Crytek Closes Five Studios

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We’ve talked before about the issues going on at Cryek. After a year of paying salaries late (October’s salaries were just paid this week), big changes are coming to the company. The company announced they are closing studios in Budapest, Hungary; Sofia, Bulgaria; Seoul, Korea; Shanghai, China; and Istanbul, Turkey in order to “refocus on its core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology.”

Crytek now only has their studios in Frankfurt, Germany and Kiev, Ukraine. In a news release, a spokesperson for Crytek said they are working to “put plans into action to secure jobs and to ensure a smooth transition and stable future” for all affected employees. Rumors of a sale of the Black Sea studio in Sofia may not happen, as nothing is being announced.

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Standing Stone Games Takes Over Lord of the Rings Online and D&D Online

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Change is underway at MMO developer Turbine Entertainment, a part of Warner Bros. Interactive. Back in July, Warner Bros announced layoffs at the studio as it transitioned to F2P mobile games. Today, that transition is complete.

A new studio is being formed, Standing Stone Games, consisting of the developers behind Lord of the Rings Online and D&D Online. Turbine is handing over the reins to both games to Standing Stone.

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Netmarble acquires Kabam Vancouver, Marvel: Contest of Champions

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Two of my favorite mobile gaming companies are joining forces, as Netmarble acquires the Vancouver studio of Kabam, possibly for up to $800 million. What this means for Kabam is unknown, as Marvel: Contest of Champions, the studio’s biggest hit, it going along with the deal. Also included in the deal is Transformers: Forged to Fight, another upcoming character-based brawler, which will launch in Q2 2017.

95% of Kabam’s revenues are from the Vancouver studio, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kabam shut down the rest of the business and exit the mobile gaming space. 250 of Kabam’s 600 staffers will join Netmarble as part of the deal. According to Kent Wakefield, COO of Kabam, Netmarble is acquiring Kabam Inc, the entire company. The reasoning that shareholders will get the proceeds based upon their ownership. Then, as a subsidiary of Netmarble, Kabam will spin-off the parts of the company it doesn’t want. This new company will then find a bidder to acquire it. The separate company will not have any active games, but will have some in the pipeline, including a game based on Avatar, being developed by their L.A. Studio.

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Yooka-Laylee Launch Date Set, Wii U Version Cancelled

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Good news and bad news! For fans of the Wii U, the console’s death kneel has resulted in the casualty of an upcoming, anticipated title. Luckily for the rest of us and anyone looking to buy the Nintendo Switch, the game is still on for those systems and now has a release date to boot!

Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie developed by some of the same music-loving staff of the original, is now slated to launch on April 11, 2017. The game was funded through Kickstarter in May 2015 to the tune of over $2.6 million.

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VR Gaming Studio Survios Raises Money from MGM

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Raw Data developers Survios has raised $50 million over two new rounds of funding. The company had a Series B round led by Lux Capital and a Series C led by Hollywood giant MGM. Gary Barber, CEO of MGM, will join the board of directors at Survios.

Terms of the deal remain a mystery, but will help Survios “achieve our goal of becoming the leading publisher and content creator in Virtual Reality.”

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Crytek, Makers of Crysis, in Crisis

Crytek, Makers of Crysis, in Crisis

Big news broke this weekend and it’s not okay. In a bit of déjà vu, Crytek is once again in a dire financial situation. (I won’t make the pun, the headline is enough). In 2014, Crytek was having trouble making payroll, with some employees working two months without pay.

The situation then was only solved by a reorganization and downsizing, saving the company from insolvency. The U.S. office (made up of former Vigil Games staff) was shuttered and the U.K office (formerly Free Radical Design) was sold to Deep Silver. The sale also included the rights to Homefront: The Revolution and the studio was renamed Dambuster Studios and continued their work on the game.

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