Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Where are they now? - Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III

Screenshot of intro to Star Control 2
Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III developed the classic sci-fi RPG Star Control 2

Considering I just reviewed Interstellaria I thought why not go back to where it all started (well, at least for me)? For today's "Where are they now?" why don't we go back to Star Control 2 and see what happened to its developers? Well the developers of Star Control 2 happen to be Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III but their stories obviously start a bit earlier than that (although there's unfortunately very little on Fred Ford so it'll mostly be on Paul Reiche III for starters).

Paul Reiche III was born in 1961 and during his teens befriended future Dungeons & Dragons artist, Erol Otus. Both of these guys really got into roleplaying games, so much so that they eventually released several games of their own before working for TSR itself.

In the 1980s, Reiche made the switch to computer game development and started developing games for Electronic Arts as an artist, designer and programmer. One of his greatest contributions in the 1980s was 1983's Archon: The Light and the Dark which became a full blown franchise. Reiche continued to develop games in the 1980s until in 1989 he co-founded a new company with Fred Ford called Toys for Bob.

The first game to be developed by Toys for Bob was Star Control which was released in 1990 where both designed the game but Ford did the programming, and Reiche the audio and graphics. The original Star Control was solely focused on combat so it wasn't until 1992 that the classic Star Control 2 would be released which not only incorporated the combat mechanics from the first Star Control but a whole universe to explore and alien cultures to meet. The game was a critical success and is arguably the most famous DOS game developed by Toys for Bob.

Both Reiche and Ford continued to develop games and grow their company in Novato, California, the company even being bought out by Activision in 2005 (and it remains a subsidiary of this company to this very day).

Reiche and Ford eventually struck gold twice by developing 2011's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, the first of a new wave of "toys to life" games that would become a huge success. In fact, Disney and Lego have now joined the bandwagon with Disney Infinity and Lego Dimensions having entered the fold. As Yoghurt says:




Reiche and Ford continue to work at Toys for Bob to this very day meaning the company has been around for well over two decades. No mean feat in the game development industry. Reiche is the CEO and Director of Development while Ford is Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Will Reiche and Ford ever make a new Star Control game? It's looking very unlikely at the moment. Stardock managed to acquire the I.P. a couple of years back and are apparently at the very early stages of developing a new Star Control game, which is good news. But it seems unlikely they'd invite Reiche and Ford aboard to help develop it - although wouldn't it be fantastic if they did?

LINKS:
[ MobyGames: Fred Ford ]
[ MobyGames: Paul Reiche III ]
[ Wikipedia: Toys for Bob ]
[ Wikipedia: Paul Reiche III ]

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