Codex Gamicus

Relic Entertainment is a Canadian game development company that specializes in 3D real-time strategy games and has released a number of unique PC games. Relic specializes in creative, visually appealing, and combat intense RTS games.


Relic was started in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada by Alex Garden and Luke Moloney in 1997. Their first title, Homeworld, was released on September 28, 1999 to critical acclaim and successful sales. Though they did not immediately continue working on the franchise (Sierra Entertainment, the game's publisher owned the rights), the game did have a spin-off, Homeworld: Cataclysm, developed by Barking Dog Studios and published by Sierra.

Their next title was Impossible Creatures, released by Microsoft on January 7, 2003. It focused on a fictional environment during the 1930s, allowing players to design units from different anatomical parts of animals. The game was successful, though it did not receive the same attention as Homeworld.

Homeworld 2 was released on September 16, 2003. Although it boasted improved graphics and features and changed some elements of gameplay from the original, reviews cited some issues and did not score it as highly as its predecessor.

On April 27, 2004, publisher THQ announced it was acquiring Relic for close to $10 million in an all-cash transaction, completed around early May, 2004.[1]

Relic then released Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War on September 20, 2004, an RTS game based on Games Workshop's popular Warhammer 40,000 franchise. The game was a success, with many reviewers applauding its innovative resource management system and squad-based interface.

Following up on the success of Dawn of War, Relic released an expansion pack entitled Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault on September 23, 2005. The expansion added a fifth race, the Imperial Guard, to the game, as well as giving the existing races several new units. The expansion was mildly successful, although it did not have the impact of the original game.

Relic's first and only foray into the console world of gaming, The Outfit, was released on March 13, 2006 for the Xbox 360. Not very successful, many reviewers saw it as a love-it-or-hate-it game. It was also criticized for its weak single-player modes.

Company of Heroes, a World War II-themed real-time strategy game was released on September 12, 2006. It used Relic's new Essence engine. The engine, which had been designed in-house by Relic, featured many next-generation graphical effects, including HDR and dynamic lighting, as well as utilizing the Havok middleware physics engine. The game was very successful and won many awards from multiple gaming magazines and websites.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, a second, standalone expansion pack for Dawn of War was released on October 9, 2006. It brought many new things to the franchise: two new races (the Necron and the Tau), new units for the existing races and a Total War-esque turn-based campaign, as well as a rebalancing and tweaking of game mechanics. Its standalone design meant that the player needed neither the original Dawn of War nor the Winter Assault expansion to enjoy the game's full feature (apart from online multiplayer games). It was successful and considered one of the best expansions of 2006.

On September 25, 2007, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, the stand alone expansion pack to Company of Heroes was released. It introduced two new playable armies, the British 2nd Army and the German Panzer Elite.

There has been speculation supported through various sources that Relic has re-acquired the rights to the Homeworld franchise from Vivendi. Finally, following the discovery of a document on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's electronic filing system by a fan, THQ confirmed that Relic indeed owns the trademark again, making a continuation of the series under THQ's lead possible. However, no comment on future installments was given.[2]

Relic released the sequel to Dawn of War, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, on February 18, 2009. It featured the introduction of the Tyranid race to the Dawn of War series. In an attempt to avoid recent complaints about DRM, Relic chose to release Dawn of War II on Steam and use Games for Windows LIVE to arrange multiplayer matches.

On the third of November 2008 Relic announced a second stand alone expansion, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, which was released on the 9th of April, 2009. This expansion introduced a new campaign, new units, weapons, game play features and three new game types.[3]

Game designer Brian R. Wood, lead designer of Company of Heroes Online died on September 3, 2010 while protecting his wife and unborn child. He is survived by his wife, Erin, who is improving her condition and expecting a child.[4]

Release history[]


  • Best Developer, Best of 2006 Awards[1]


External links[]

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