To some of you Core Design means only one thing: Tomb Raider.
But if you’ve cut your teeth on personal computers in the lates 80s you’ll probably remember other entertaining games developed by this english firm, active from 1988. Core Design was founded exactly yesterday, May 13th of 30 years ago, in 1988, originally as Megabrite and was rebranded in October with the widely known name. The founders were former Gremlin employees.
Based in Derby, in the UK, Core Design debut in video games was the conversion of Sega’s Action Fighter for ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, MS-DOS, C64 Amstrad CPC and Amiga. They kept porting games on these platforms even in 1989, since thy converted other action games such as Switchblade, Dynamite Dux, Rick Dangerous anbd Saint & Greavsie.
Core Design remained one of the main developers of Action games, since even in the years after kept porting such games on different consoles, games like Rick Dangerous 2 and Impossamole. From 1990 they also started to produce their own games: the firsts were Skidz, Torvak the Warrior, CarVup, Axel’s Magic Hammer and Corporation.
The first big hit for Core Design came in 1991 and it was the universally praised platformer Chuck Rock, ported on almost every system on the time and was one of the best titles on 1994 on the Genesis. Chuck became the first mascot of the company and its popularity led to the release of a comic strip. Always in 1991 Core Design released also Frentic, Thunderhawk and one of the old isometric action-RPGs I love the most, Heimdall.
In 1992-1993 they consolidated their name in the industry releasing games like Hook, Curse of Enchantia, Wolfchild (1992), Asterix and the Great Rescue and Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (1993).
1994 was an important year for the company since it saw the first change with the acquisition made by the umbrella company CentreSoft, in turn made by CentreSoft and U.S. Gold. The same year were released Heimdall II: Into the Hall of Worlds, Dragonstone, Bubba ‘n’ Stix and Soulstar from the Sega CD. Core bacame for a short period one of the main developer for this system, since they also produced Thunderhawk for the Sega console.
1995 was the year of an atipical racing game, BC Racers, based on Chuck Rock characters, then were released Big Red Adventure and onother installment in the Asterix seriers, Asterix and the Power of Gods.
Big changes again in 1996, which was probably the most importan year in the history of the company. And not because they released Shellshock, but because iun 1996 the first Tomb Raider was released. The first venture into 3D for Core Design was an immense success that still lasts nowadays. The huge sales of the game kept afloat the new owned of the company, Eidos Interactive, after its purchase of CentreSoft.
From 1996 all the history of Core Design revolved toward the new golden goose Tomb Raider: from 1997 to 2003, eleven games of the franchise were released for all the platforms available in the late 90s.
The story of the company lasted until 2006 when Rebellion acquired its assets and personnel from the owner Eidos Interactive which kept the intellectual property of the name giving them the possibility to brand some of their future games as Core Designs.