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Firaxis Games, Inc. is an American video game developer founded in 1996 by Sid Meier, Jeff Briggs, and Brian Reynolds upon leaving MicroProse. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, the company is best known for its Civilization series of games, though it has had notable success with other titles as well. Firaxis is based in Sparks, Maryland; Sid Meier continues to lead creative efforts there. The focus of the company has been on strategy and simulation games.
|Firaxis Software, Inc. (1996–97)|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||January 5, 1996Hunt Valley, Maryland, U.S.in|
|Headquarters||Sparks Glencoe, Maryland, U.S.|
|Products||Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Civilization series (2001-present)
Sid Meier's Pirates!
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
(See complete products listing)
Number of employees
Firaxis was founded by Sid Meier, Brian Reynolds, and Jeff Briggs in 1996, all former employees of MicroProse, which Meier had co-founded with Bill Stealey in 1982. MicroProse was initially founded to develop flight simulators and combat simulation games, but Meier, wanting to explore other types of games, produced several non-destructive management simulation games, most notably Sid Meier's Civilization (1991) which he co-developed with Bruce Shelley, and its sequel Civilization II (1996), co-developed with Reynolds. These games were very successful, and while MicroProse would make more, these were against the vision that Stealey had for the company, who wanted to keep towards the combat simulation games.
Stealey attempted to launch a line of MicroProse arcade games, but this did not succeed. Failing to complete an initial public offering to make up for the debt incurred by the arcade games, Stealey sold MicroProse to Spectrum Holobyte in 1993 and eventually left the company. MicroProse operated separately within Spectrum Holobyte, but by 1996, as a cost-cutting measure, Spectrum Holobyte decided to consolidate its branding under the MicroProse name, and subsequently laid off several studios, including two of MicroProse's satellite studios. Discouraged by this, Meier, Reynolds, and Briggs left MicroProse and formed Firaxis to continue to develop strategy games in the same style as Civilization. At this point, MicroProse retained the rights to the Civilization branding, preventing Firaxis from making a direct sequel to Civilization. This led to the development of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (1999), a space colonization game that was a spiritual sequel to Civilization.
Co-founder Brian Reynolds left Firaxis in the early 2000s to found his own studio, Big Huge Games.
MicroProse was bought by Hasbro Interactive in 1998, which later was bought by Infogrames in 2001. Infrogrames provided Firaxis the license to make Civilization III under its publishing label. In 2004, Take-Two Interactive acquired the Civilization license from Infogrames for $22.3 million, and licensed this to Firaxis to make Civilization IV (2005). After its release, Take-Two acquired Firaxis in November 2005, effectively giving Firaxis full control of the Civilization series. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but according to the SEC filing it amounted for US$26.7 million in cash, stock, and development advances, with almost US$11.3 million of that figure coming in the form of possible considerations based on future product sales. The company was consolidated with PopTop Software in March 2006, the resultant combined studio to be headed up by Sid Meier.
Jeff Briggs assumed the role of Chairman in April 2006 and left the company completely in November. In April 2007, Soren Johnson left the company and joined Electronic Arts to work on Spore with Lead Designer Will Wright. Johnson was formerly a key person for Firaxis, acting as co-designer for Civilization III and later Lead Designer on Civilization IV.
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