E121: A deep dive into the list of acquisitions from last week.
Good morning gamers! There were tons of moving parts in the gaming world last week as several studios were acquired. The high traction of acquisitions is definitely a positive as it will give smaller studios access to extra resources and support.
Firewalk Studios has been acquired by Sony and are officially the 20th PlayStation Studio. They are currently working on their first original AAA multiplayer game for PlayStation. In 2021, PlayStation announced a publishing partnership with ProbablyMonsters and Firewalk Studios, and PlayStation sees the acquisition as a way to continue investing in Firewalk’s mission.
Focus Entertainment has acquired 100% of Rail Simulator’s parent company Dovetail Games’ Group (DTG). The award winning developer is considered the leader in the train simulation genre. Jon Rissik, the CEO of Dovetail Games’ thinks that the acquisition will help them “amplify our own talents as a digital publisher”.
AQUIRIS Games Studio has been acquired by Epic Games. The studio behind Horizon Chase Turbo will be renamed to Epic Games Brasil. They are based out of Porto Alegre and will join a team of Epic Games developers helping to create content and social experiences within Fortnite.
Rovio has been acquired by SEGA for $776 million. SEGA says the deal should be complete by September 2023 as they will acquire “the entirety of Rovio’s outstanding shares and options”. The Angry Birds studio will help improve SEGA’s live-service mobile game portfolio.
Atari has acquired more than 100 PC and console titles from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The acquisition includes notable games such as the Bubsy, Hardball, the Demolition Racer series, as well as the 1942: Pacific Air War, F-117A, and the F-14 air combat series. Atari would like to expand their distribution, explore new collaborations and create new games based on these IPs.
Ubisoft and their Shooter Games
Ubisoft was in the news last week with their ‘The Future of the Division’ showcase, the XDefiant beta and rumors of a canceled Splinter Cell battle royale game.
The Division received a dedicated showcase discussing the future of the franchise. Three main games were featured,
The Division Heartland is a PvEvP focused, survival-action shooter set in the rural parts of the American Midwest. The developer deep dive focused on gameplay, the characters and the game's mechanics. There will be a closed beta later this year.
The Division 2’s fifth year of content features four distinct seasons. Season 1 (Broken Wings) launches in June and introduces a new game mode, Season 2 (Puppeteers) features a new Incursion, Season 3 (Vanguard) brings players to New York City, and Season 4 (Black Diamond) includes a new story DLC with new missions, zones and end game structure.
The Division Resurgence, Ubisoft’s mobile looter shooter, is entering its next testing phase and will officially launch sometime before March 31, 2024.
Splinter Cell is already confirmed to be getting a modern day remake but did you know that Ubisoft canceled a Splinter Cell-themed Battle Royale game called “Splinter Cell: Hunters”? According to a supposed game tester who played the game, here’s what it was like.
3rd person, PvPvE Battle Royale game with major extraction shooter elements.
Set at night within the “Washington DMZ”.
Spawn in as a duo with just a knife trying to find and eliminate one of the four high value targets located somewhere on the map (while also fighting against AI and 28 other real enemy players). Once the HVT is eliminated, and the cache is collected, the duo team must get extracted to win the game.
Players who die return to the game with the task of killing the remaining real players.
🥇Congratulations to Team Vitality for winning the Intel Extreme Masters Rio 2023, to LA Thieves for winning the Call of Duty League 2023: Stage IV Major and to Gaimin Gladiator for winning the Dota2 DreamLeague Season 19.
Riot Games have published an article that discusses their approach to building the future of esports. According to Riot’s CEO John Needham, they’re “all in on esports [...] and are dedicated to creating a sustainable future for teams, players, and fans”. The TLDR is that they need to stop thinking of the esports business like traditional sports and that they should focus on the reach that they have amongst Millennials, Gen Z and Alphas. As part of their strategy, Riot is introducing the Virtual Pass, a product that bridges online and IRL fan engagement where viewers can get closer to the action and access to exclusive content. In Riot’s eyes, the Virtual Pass will “deliver great experiences and connect fans with their favorite players and teams, while simultaneously creating a new revenue stream for teams”.
The Overwatch League’s 2023 season is set to kickoff on April 27th but according to the official announcement, the Chengdu Hunters are not included in the schedule because they are “contemplating the future direction of their team”. The Hunters tweeted an ominous “goodbye” in January, which also lined up with the shutdown of Blizzard games in mainland China due to a failed contract extension between Blizzard and NetEase. In the meantime, the OWL’s East Region will run with six league teams.
The ESL’s Intel Grand Slam V is set to start with IEM Rio 2023, and all eligible wins across CS:GO and CS2 (once it’s integrated into the ESL Pro Tour) will count. The Intel Grand Slam is one of the ESL’s biggest Counter-Strike trophies and essentially awards $1M to the team that wins three ESL Pro Tour tournaments and one EPT Championship event over the course of ten consecutive events. FaZe won the last Grand Slam where Twistzz became the first player to ever win it twice.
Marvel’s Iron Man, the AAA game in development by Electronic Art’s Motive Studio will reportedly have an open-world according to a new job listing.
Dead Space is reportedly getting a movie adaptation directed by James Wan, the director of Aquaman (2018) and its upcoming sequel (December 2023).
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2’s Yuri Lowenthal (Peter Parker) says he's completed all his motion capture and voice sessions for the game.
Horizon Forbidden West's newest expansion points towards the late Lance Reddick being a main character in the third game.
Star Wars Battlefront III was reportedly incredible and almost complete before it got canceled. This is according to former developer Michael Barclay.
Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions is a new Quidditch multiplayer game announced by Warner Bros. Unfortunately, there was no release date revealed.
Mortal Kombat 2, the sequel to the 2021 film will reportedly look to begin filming in June.
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