Laid To Rest: Spec Ops Creator Zombie Studios Closes


After two decades making games, Zombie Studios have shut down. Since 1994, they’ve created the tactical shooter series Spec Ops, brought Zork into semi-3D with Zork Nemesis, dabbled in free-to-play with multiplayer FPS Blacklight: Retribution, spooked people with Daylight, and more. While Zombie is going to the grave [strong wordplay, and tactful too -ed.], Blacklight will live on. Some of the Zombie team have formed a new studio, Builder Box, which has taken ownership of Retribution and will continue to work on it.

A goodbye letter on Zombie’s site says:

“The owners of Zombie Studios are retiring and wish to thank you, our fans, for the years of support you have provided us. It has been awesome working with all the various technology over the years, both hardware and software, growing with the industry and our fans, and producing fun games and technology of our own. We also wish to thank our employees, both present and past. Your dedication and passion to gaming is what Zombie was all about.”

As for Builder Box, they explain, they’ve formed a new studio around Blacklight and its team. They’re promising “more updates and exciting changes in the coming year.” Support for the PC version of Blacklight has been somewhat lacking over the past year, so hopefully they’ll deliver.

Best of luck to former Zombies.


  1. Samuel Bass says:

    Glad to see a studio ending for the right reasons (at least as far as I can tell). It’s so rare for devs to survive this long as an independent without getting bought or going under, so having one end because the owners are retiring just feels a bit, y’know, heartwarming.

    Farewell to Zombie and best of luck to Builder Box!

  2. thaquoth says:

    Zork Nemesis was great.

    Yeah it was all grimdark and corpse decapitations rather than goofily funny like the Zork of yonder, but it was really something special in its own right.

  3. fravocado says:

    I’ve walked by this spot for years and never had any idea it was a game studio. that’s crazy!

    • Hypnotron says:

      How would you like to have to walk into the front door of that place everyday with that ugly a$$ sign overhead? Might as well read “Welcome to the belly of the beast!” Can’t be good for the subconscious psychology…

      Sometimes game developers have no taste.

      Somebody should do a feature on all the lame-named game studios over the years and see what kind of correlation exists between crappy studio names, crappy logos and crappy games. You know… just for fun :)

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, looking at the sign I’d probably think it was for a strip club or something.

      • TWChristine says:

        I bought one of the Spec Ops games years ago and I remember turning over the cd case and seeing the studio name and their logo on the back and my first thoughts were that it was an ugly picture, I didn’t know what a devil girl had to do with zombies, and that I figured they were probably some small-time-never-hear-from-again-studio. The game sucked, but I could tell that there was a lot of ambition and big ideas behind it. And then apparently they made a game about working for that was a good idea..

  4. keikaku says:

    While the founders of the studio walked away when they wanted to (and good for them!) the studio has pretty much changed names and no-one lost their jobs. I’m friends with a couple of the artists there and they said that they didn’t even have to change desks. I’m glad no-one really had to lose their jobs over this :)

  5. padger says:

    At least it can now come back from the dead and be appropriately named.

  6. ProApocalyptic says:

    I love the inclusion of the editorial comments in Alice’s articles. They add so much.