A Look at Australian Game Developers

January 26, 2017

Here at Rocket Chainsaw we wanted to celebrate Australia Day by looking at some of the developers that are here on our home soil. Honouring developers from both past and present, we strongly believe that there is some real talent in the local industry, and there may even be a few titles mentioned in this feature that you never knew were made in this country. From the likes of indie developers Infinite Interactive and Halfbrick Studios, to bigger names such as 2K Australia, we take a look at some of the larger developers and their achievements.

2K Australia

Years Active: 2000-2015

Notable Works: BioShock series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Fun Facts: Originally founded as Irrational Games Australia, the developer changed its name to 2K Australia in 2007. The team acted mostly in a supporting role for the BioShock series, assisting with coding and some level design. They took a more active role with the development of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but sadly they never quite managed to create their own IP. 2K Australia closed in 2015, citing expensive game development costs in Australia.

borderlands the pre-sequel

Big Ant Studios

Years Active: 2001-present

Notable Works: The Legend of Spyro series, AFL Live, Don Bradman Cricket series

Fun Facts: Big Ant Studios have collaborated with several other Australian game developers, notably Krome Studios and Halfbrick Studios. They were responsible for the GBA version of The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, while also acting in a supporting role for its sequel, The Eternal Night. They also handled the PS3 and Vita versions of Jetpack Joyride, which at the time was one of the first free-to-play games on the PSN.

BigWorld Technology

Years Active: 2002-present

Notable Works: N/A

Fun Facts: BigWorld may not have released any actual games, but they specialise in middleware software tools targeted at the MMO and Virtual World markets. One of the better known games to utilise their tools is World of Tanks, and as it happens developer/publisher Wargaming.net acquired the company in 2012.

Blue Tongue Entertainment

Years Active: 1995-2011

Notable Works: Nicktoons series, de Blob series, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Fun Facts: Back in the day when THQ were riding a wave of success with their licensed videogame market, Blue Tongue Entertainment were one of their key developers. They worked on many of the Nicktoons games, as well as other popular movie tie-ins such as The Polar Express and Barnyard. The company found a small cult following with Wii-exclusive de Blob, later releasing an underappreciated sequel on all home consoles. Sadly Blue Tongue were one of the first studios to be closed when THQ started consolidating their assets in an attempt to minimise financial losses.

de blob

Firemonkeys Studios

Years Active: 1999-present

Notable Works: Various Need for Speed mobile games, Real Racing mobile games, The Sims Freeplay

Fun Fact: Originally founded as Firemint, the studio was purchased by EA Games in May 2011. They would later aquire Infinite Interactive, developers of Puzzle Quest, and then merge with IronMonkey Studios, becoming the Firemonkeys we know today . Since the EA acquisition, the company has focused on bringing the Need for Speed franchise to mobile, as well as Flight Control and the ever-popular The Sims Freeplay.

Halfbrick Studios

Years Active: 2001-present

Notable Works: Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, handheld versions of various Ty: The Tasmanian Tiger games

Fun Fact: Let’s face it, chances are you have played Fruit Ninja. And if you haven’t, you should do so now. Besides a colourful history with mobile titles, Halfbrick have dabbled in other handheld markets including developing various Nickelodeon-themed games for GBA and Marvel Super Hero Squad for the Nintendo DS.

Fruit Ninja

Hipster Whale

Years Active: 2014-present

Notable Works: Crossy Road, Pac-Man 256

Fun Facts: One of the younger developers in this feature, Hipster Whale is slowly making a name for themselves on the mobile market. Their biggest success so far has been Crossy Road, which made the studio over $10,000,000 in its first 3 months of release and has been downloaded over 130,000,000 times. It put them on the map globally and gained them opportunities with Disney and Bandai Namco.

Infinite Interactive

Years Active: 2003-present

Notable Works: Puzzle Quest, Gems of War

Fun Facts: Combining RPG and puzzle genres was quite novel back in the day, but Infinite’s Puzzle Quest took the world by storm and invaded every platform imaginable. Unsurprisingly the company has mostly stuck with their hybrid genre, though they recently trialed a free-to-play model with Gems of War.

puzzle quest

Krome Studios

Years Active: 1999-present

Notable Works: Ty: The Tasmanian Tiger series, various Star Wars games, Blade Kitten

Fun Facts: At one point one of the largest game developers in Australia, Krome Studios used to have offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. However, with rising game costs the studio had to make significant cutbacks in 2010, seemingly reducing down to a skeleton crew. Aside from the Ty: The Tasmanian Tiger games, the developer has also worked on The Legend of Spyro series, and the Wii and PS2 versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. They’ve also got various Star Wars: Clone Wars games and Viva Pinata: Party Animals under their belt.

N3V Games

Years Active: 1995-present

Notable Works: Trainz series

Fun Facts: Originally founded as Auran Development, N3V has found great success with the simulation series Trainz. They have also worked on the critically panned Fury for PC and Battlestar Galactica for Xbox 360.


Straight Right

Years Active: 2011-present

Notable Works: Wii U ports of Mass Effect 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Fun Facts: The company specialises in porting games from other developers. For while they seemed to be the go-to guys for handling Wii U ports, but would later do the reverse and port Zombi U to the PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Tantalus Media

Years Active: 1994-present

Notable Works: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, Sonic Mania, South Park Rally

Fun Facts: Tantalus have acted as a support developer on a number of projects, including the upcoming Switch version of Sonic Mania. The company made a name for itself last year by porting Twilight Princess to the Wii U, adding Gamepad functionality and a new challenge area for Wolf-Link. Other projects include various licensed games from franchises such as Ben 10 and MegaMind.

twilight princess hd

Team Bondi

Years Active: 2003-2011

Notable Works: L.A. Noire

Fun Facts: Probably one of the most controversial developers in Australia, Team Bondi were responsible for the Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire. The game’s release was soured by reports of poor working conditions, a supposed seven year development cycle and internal struggles with the publisher. In fact, Rockstar are largely credited for L.A. Noire’s success, having provided significant funding and having a great marketing team. Once the allegations came to light, Team Bondi struggled to find a new publishing partner and closed their doors in 2011.

THQ Studio Australia

Years Active: 2003-2011

Notable Works: MegaMind: Ultimate Showdown, various Avatar titles

Fun Facts: Have you noticed that many of the developers in this feature have worked on Nickelodeon licensed games? Chances are those projects were overseen by THQ Studio Australia, who were not only a developer themselves but also acted as the main contact for local developers handling Nickelodeon properties. Sadly, the Aussie studio was closed following the restructuring of parent company THQ.


Australia has always had a rich development scene, and while many of the larger developers have closed in the last half-decade, the Indie scene has exploded and there are heaps of creative and innovative games coming from smaller studios throughout the country. Stay tuned next week when Andrew takes a look at some of independent developers that have emerged and flourished in the last few years and the games they are developing.