1994 - the beginning
Rachel Bernstein, Bill Spieth and Ted Spieth started development of their first game, Imperialism. Rachel wrote the code prototype and assembled a development team. Bill and Ted designed the game. It was conceived of as their favorite elements of Civilization and Master of Magic, but with a supply and demand economy, and a computer opponent that played by the same rules as the player.
1995 - getting funded
Signed a contract with SSI for Imperialism. Chuck Kroegel, president of SSI, called it a "thinking man's Civilization".
1997 - Imperialism
Released Imperialism on the PC and Mac. It was a critical and commercial success, surpassing its original sales goal more than seven-fold. It garnered rave reviews, including a Computer Gaming World magazine's Editor's Choice. It became a sleeper hit, totaling over 400,000 retail units. Kroegel toasted the team, saying, "You delivered what you said you would, when you said you would." SSI requested a sequel.
1998 - expansion
Expanded the company to work on two projects simultaneously. One project was the Imperialism sequel, and the other project was a new game based on a new game engine called AXVI. It was designed for displaying games in two-and-a-half dimensions (pre-rendered sprites over 3D terrain).
1999 - Imperialism II: Age of Exploration
Released Imperialism II: Age of Exploration, another award-winning strong seller. This game was begun as a small update, but as Imperialism developed a cult following, the second game grew into a full-fledged sequel with plenty of new game-play. It matched the sales of its predecessor, exceeding sales goals by 50%.
2000 - Pantheon
Continued development of Pantheon, the game for which AXVI was designed. Pantheon was an innovative RTS / RPG about the Greek gods. The game system tied role-playing quests and strategic goals together in an entirely new way. It was cancelled as its publisher, Mindscape/TLC, withdrew from the games industry.
2001 - Trade Empires
Released Trade Empires, published by Eidos. It was a real-time trading simulation, Although it spanned 4,000 years and four continents, it was a small game, created fairly quickly using AXVI to tide things over after the cancellation of Pantheon. Eidos was pulling back from the PC business at the time. We released the game ahead of schedule to help them round out a quarter.
2003 - Tropico 2: Pirate Cove
Released Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, published by Gathering / Take-Two Interactive. It was a city-builder developed with our AXVI engine. This sequel to Tropico reversed the economy of the original: instead of developing products on the island and shipping them off in boats for cash, the inhabitants of this island stole their cash from ships and spent it carousing on the island. Sales topped 300,000 units, another critical and commercial success.
2003 - Spymaster, joined Take-Two
Pitched Spymaster, a strategy/RPG, to Gathering/Take-Two Interactive. It was a thriller about spies in the Cold War, purporting to tell the secret history behind the headlines. The head of Gathering liked it so well, he bought most of the company (what was left was re-named Sidecar Studios). We began a new round of growth as a subsidiary of Gathering and started development on an immersive 3D world using Renderware.
2004 - Snow, first console development
There was a management change at Gathering, and with that came a change in direction. We began work on Snow, a strategy game about the business of smuggling pot and cocaine in the Americas. After the initial prototyping, Xbox support was requested. At that point, we redesigned the interface and added an interactive story to make the game a better fit for the console. We created a large branching story, told through over 70 cut-scenes done with a graphic novel style.
2005 - Snow at E3
The Gathering label became 2K Games. We showed Snow on the Xbox in the 2K booth at E3, where it attracted interest as one of the most innovative games at the show.
2006 - A new beginning
Take-Two closed the Frog City studio. A core of veteran team members stayed together as Sidecar Studios and began development on an Xbox Live Arcade title for Sierra Online. After a year, the team disbanded to pursue other opportunities.