Story

The studio was started by 7 Ubisoft employees who left to follow their dream of making a sport management sim, set in the world of professional cycling. 8 years on, with “Pro Cycling Manager” going each year to the top of the PC sales charts and a more recent release of a version on the Sony PSP, the founders’ initial hunch has more than proved itself. This intuition for what makes a hit-game has been key to the success of the studio.

Cyanide’s start-up period was in a business incubator in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. The success of the first “Cycling Manager” game lead to a rapid expansion in the number of employees and the fledgling studio soon sought new offices and took on a new project. “Cycling Manager” now became a series, with a new version every year, and other sport-management games were grafted onto the core game engine. Thus “Horse Racing Manager” was released in 2003, “Pro Rugby Manager” in 2004 and “Pro Rugby Manager 2” in 2005. Each year, of course, saw a release of “Cycling Manager”.

Cyanide’s original sporting bent was due in large part to the sporting tendencies of its founders. However, behind the sport-management façade there was (and still is) a collection of hard-core gamers. This manifested itself within “Chaos League”, a subtle blend of haemoglobin and humour mixed up in a RTS /heroic fantasy/sport management cocktail. The core of the game resembled American football, but with elves, orcs and goblins killing each other using spells such as Turkey Shower, Pestilence and Smoke Bomb there was little that fans of the NFL would recognise ! The mixing of genres with the game’s whacky humour did not fail to captivate fans and the original 2004 release was followed in 2005 by an add-on called “Sudden Death”. “Chaos League” proved to be a watershed in Cyanide’s evolution. Sport-management was still the core of the gaming strategy, but ideas were germinating … and the studio was growing. 2005 saw Cyanide move outside Paris and into bigger office space close to the La Defense business district.

In 2006, as in 2004 and 2005, three games were released, each set in a different sporting context. First-out was “Winter Challenge”, offering a variety of winter sports (bobsleigh, ski-jumping, downhill and cross-country skiing, …) linked to the 2006 winter Olympics. Then came the perennial Cycling Manager (called “Pro Cycling Manager – Season 2006”), which for the first time became the official cycling game of the Tour de France. The end of the year brought a new and improved “Horse Racing Manager”.

Cyanide’s development teams had always been busy, but 2007 saw them double their efforts as the studio brought to market its first hack ‘n’ slash, “Loki”, and its first console game, “Pro Cycling” for the Sony PSP. Between those two releases, the 7th version of “Pro Cycling Manager” hit the shelves and met with its usual popular success. At the same time, Cyanide was setting up its first overseas operation. The chosen site was Montreal, Canada, which gave the studio a footing on the North American market. The fifteen-strong development team is working on several projects. The most complex of which is the development of a dynamic 3D animation engine. The resulting middleware will be used in future Cyanide games and already some of the technology has been integrated into the studio’s upcoming “Blood Bowl” title. Before 2007 was out, Cyanide also ported Pendulo Studios’ “Runaway, the dream of the turtle” game from PC to Nintendo DS, the studio’s first DS experience. Finally, in a year of “all change” and as a sign of an ever-growing workforce, the studio moved offices yet again, although staying within walking distance of La Defense.

2008 has been a year of heavy development work on the adaptation of Games Workshop’s renowned “Blood Bowl” board game to the PC, PSP, DS and Xbox360 platforms. The “Pro Cycling” team was reinforced to add a new platform, the Xbox Live Arcade, to the existing PC and PSP versions. At the same time “Dungeon Party” on the PC and several projects to be confirmed give Cyanide a strong orientation in the RPG genre.

In 2009, 15 employees in Montreal and 60 in Paris work on R&D and Cyanide’s upcoming games.