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Digital Anvil

From the Star Citizen Wiki, the fidelity™ encyclopedia
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Digital Anvil was a video game studio founded April 8, 1996 with funding from Microsoft and Advanced Micro Devices by brothers Chris Roberts and Erin Roberts, along with Tony Zurovec, Marten Davies, Craig Cox, John Miles, Eric Peterson and Robert Rodriguez.


Electronic Arts which had acquired Origin Systems wouldn't give the flexibility needed to produce the kind of games the Origin team wanted to make. Several new game ideas got rejected while sequels were favored. Nor was EA interested in the film business.[1]

Chris Roberts left Origin Systems to be in a smaller more focused company and group, to do a small number a high quality games a year, and to know everyone who was walking down the corridor. He also wanted the ability to exploit universes and stories he created or other people in the company created and take them to film or tv and be small enough to react.[2]

A number of Origin Systems employees went on to work for Digital Anvil, including Chris Olivia, Tony Zurovec or Martin Galway who joined Digital Anvil shortly after it was founded and was responsible for the audio on all of the games.[3] Staff from the Strike Commander, Wing Commander and Privateer teams all moved over to Digital Anvil.

Chris Roberts who was Chairman and CEO[4] wanted a name that would say old world craftsmanship and new world technology, therefore a forge or an anvil.[2]

Microsoft was seeking known developpers to solidify it's video games presence while Digital Anvil was seeking financing and international distribution.

Microsoft and AMD became equity investors.[5]

The studio first title, Starlancer, in collaboration with Warthog Games, inscribes itself in the line of Wing Commander and Privateer.

In June 2000, Microsoft started talks to buy Digital Anvil. Chris Roberts admitted that his team required large sums of money, which only a huge company could provide. The acquisition of Digital Anvil by Microfost was completed on December 5th 2000.[6]

One of the consequences of Digital Anvil's purchase was a reshuffling of titles being developed. Of all the projects being produced, only Freelancer escaped major change.

Chris Roberts left the company after the Microsoft takeover, but still worked as a consultant on Freelancer.

Digital Anvil also worked on the visual effects of the 1999 Wing Commander movie and several others, including Spy Kids.[7]

In 2001, Digital Anvil revealed a lighter Freelancer to the press. Although some of the more ambitious elements were dropped, this act proved Freelancer was not vaporware. In March 2003, Freelancer was released and immediately became one of the month's top-selling games.

In May 2003, Digital Anvil released Brute Force for the Xbox. The game also did quite well, setting first-month sales records for Xbox games. In November 2005, Microsoft redeployed the developer's employees to its Microsoft Studios headquarters.

Digital Anvil was officially dissolved on January 31, 2006.[8]


  • At the time Robert Rodriguez was director and producer on movies such as El Mariachi, Desperado and From Dusk 'til Dawn.


  1. Interview with Martin Galway, Back in Time, circa 1998
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wing Commander combat information center, phone interview with Chris Roberts by Hadrian, 1999
  3. Meet Martin Galway. Transmission - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2012-10-22
  4. Ascendant pictures: Chris Roberts
  5. Chris Roberts, Point of No Return Entertainment, page 2, archived
  6. Microsoft to Acquire Digital Anvil, Microsoft, December 5, 2000
  7. "Digital Anvil Visual Effects (VFX) also completed almost all of the 300 VFX shots for the film. Additionally DA VFX completed several sequences on Robert Rodriguez' blockbuster children's action adventure film Spy Kids.", Point of No Return Entertainment, archived
  8. Digital Anvil closes doors, Eurogamer, 2 Dec 2005
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