Backbone Entertainment

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Backbone Entertainment
IndustryVideo games
Founded2003; 18 years ago (2003)
Defunct2015; 6 years ago (2015)
ProductsDeath Jr.
ParentFoundation 9 Entertainment (2005–2015)

Backbone Entertainment was an American video game developer based in Emeryville, California. The company was formed in 2003 as the result of a merger between developers Digital Eclipse and ImaginEngine. In 2005, Backbone merged with The Collective to form Foundation 9 Entertainment.


Backbone Entertainment was formed in 2003 through a merger between Digital Eclipse, a developer of emulations of arcade games, and ImaginEngine, an edutainment games developer. ImaginEngine remained an independent studio, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, while Digital Eclipse's studios were absorbed by Backbone, becoming Backbone Emeryville and Backbone Vancouver, respectively.[1][2] In 2004, in co-operation with the University of Hawaii, Backbone opened an office in Honolulu, Hawaii, under the lead of Backbone's chairman, Mark Loughridge.[3][4] On March 29, 2005, Backbone Entertainment announced that it was merging with another developer, The Collective, to form Foundation 9 Entertainment.[5] By this point, Backbone also operated Games2Learn, another edutainment game developer.[5] Later in 2005, Backbone first rose to prominence with the release of Death Jr., a game for PlayStation Portable.[6]

In February 2006, Backbone opened another subsidiary studio, Backbone Charlottetown, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, under the lead of Andrew Ayre.[7] In May 2007, the new studio, including Ayre and several former Digital Eclipse employees, spun off from Backbone and became Other Ocean Interactive, aiming at showcasing Digital Eclipse's former traits in a smaller fashion.[8][9] In September 2008, Backbone let go most people employed at its Vancouver studio, followed by a full closure of the studio in May 2009.[10][11] In October 2012, Backbone laid off the majority of its Emeryville-based staff to avoid closing completely.[12] A few days later, it was reported that ImaginEngine had shut down, leaving 25 people, including studio head Randall Sanborn, out of work.[1]


  • Backbone Charlottetown (2006–2007)
  • Backbone Emeryville (2003–2015)
  • Backbone Vancouver (2003–2009)
  • Games2Learn
  • ImaginEngine (2003–2012)

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
2004 The Incredibles: Escape from Nomanisan Island Microsoft Windows
2005 Rifts: Promise of Power N-Gage
Death Jr. PlayStation Portable
Namco Museum 50th Anniversary GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Smash TV Xbox 360
Gauntlet Xbox 360
Joust Xbox 360
2006 Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 Xbox 360
Time Pilot Xbox 360
Scramble Xbox 360
Robotron: 2084 Xbox 360
Contra Xbox 360
Frogger Xbox 360
Defender Xbox 360
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings Nintendo DS
Charlotte's Web Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Death Jr. II: Root of Evil PlayStation Portable, Wii
NBA Ballers: Rebound PlayStation Portable
Sonic Rivals PlayStation Portable
MechAssault: Phantom War Nintendo DS
2007 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Xbox 360
Streets of Rage 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Sonic the Hedgehog PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Ecco the Dolphin Xbox 360
Golden Axe Xbox 360
Yie Ar Kung-Fu Xbox 360
Track & Field Xbox 360
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Xbox 360
Super Contra Xbox 360
Rush'n Attack Xbox 360
Root Beer Tapper Xbox 360
Paperboy Xbox 360
Gyruss Xbox 360
Cyberball 2072 Xbox 360
Bomberman Live Xbox 360
Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom Nintendo DS
Sonic the Hedgehog iOS
Brooktown High PlayStation Portable
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Sonic Rivals 2 PlayStation Portable
Shrek n' Roll Xbox 360
Yaris Xbox 360
2008 Discs Of Tron Xbox 360
Monster Lab Wii
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
1942: Joint Strike PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Tron Xbox 360
2009 Altered Beast Xbox 360
Comix Zone Xbox 360
Diner Dash Xbox 360
Gunstar Heroes Xbox 360
Military Madness: Nectaris Xbox 360
Phantasy Star II Xbox 360
Space Invaders Extreme Xbox 360
Shinobi Xbox 360
Sonic & Knuckles Xbox 360
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Xbox 360
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection/Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection PS3, Xbox 360
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Nintendo DS
Rock Band Unplugged PlayStation Portable
Lego Rock Band Nintendo DS
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2010 X-Men PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Rock Band 3 Nintendo DS, Wii
2011 Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
2012 The Simpsons Arcade Game PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Dance Central 3 Xbox 360
Midway Arcade Origins PlayStation 3, Xbox 360


  1. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean (October 12, 2012). "ImaginEngine game studio shuts down (exclusive)". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Adams, David (August 19, 2005). "Foundation 9 Goes Next-Gen". IGN.
  3. ^ Reyes, B.J. (February 3, 2004). "Software company seeks talent from university's media academy". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Hao, Sean (April 11, 2004). "Making a game of it". The Honolulu Advertiser. Archived from the original on December 27, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Jenkins, David (March 29, 2005). "Backbone Entertainment, The Collective To Merge". Gamasutra.
  6. ^ Krupa, Daniel (October 9, 2012). "Death Jr. Dev Faces Closure". IGN. Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  7. ^ Carless, Simon (February 6, 2006). "Foundation 9 To Open New Canadian Studio". Gamasutra.
  8. ^ VB Staff (September 22, 2017). "Other Ocean: Building the past, the future, and the present". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Boyer, Brandon (April 7, 2008). "Other Ocean: iPhone To Be 'Major Player' In Handheld Market". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on May 14, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Kyllo, Blaine (January 28, 2009). "Vancouver's video game family tree". The Georgia Straight. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Lavender, Terry (November 18, 2009). "Is it Game Over for Vancouver's Video Game Industry? Not quite yet". Vancouver Observer. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  12. ^ Rose, Mike (October 9, 2012). "Layoffs at digital game studio Backbone Entertainment". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2019.