Mucky Foot was founded in 1997 by four developers who worked
together at Bullfrog Productions; Mike Diskett, Fin McGechie, Guy Simmons and
Gary Carr. Shortly after the company’s formation, the team secured a worldwide
publishing deal with Eidos for their debut game.
After two years in development Muckyfoot released Urban Chaos to the world and the game quickly found fans amongst its reviewers. Computer Games Strategy Plus rated the game 4/5 stars and declared it "a game screaming to become a comic book. The graphics are excellent, and the storyline will have you wanting to turn to the last page just to see who, or what, is responsible. Mucky Foot has definitely brought the fun back to vigilante justice."
Next the team set their sights on science fiction and
released Startopia in 2001. The game made frequent references to popular sci-fi
culture including homages to Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Red Dwarf and
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Startopia was formally dedicated to the
memory of Douglas Adams as author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide after his passing
during the games development.
Influence from the best of the Bullfrog Productions catalogue shines through in Startopia. The game plays like a refined and expanded upon version of Dungeon Keeper, set in outer-space. In the games campaign, you are tasked with rebuilding and running a collection of derelict space stations. As your wealth increases, you are able to build more elaborate facilities such as sick bays to heal injured travellers. Trading stations can be added in order to profit from planet mining and keep building out your space stations with areas like the pleasure deck for shops and attractions. Some influence from Populous can be found in the biodeck, an area where you control the landscape in order to please the different species of aliens who visit.
Startopia sold more than 100,000 copies during its lifetime and received generally favourable reviews following its release. It holds an average of 85% and 86/100 on aggregate review websites GameRankings and Metacritic. The game was praised for its humour, voice acting and graphics. Critics particularly revered the sandbox mode where players could take more control over the environment and enjoy several random events. From pilgrim ships seeking enlightenment from your monks to tourists seeking entertainment and ambulance shuttles needing medical care, there was never a dull moment.
After the success of Startopia the Mucky Foot team embarked upon delivering an ambitious release schedule of 7 subsequent games. Blade II was released alongside the movie in 2002 but sadly marked Mucky Foot’s final release as they were forced to close the studio soon after. The games which were cancelled because of Mucky Foot’s closure included a sequel to Urban Chaos and a reimagining of Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital called ER Tycoon.
In May 2017 Mucky Foot's Mike Diskett released the source code of Urban Chaos under the MIT license on GitHub. Gary Carr would later go on to establish Two Point Studios and release his reimagining of Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital to critical acclaim.