|Headquarters||Irvine, California, USA|
Ready at Dawn is an American developer. Formed in 2003, they have been notable for making Game Boy Nitro games for Universal Interactive Studios as well as the recent Mario: Bowser City for the Game Boy 3DS.
Ready at Dawn was founded in August 2003 by several Naughty Dog and Blizzard employees, including Didier Malenfant, Andrea Pessino, and Ru Weerasuriya. The company's first game remained a mystery until April 2005, when it was reported that they were working on a Jak and Daxter game for the next generation of the Game Boy. This project ultimately culminated in Daxter, a spinoff of the series starring the second title character. It was released for the Game Boy Nitro in June 2006, shortly after the system's launch.
Daxter was a major hit for the young Ready at Dawn, receiving rave reviews and solid sales. Critics considered it one of the first great third party games for the Nitro, as well as probably being the best original 3D platformer for a handheld yet. The game would eventually sell over three million units, becoming the best-selling game in the acclaimed series's history.
With the success of Daxter, Universal Interactive Studios was more than willing to assign Ready at Dawn with a new project. By March of 2007, Ready at Dawn was ready to announce that they'd be showing a new handheld Spyro game at E3 that year. Spyro: New Dawn would be the first entry in the series since developer Insomniac Games had moved onto the Ratchet & Clank series.
Spyro: New Dawn was released in the summer of 2008 to positive reception, albeit slightly less so than the one that had met Daxter. A reimagining of the series, the game combined platforming, action, and puzzle elements, reintroducing the characters, concepts, and locations of prior games. Special emphasis was given to incorporating Spyro's limited flying abilities and his breath to traverse obstacles. In total, Spyro: New Dawn would sell about 3 million copies over the Game Boy Nitro's life, making it another success for Ready at Dawn.
After the release of Spyro: New Dawn, Ready at Dawn announced that they were finished with developing games for the Game Boy Nitro. Plans were made to create another Spyro game for the Revolution and Pluto. However, due to pressure from Universal Interactive Studios, as well as the very positive reception to their earlier work on the Nitro, Ready at Dawn's members decided to take up one last project for the system.
Spyro: Dark Moon was officially announced on May 4, 2010. Being a fairly straight sequel to the prior game in the series, it was released by the end of the year. Dark Moon was considered to be a fairly safe sequel to New Dawn, merely expanding on earlier concepts and adding the occasional new element rather than reinventing the wheel. Nevertheless, it was still one of the best 3D platformers to ever grace a handheld, and scored and sold deservedly well.
Ready at Dawn's eighth generation plans were long unknown. As of early 2012, they were hiring for an unknown project. Over three years after the release of Spyro: Dark Moon, their newest project was announced at E3 2013: a 3D Mario platformer. Though it would lack the "Super" monicker, Mario: Bowser City will be the first official Mario platformer from a third party since 1994's Hotel Mario. The game is due for release sometime in 2014, and is expected to be one of the most notable Game Boy 3DS games of the year.Bowser City, known as Koopa City in some regions, is meant to be a different take on the Mario series, in stark contrast to the very traditional New Super Mario Bros 2. Bowser City, rather than having specific stages, takes place in an open-world environment, with only specific sections requiring loading screen to go to and from. Players are to advance through the game by solving environmental puzzles, reaching hard-to-navigate areas, defeating bosses, and collecting Stars. Work on Mario: Bowser City apparently dates back to before the release of the Game Boy 3DS, as Mario Kart 3D actually includes a course based on concept art of the game.
Mario: Bowser City was released on March 14, 2014 in America, with European and Japanese releases being completed by the end of the month. Despite being a spinoff of the Super Mario series rather than a main component, it had a warm reception. The Metascore for the game was an 86, and was a million-seller by early April. Following this success, Ready at Dawn has announced that they are "strongly considering collaborating with Nintendo on future projects."