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Looking Glass Studios closes down
Maker of System Shock 2, Thief franchise to cease operations immediately.
By - John "Warrior" Keefer



Looking Glass Studios, the developer behind such hits as the Thief series and System Shock series, has closed its doors. No one at the company could be reached for official comment. A source at the company said "the company is essentially ceasing operations immediately."

Calls to Paul Neurath, managing director of Looking Glass, were being directed to his voice mailbox, which was full. The source said Neurath was still at the office "making the rounds, talking to folks. There's a lot of that going on."

Looking Glass, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., has created some of the best-selling and highly acclaimed titles in the industry, including the Ultima Underworld series, the System Shock series, the Thief series, the Flight Unlimited series and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri.


"This news about Looking Glass closing down really saddens me," said Harvey Smith, lead designer at Ion Storm in Austin and a former lead tester on System Shock while with Origin. "Those guys have been my inspiration. They've made such incredible, revolutionary games over the last decade. Where would we be without Looking Glass?"

Eidos, which published the Thief series, had no comment on the closure. The license for Thief was held jointly and where the closing leaves the franchise is currently up in the air.

Electronic Arts was publisher of the System Shock series and they were unavailable for comment.

Various posts on the forums at TTLG, a fan site for Looking Glass, show members of the studio confirming the demise. Among the posts was an open letter to the fans from Randy Smith, a Looking Glass designer:

Hello LG Fans,

Yes its true, Looking Glass has gone out of business. Our office is closing tomorrow. I'm sure that this effects me as much as anybody, since as a fan and then as an employee, Looking Glass has always been my favorite company in the games industry. Dedicating myself to the Thief projects has meant a lot to me, and we had high hopes for Thief 3 and other projects beyond. I'm going to deeply miss Looking Glass and my brilliant, fun co-workers. I don't think the industry will ever be quite the same.

I want, on a personal level and on behalf of Looking Glass, to extend heartfelt appreciation to TTLG. Knowing that you guys were out there, watching and appreciating our efforts, has truly fueled our work. The things that you've accomplished on your sites are amazing, and knowing that it's all about us - Looking Glass and it's fans - is mindboggling. I slept on the floor of Doug Church's office for 13 days in a row during the making of Thief 2. I was working to make the game better, which I might not have done if I didn't know for certain that someone was going to notice. You owe a part of Looking Glass's products to yourselves, and we've been both proud and appreciative.

In particular, I want to thank Dan Todd and Saam Tariverdi for starting TTLG. Beyond them, there are too many names to mention, so consider yourselves thanked.

Sincerely,
Randy Smith, former LG designer and forever an LG fan

ps. Sadly, there is a low chance that Thief 3 will ever see the light of day, and its even less likely that if it did, a majority of LG folks would be involved. I hope I'm wrong, but I think that's the sad truth. But just so you know, we were going to do this whole cool open-ended, self-directed city thing, where you get to wander around the city and steal at your leisure, until, of course, Garrett gets mixed up in crazy affairs that draw him into a larger plot. You guys, in particular, would have loved it, I bet. And, yea, it was gonna be about the Keepers. Good guess.

The closure obviously came suddenly. Looking Glass had actually posted five job openings only three weeks earlier.

Essential Links:
Looking Glass Studios
3D Action Planet
Through the Looking Glass


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