Why Stormfront Studios Shut Down

Don Daglow, (former) founder and CEO of Stormfront Studios

Let us travel back into game history time just a little. In April 2008, esteemed development studio Stormfront Studios announced its closure. The studio was famous for developing games such as Neverwinter Nights, Stronghold, Blood Wake, Demon Stone and Eragon. In 2008 Neverwinter Nights was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the art form of MMORPG games.

The studio’s closure was sudden and a very big loss for game professionals and fans. Although no direct explanation for their closure is given in the many articles announcing the studio’s ‘death’, (former) founder and CEO of Stormfront Studios Don Daglow was kind enough to elaborate on Stormfront’s closure, explaining to us what it is like working in a fast moving industry like the games industry. After briefly discussing the process that led to Stormfront’s closure, Mr. Daglow continued on a lighter note to explain what is currently keeping him busy and as passionate about the games industry as always.

Don Daglow: “I stayed too long on the idea of doing big games on consoles. We had a very large project where the publisher was acquired by a publisher, and the new publisher cancelled all the early-stage projects. And we were early-stage. We had a Wii game that a publisher just loved. And the head of marketing  for that publisher decided that the Wii really wasn’t going to be a successful platform and that people wouldn’t keep buying Wiis. So they ordered that company not to do that title. So in ten days we lost 20 million dollars worth of business. And we knew we couldn’t pick that up. Because you always take months in between projects, getting the next one started, so you use up your money from one to the next. We could not have kept going on for very long, and realistically we wouldn’t have made a difference by trying to keep going. So we stopped. It was bad enough as it was.

So at that point you can either give up or you can say, okay, what am I meant to do? I did this for twenty years, in one setting. I did not change the company fast enough in accordance with how fast the world changed. But it’s a chance to start from scratch. And what I’ve seen in my life is that sometimes something bad has to happen to set us on the right path. And it’s encumbered upon us to figure out what’s that path. What is that thing that I have to do that will lead to future happiness and future success?

In this case, I hadn’t been able to work on online games, which are a passion of mine. Because it didn’t fit the Stormfront team. So this gave me the chance to start working on online games. Start working on social media games, which weren’t a part of our mix then because they were too small, we needed to do things big. Which was part of the problem. So some of what I do is original game design. Will it ever get fully made? We’ll see. And then I’m advising other companies and teams. Sometimes it’s just business stuff. Other times it’s helping teams with design or production or problems of building a small team.”

Above all, let us not forget Stormfront’s glory days as the developer with one of the longest creative histories in the industry, receiving countless awards from The Academy of Interactive Arts Sciences, G4 Television, BAFTA, The IGDA Game Developers Choice Awards, The EMMA Awards, SCEA, the Software Publishers Association and many magazines and websites. Video game history was made several times and the company was and will remain close to the hearts of many.

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Written by Snezana N

She destroyed her first PC (running Windows 3.11) at the age of 11 and since then has been obsessed with everything about games and technology. Founder of Game Thingie (gamethingie.com), she's currently a game journalist to learn about the industry and get into game development after attaining her MscBA. She also cannot stop talking about how awesome Yakuza 3 was.


  1. Don Daglow is a crook and a liar. He still owes all of his ex-employees a large amount of compensation. He has a judgement against him via the State of California. He will not hesitate to tell you a fucking lie right to your face. How do you know if he’s lying? Easy. If he’s flapping his lips, he’s lying.

    • Ex SFS Employee /

      Stormfront did not pay out vacation balances when it shut down.

      Regardless of the reason and the circumstances of the shutdown not keeping enough funds to pay out vacation is against the State law.

      However at the company meeting when the shutdown was announced Don stated that we will be getting our vacation balances paid out.

      Thus there are 2 possibilities.

      1. Don was aware that SFS does not have enough funds to pay out vacation and explicitly lied to his employees by saying that the vacation balance will get paid out.

      2. He was not aware of the company’s financial state, which shows his incompetence as a CEO.

      • ESPN Rat /

        As a Stormfront employee all the way back to the early 1990s, I can attest that Stephen is right on the nose. If Don calls a meeting, it’s so he can tell a big lie. He knew there were funds, but just wanted to placate a room full of “team members” (hah!).

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