Crystal Dynamics is an American video game developer and former publisher. The company is largely responsible for the development of the Legacy of Kain Series .
The company was founded in 1992 by former Sega employees Judy Lange, Madeline Canepa and Dave Morse. In 1993, former 20th Century Fox president Strauss Zelnick was hired to run the company. This resulted in a massive media attention as well as a string of investments.
Since the company was the first official publisher for the 3DO gaming system, its initial releases were focused solely on that system. However, after the one-system strategy was deemed a failure following 3DO's lackluster sales, Crystal Dynamics changed its strategy. It decided to focus on publishing solely for the new 32-bit 3D-capable consoles, the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. Randy Komisar from Lucas Arts was also hired in 1994 to replace Zelnick as CEO. Staff was expanded to 140 and the world's first PlayStation and Saturn games were released by Crystal Dynamics. However, the company stil incurred losses.
The next strategy was to become a leading publisher for two new 32-bit, 3D-capable consoles, the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. Randy Komisar was hired away from LucasArts in 1994 to replace Zelnick as CEO. Crystal Dynamics expanded to a staff of 140, and shipped some of the world's first PlayStation and Saturn games for Christmas 1994. However, losses continued to mount. Sony's demands for publisher to lower prices further decreased the profit margin for Crystal Dynamic's games.
By May 1996, the company had lost more than $80mn. Kleiner Perkins decided that the company's strategy to publish was flawed and would not work. The CEO and most of the senior management resigned within a few days and 40% of the staff was laid off. The company changed its focus to developing games instead of publishing them. Buyers were sought and Eidos Interactive purchased the firm in 1998.
Under Eidos, Crystal Dynamics developed the successful Legacy of Kain and Gex franchises. In 2003, after the release of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Eidos entrusted Crystal Dynamics with the development of the Tomb Raider series since original developer Core Designer failed to meet expectations.