform by developers Iron Galaxy. The iOS version provides forty levels from both Scribblenauts and its sequel, along with ten new levels for the iOS.

At Nintendo's E3 2012 press conference, they announced the third game, Scribblenauts Unlimited, for both Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, marking the series' debut on the Nintendo 3DS platform, and on a home video game console, the Wii U. It saw release for Nintendo 3DS on November 13, 2012, and for Wii U and PC on November 18, 2012. The game was a lot different from its predecessors as it moved to a more adventure-based formula that relied on an open world filled with non-player characters, rather than choosing individual puzzles to earn Starites. It also introduced a new object editor which was present on the Wii U and PC versions, but not the 3DS version. A sequel, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, was released in September 2013 and featured characters and places from the DC Comics universe.

In 2015, 5th Cell tried to fund their new project Anchors in the Drift via crowdfunding website fig.co.[9] The game was planned to be a free-to-play action-RPG, however, it didn't reach the funding goal of $500,000 and development stopped after the unsuccessful campaign.[10]

On March 24, 2016, following the cancellation of the mobile game Scribblenauts: Fighting Words by publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, heavy layoffs severely impacted the company. They remain in operation, but currently only a "tiny" number of employees remain.[11][12]

Original titles edit

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher
2003 Mini Poccha Mobile THQ Mobile
SEAL Team 6
2006 D.N.A. Mac OS, Microsoft Windows Merscom
2007 Drawn to Life Nintendo DS THQ
2008 Lock's Quest
2009 Scribblenauts Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter (Nintendo DS video game) THQ
2010 Super Scribblenauts Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
2011 Scribblenauts Remix Android, iOS
2012 Run Roo Run Self-published
Scribblenauts Unlimited Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, Nintendo 3DS Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Hybrid Xbox Live Arcade Microsoft Studios
2013 Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
2021 Castlehold Microsoft Windows Self-published

Canceled edit

According to The Art of 5th Cell book, "As of 2014, 5th Cell has shipped 21 titles and there are 23 unreleased titles/concepts we worked on to various stages of completion"

  • Scribblenauts Fighting Words, a puzzle RPG spin off of the original, cancelled in 2016.
  • Anchors in the Drift, an action RPG game cancelled in 2015. Came back as a game with the same name but that also got cancelled.[13][14]
  • Scribblenauts Worlds, a 3D beat-em-up game cancelled in 2014.[15]
  • Unnamed Nintendo Wii Racer, a racing game planned for the Nintendo Wii system. Would have featured a similar mechanic to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed allowing for vehicles to transform between cars, boats and planes mid race depending on the obstacles on the course
  • Unnamed Mobile MMORPG, a MMORPG in development for mobile phones, canceled in 2005 due to lack of funding
  • Unnamed Nintendo Wii Dungeon Crawler, a dungeon crawler in development for the Nintendo Wii. Canceled for unknown reasons.
  • Unknown PSP game, an unknown PSP game was canceled sometime in the early 2000's in favor of 5th Cell switching to DS development due to the PSP not doing that well at the time

Licensed titles edit


Spin-off titles edit

These are titles directly based on 5TH Cell's original games that were not developed by 5TH Cell themselves.



References edit

  1. ^ "5TH Cell's Developer Authorization". 5TH Cell. 2007-06-02. Archived from the original on October 7, 2007. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  2. ^ "THQ Wireless, Inc. publishes 5TH Cell's titles" (Press release). THQ Wireless. 2004-08-02. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  3. ^ Thomse, Michael (2008-10-08). "Independent View: 5TH Cell's Jeremiah Slaczka". IGN. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  4. ^ Harris, Craig (2006-04-21). "Drawn to Life". IGN. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  5. ^ "Merscom Announces D.N.A" (Press release). Merscom. 2006-09-26. Archived from the original on 2007-07-29. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  6. ^ "THQ Announces Drawn to Life, the First Nintendo DS Experience That Allows Players to Draw Their Own Hero" (Press release). THQ. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  7. ^ "The Top 100 Selling Games of the Last 12 Months - Edge Magazine". Next-gen.biz. 2008-04-10. Archived from the original on 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  8. ^ Geddes, Ryan (2009-10-19). "Scribblenauts Sees Solid September Sales". IGN. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
  9. ^ Kerr, Chris (2015-10-21). "Scribblenauts developer turns to Fig to fund new free-to-play RPG". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  10. ^ Estrada, Marcus (2017-11-25). "5th Cell's Anchors in the Drift – Why Did It Fail?". Cliqist. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  11. ^ Campbell, Colin (2016-03-21). "5th Cell lays off staff as Scribblenauts: Fighting Words canned (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  12. ^ Klepek, Patrick. "Scribblenauts developer 5th Cell laid off 45 employees today, following layoffs last week, the studi". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  13. ^ "'Scribblenauts' Developer 5th Cell's 'Anchors in the Drift' is Alive and Heading to iOS and Android, Pre-Registration Live Now". TouchArcade. 2019-01-28. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  14. ^ "Anchors in the Drift Crowdfunding Campaign". Fig. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  15. ^ "Art of Mike Uziel". Art of Mike Uziel. Retrieved 2021-05-26.

External links edit