U.S. Gold logo
|Type(s)||video game developer and publisher|
|Foundation||1984 (as publishing arm of Centresoft)|
|Closure||April 1996 acquired by Eidos when Eidos acquired CentreGold Plc|
|Industry||Publishing Computer Games|
|Key People||Geoff Brown (founder)|
U.S. Gold was a British computer and video game publisher and developer from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s, producing and distributing numerous titles on a variety of 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit platforms. It distributed at least two games based on Fighting Fantasy books.
U.S. Gold was founded in Birmingham in 1984 by Geoff Brown as the publishing division of Centresoft, a computer game distribution company he founded in 1983. Their primary purpose was to publish popular American Atari and Commodore 64 games in the UK and Europe and later convert them to other popular 8-bit home computer formats in the European market, such as the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. This business plan proved to be an instant success, prompting U.S. Gold to expand by acquiring smaller developers and seeking out licences that they could commercialise.
The publisher continued to expand their operation well into the 1990s. However, a number of their more lucrative licensing deals, particularly one with LucasArts (formerly Lucasfilm Games), fell through, threatening to affect their income. In order to help consolidate their finances, they joined forces with UK software distributor CentreSoft to form the CentreGold Plc Group. Internal game development studios owned by U.S. Gold were the internally formed Silicon Dreams and acquired Core Design.
The three-way partnership at the heart of CentreGold (U.S. Gold, Core Design (developer of Tomb Raider) and CentreSoft) didn't last long, however, as the group was acquired by Eidos Interactive in April 1996. Eidos sold off CentreSoft and maintained Core Design as a developer but decided to discontinue the U.S. Gold brand. Silicon Dreams was sold back to U.S. Gold founder Geoff Brown and became the keystone for his new development venture Geoff Brown Holdings (GBH).
The last retail game to bear the U.S. Gold logo was Olympic Games: Atlanta 1996, released in June 1996 for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC and 3DO. The remaining U.S. Gold games awaiting publication at the time of their acquisition by Eidos were released in August 1996 with the exception of Dream Team Basketball. Dream Team Basketball was to be released on the Sony PlayStation but was cancelled.
U.S. Gold LicencesEdit
Perhaps the three most well known licences that U.S. Gold had were:
U.S. Gold's association with Fighting Fantasy was purely as a distributor of games developed by AdventureSoft. AdventureSoft had bought the licence to develop Fighting Fantasy titles in 1985 and had originally intended to release the conversions under the brand Fighting Fantasy Software, to be distributed by the name they were using under licence, "Adventure International (UK)". However, after the bankruptcy of the American firm Adventure International, AdventureSoft began to use their own name explicitly. They broke away from the Fighting Fantasy Software brand, and engaged U.S. Gold as distributors. Their plans to release Temple of Terror and Rebel Planet came to fruition. They also planned, and even advertised a release of a conversion of Sword of the Samurai. However, this appears to never have happened.
In summary the Fighting Fantasy-based games distributed by US Gold were:
and advertised but unreleased: