Open main menu

Big Huge Games is a video game developer located in Timonium, Maryland. The company was founded in February 2000 by four veteran game industry developers: Tim Train, David Inscore, Jason Coleman and Brian Reynolds (lead designer of Alpha Centauri, et al.). Their first game, Rise of Nations, was a critical and commercial hit. The original studio became defunct in May 2012, but the name "Big Huge Games" was later reacquired by Reynolds and Train for their new venture (previously known as SecretNewCo).[2][3][4] The revived studio released the mobile game DomiNations on Android and iOS in April 2015.

Big Huge Games
IndustryComputer and video games
FoundedFebruary 2000 (2000-02)
United States
Key people
ProductsRise of Nations series



Reynolds at E3 in 2003

The company was created in February 2000 by Tim Train, David Inscore, Jason Coleman and Brian Reynolds. Although Brian Reynolds was a founding member of Firaxis Games, he and the others left Firaxis to found a new company based on their desire to apply the complexity and concepts of the turn-based strategy genre to the real-time strategy genre.[5]

In February 2007, Big Huge Games announced that Ken Rolston, the lead designer behind The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, had come out of retirement to join the company as lead designer on an untitled role playing game (RPG).[6] Later that May it was announced that THQ would publish the title in 2009.[7] This marked the first title from Big Huge Games that was not distributed by Microsoft.

Acquisition by THQEdit

On January 15, 2008, THQ acquired the developer.[8]

On July 30, 2008, Grant Kirkhope joined the Big Huge Games team as an audio director. He had previously worked for Rare, composing for the Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark games (among others).[9]

On March 18, 2009, THQ announced that due to declining economic conditions, it would close Big Huge Games unless an outside buyer could be found in the next 60 days.[10]

Acquisition by 38 StudiosEdit

On May 27, 2009, 38 Studios announced that they were acquiring Big Huge Games and retaining 70 employees out of approximately 120 who were at THQ.[11]

From mid-2009 to January 2012, Big Huge Games developed a single player role playing game titled Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which was released in early February 2012 and published by Electronic Arts (EA) and 38 Studios for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The game is set in a fantasy world created with input from R A Salvatore and Todd McFarlane.

It was reported on May 24, 2012 that the studio and their parent company 38 Studios had laid off their entire staff.[12][13]

Formation of Epic BaltimoreEdit

In June 2012, Epic Games announced the opening of a new studio in Baltimore called Epic Baltimore. The studio consists of a significant portion of ex-Big Huge developers.[14] It was later renamed Impossible Studios. Impossible Studios was officially closed on February 8, 2013.[15]

Revival, Acquisition by NexonEdit

In October 2014, it was revealed that Reynolds and Train had acquired the name "Big Huge Games" at auction from the state of Rhode Island, which owned it following the bankruptcy of 38 Studios. This name was given to their new venture founded in 2013, which was formerly known as SecretNewCo. The new studio developed a game for mobile platforms called DomiNations, for release on iOS and Android.[16] It is published by Nexon's mobile gaming group.[3] and was released for Android and iOS in April 2015.[16]

The game had been a major success; as of March 2016, it had been downloaded over 19 million times. On March 9, 2016, Nexon announced that it had acquired Big Huge Games; the studio will continue to produce new titles and maintain DomiNations.[17]

Game engineEdit

Big Huge Games made use of their internally developed game engine, the Big Huge Engine, in both Rise of Nations and Catan. The engine features support for a variety of applications and technologies, including physics, artificial intelligence, animation, and others.[18]

Games developedEdit

Title Genre Notes
2003 Rise of Nations Real-time strategy
2004 Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots Real-time strategy Expansion pack
2006 Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends Real-time strategy
2007 Catan Turn-based strategy Xbox Live Arcade
2007 Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Real-time strategy Expansion pack
2012 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Action role-playing game Co-developed with 38 Studios
2015 DomiNations Turn-based strategy Co-developed with Nexon


At the time of their move from THQ to 38 Studios, Big Huge Games was working on two large game projects, which are now canceled.[19]


  1. ^ Fear, Ed (May 27, 2009). "38 Studios snaps up Big Huge Games". Develop. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  2. ^ Eddie Makuch (December 13, 2013). "38 Studios auction finds no buyer for Amalur MMO, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sequel". GameSpot. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean. "Brian Reynolds revives Big Huge Games and unveils first mobile strategy title: DomiNations". VentureBeat. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  4. ^ Eddie Makuch (October 27, 2014). "Civilization, Rise of Nations Designer Revives Big Huge Games, Announces New Title". GameSpot. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  5. ^ "Brian Reynolds interview on GameSpy". GameSpy. 2002-05-02. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  6. ^ iTZKooPA (2007-02-20). "Acclaimed 'Oblivion' Designer Heads To Big Huge Games". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  7. ^ iTZKooPA (2007-05-03). "Big Huge Games RPG Gets Publisher, Date". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  8. ^ Gamasutra: THQ Acquires BHG
  9. ^ Music 4 Games: Grant Kirkhope resigns from Rare, joins Big Huge Games as Audio Director
  10. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2009-03-18). "THQ Cuts Down Big Huge Games, Lets Go Two More". Kotaku.
  11. ^ Dance, Scott (2009-05-27). "Big Huge Games acquired by Curt Schilling's 38 Studios". Washington Business Journal.
  12. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "38 Studios and Big Huge Games lay off entire staffs [update]". Joystiq. Archived from the original on 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
  13. ^ Narcisse, Evan. "38 Studios and Big Huge Games Shutting Down [UPDATE]".
  14. ^ Big Huge Games Resurrected as "Epic Games Baltimore"
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2013-02-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean (2 April 2015). "DomiNations assaults Clash of Clans with a Civilization-like mobile strategy game". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Nexon acquires DomiNations developer Big Huge Games". VentureBeat. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Big Huge Engine". Big Huge Games. Archived from the original on 3 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
  19. ^ "Big Huge Games Experiences Big Huge Media Leak, Oblivion Designer's Game Reportedly Canceled". Chris Fayler, Shack News. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  20. ^ "BHG and THQ join hands". THQ Investor Relations. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  21. ^ a b Plunkett, Luke (April 9, 2009). "What Were Big Huge Games Working On (And Have They Found A Buyer)?". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
  22. ^ "BHG Big Huge Games now working on Wii title". 2007-08-28. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-08-28.

External linksEdit