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Rockstar Games Toronto ULC (formerly Imagexcel, GameTek Canada and Rockstar Canada Inc.), doing business as Rockstar Toronto, is a Canadian video game developer and a studio of Rockstar Games based in Oakville, Ontario. The company was established in 1988 as Imagexcel and became part of GameTek's Alternative Reality Technology (ART) subsidiary in March 1995. The studio was acquired by Take-Two Interactive in July 1997, as part of ART being sold off, and became part of Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Games label in 1999 as Rockstar Canada. In August 2002, the company was renamed Rockstar Toronto to avoid confusion with the newly-acquired Rockstar Vancouver.

Rockstar Games Toronto ULC
Rockstar Toronto
Formerly
  • Imagexcel
  • (1988–1995)
  • GameTek Canada
  • (1995–1999)
  • Rockstar Canada Inc.
  • (1999–2002)
  • Rockstar Toronto Inc.
  • (2002–2012)
  • Rockstar Games Toronto Inc.
  • (2012)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
Foundedc. 1988; 31 years ago (1988)
Headquarters,
Canada
Key people
Kevin Hoare (studio director)
Parent

Rockstar Toronto has primarily been a porting house for games developed by other studios of Rockstar Games, but also developed the 2005 game The Warriors, based on the 1979 film of the same name, and co-developed Max Payne 3, as part of Rockstar Studios, in 2011. Following the release of Max Payne 3, Rockstar Vancouver was folded and merged into Rockstar Toronto, with the resulting company moving into new, bigger offices.

HistoryEdit

As Imagexcel and GameTek Canada (1988–1999)Edit

Imagexcel's first games were Techno Cop, released in 1988, and The Ultimate Ride, released in 1990. The final game produced under the Imagexcel name was Quarantine (1994).[1][2]

On 9 March 1995, it was announced that the company had been acquired by Alternative Reality Technology (ART), a subsidiary of GameTek, becoming GameTek Canada.[3] The acquisition was completed by 7 April 1995.[4] As part of ART, the company developed Quarantine II: Road Warrior, which was released in 1996,[5] and Dark Colony, which was released in 1997.[6] On 31 July 1997, Take-Two Interactive announced that they had acquired several assets from GameTek, including ART with GameTek Canada, GameTek's European offices, and distribution rights to GameTek's Dark Colony, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune games.[7]

As part of Rockstar Games (1999–present)Edit

In early 1999, GameTek Canada became part of Rockstar Games label, Take-Two's previously established publishing label, under the name Rockstar Canada. The studio created two Grand Theft Auto expansion packs, London 1969 and London 1961,[8] and the proceeded to port several titles published by Rockstar Games to PlayStation 2, that being Oni (2001)[9] and Max Payne (2001).[10]

On 1 August 2002, Take-Two announced the acquisition of Barking Dog Studios, which would be renamed Rockstar Vancouver.[11] As part of the acquisition, Rockstar Canada would be renamed Rockstar Toronto to avoid confusion between the two.[12] Alongside the acquisition, Take-Two announced that the now-renamed Rockstar Toronto was working on a video game adaptation of the 1979 Walter Hill-directed film The Warriors.[13][14] The eponymous game was first shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May 2005,[15] and released in October that year.[16][17] The game was well received,[18][19] and a PlayStation Portable conversion of it was developed by Rockstar Toronto in conjunction with Rockstar Leeds.[20] A spiritual successor to The Warriors, tentatively titled We Are the Mods, was originally planned, but ultimately cancelled.[21][22]

Following the release of The Warriors, Rockstar Toronto developed Wii ports of Manhunt 2 (2007)[23][24][25][26] and Bully: Scholarship Edition (2008),[27][28] and the Microsoft Windows ports of Grand Theft Auto IV (2008, in association with Rockstar New England)[29] and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (2010, comprising the two 2009-released Grand Theft Auto IV expoansions packs The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony). In September 2008, Rockstar Toronto was rumoured to be working on a third instalment in the Max Payne series.[30][31][32] In November 2010, Rockstar Toronto teasted to be working on next-generation games.[33] The company proceeded to collaborate with all other Rockstar Games studios, collectively referred to as Rockstar Studios, to develop Max Payne 3 (2012), also porting the game Microsoft Windows.[34]

On 9 July 2012, Rockstar Games announced that Rockstar Toronto would be moving into a new, bigger, and custom-built studio within Oakville, Ontario, into which Rockstar Vancouver would be merged.[35][36][37] All of Rockstar Vancouver's 35 employees at the time were given the posibility to move to the newly-expanded Rockstar Toronto, or any other Rockstar Games studio.[38][39] The expansion and move was partially financed by the Government of Ontario.[40][41] Jennifer Kolbe, vice-president of publishing and operations at Rockstar Games, stated that the move intended to make a single Canadian team that would "make for a powerful creative force on future projects",[42][43] and aimed at making room for 50 new positions at the company.[44][45] On 22 November 2012, the company was legally renamed from Rockstar Toronto Inc., over Rockstar Games Toronto Inc.,[46] to Rockstar Games Toronto ULC, as such becoming an unlimited liability corporation under the laws of British Columbia.[47]

By July 2013, job postings again started teasing a next-generation game in development at Rockstar Toronto.[48] The studio assisted Rockstar North on developing Grand Theft Auto V, which first released in September 2013, as well as handling its Microsoft Windows port, which released in April 2015.[49] For the Microsoft Windows versions of Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V, respectively, Rockstar Toronto developed a built-in video editor for footage captured in-game.[50][51] Journalists remarked Grand Theft Auto V's Microsoft Windows version as its "ultimate version".[52]

Games developedEdit

As ImagexcelEdit

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
1988 Techno Cop Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Sega Genesis, ZX Spectrum Gremlin Graphics, U.S. Gold, RazorSoft Co-developed with Gray Matter
1990 The Ultimate Ride Amiga, Atari ST Mindscape
1994 Quarantine 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, MS-DOS, PlayStation, Sega Saturn GameTek N/A

As GameTek CanadaEdit

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
1996 Quarantine II: Road Warrior MS-DOS Mindscape, GameTek N/A
1997 Dark Colony Classic Mac OS, Microsoft Windows Strategic Simulations

As Rockstar CanadaEdit

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
1999 Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, PlayStation Rockstar Games Expansion pack for Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS
2001 Oni PlayStation 2 Ported only; game developed by Bungie West
Max Payne PlayStation 2 Ported only; game developed by Remedy Entertainment

As Rockstar TorontoEdit

Year Title Platform(s) Publisher(s) Notes
2005 The Warriors PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox Rockstar Games N/A
2007 Manhunt 2 Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii Supportive development for Rockstar London; also ported to Wii
2008 Bully: Scholarship Edition Microsoft Windows, Wii, Xbox 360 Supportive development for Mad Doc Software; also ported to Wii
Grand Theft Auto IV Microsoft Windows Ported only, together with Rockstar New England; game developed by Rockstar North
2010 Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Microsoft Windows
2012 Max Payne 3 macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Developed as part of Rockstar Studios; also ported to Microsoft Windows
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Supportive development for Rockstar North; also ported to Microsoft Windows
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 PlayStation 4, Xbox One Developed as part of Rockstar Studios

ReferencesEdit

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