Digital Extremes is a a majority Chinese-owned Canadian-operated computer and video game development company based in London, Ontario, Canada. The company co-created several games in the Unreal series and has made several other games such as Dark Sector and its online free-to-play game Warframe.
In the late 80's and early 90's (during the shareware craze) the Canadian game developer James Schmalz developed a series of shareware games, which were published by several different companies. After a venture with Big Blue Disc, James went to then Epic MegaGames to release 2 of his games: Solar Winds and a game called Epic Pinball. The latter became a huge hit, and gave James the opportunity (and the money) to start his own company: Digital Extremes. The first games developed by DE were pinball games (including the sequel to Epic Pinball) and a revolutionary new 3d-shooter that later became known as Unreal (video game).
In 2001, Digital Extremes formed a second studio in Toronto, Ontario to focus on developing console games. The new studio was named Brain Box Games, but this later became the name of a small division of the Toronto studio that focused on budget games. Since then, the Toronto studio was renamed to Digital Extremes Toronto, and the primary studio in London was renamed to Digital Extremes London.
After the Unreal games, DE started to focus on it's own franchises: The Toronto studio worked on their first-person shooter Pariah while the London studio was still working on Dark Sector. After Pariah finished development, the Toronto studio began working on Pariah: Shroud Wars. Unfortunately, since Pariah was a commercial flop, Shroud Wars was renamed WarPath and took on a new life as a whole new game. In 2005, the London and Toronto studios merged so that they could both work together on WarPath and Dark Sector. Warpath was released a year later, while Dark Sector was released in 2008. During the final years of Dark Sector's development, Epic started to work on the 3rd generation UT title: Unreal Tournament 3. This ended up being the first title in the UT series that wasn't co-developed by DE. The aforementioned game, meanwhile, instead of using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, used its own engine, Evolution.
In recent years, Digital Extremes has assisted 2K Games with the PS3 version of blockbuster hit, BioShock, as well as developed the multiplayer component of the sequel, BioShock 2 while simultaneously developing the multiplayer portion of THQ's first-person shooter, Homefront. Digital Extremes developed the game for the Star Trek: Into Darkness movie, working with Bandai Namco and Paramount to develop Star Trek.
In 2014, 61% of the company was sold to Chinese holding company Multi Dynamic, now Leyou, for $73 million. President Michael Schmalz and two partners retained 39% of Digital Extremes, and will continue to manage it.
In 2016, it was revealed that Digital Extremes' game Warframe had been hacked, exposing the email addresses of over 700,000 players.
On October 6, 2017 it announced the opening a development studio in Toronto set to begin operations the following month.
Involvement in the Unreal series
4 years after James Schmalz developed the first Unreal demo, the game was released, bringing in another success for DE.
The partnership with Epic proved to be fruitful, and they continued to work together on Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2 (which was later renamed to UT2003 / Unreal Championship). Halfway through the development it became clear that both games would be finished faster if each team was dedicated to one specific game. DE then took over UC, while Epic finished UT2003.
- Unreal - (1998)
- Unreal Tournament - (1999)
- Unreal Tournament 2003 - (2002)
- Unreal Tournament 2004 - (2004)
- Unreal Championship - (2002)
- Solar Winds - (1993)
- Epic Pinball - (1993)
- Silverball - (1993)
- Extreme Pinball - (1995)
- Adventure Pinball: Forgotten Island - (2001)
- Pariah - (2005)
- Warpath - (2006)
- Dark Sector - (2008) Xbox 360/PS3
- BioShock - (2008) (PS3 port)
- BioShock 2 - (2010) (multiplayer)
- Homefront - (2011) (multiplayer)
- The Darkness II - (2012)
- Warframe - (2013)
- Star Trek - (2013)
- Sword Coast Legends - (2015)
- The Amazing Eternal - (2017)
- When Warframe became available via the Epic Games Store, Digital Extremes and Epic Games released a set of skins for in-game weapons that mimic three Unreal Tournament weapons: the Rocket Launcher, the Shock Rifle, and the Flak Cannon.
- "Majority share in Warframe dev purchased by Chinese companies" @ Engadget.com
- "Digital Extremes Weighs In On Unreal Engine 3 for PS3" @ Gamasutra.com
- "Digital Extremes To Assist In BioShock PS3 Development" @ Exophrase.com
- "Homefront PC port has dedicated servers" @ PCGamer.com
- "London's Digital Extremes sold to Multi Dynamic Games Group" @ The London Free Press
- "Digital Extremes admits Warframe hack" @ GamesIndustry.biz
- "Digital Extremes expands to Toronto" @ GamesIndustry.biz