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Piranha Bytes acquired by THQ Nordic

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Piranha Bytes acquired by THQ Nordic

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 May 2019, 22:57:25

Tags: Piranha Bytes; THQ Nordic

Piranha Bytes, the veteran German RPG studio known for the Gothic series, the Risen series and recent cult favorite ELEX, are the latest developer to join THQ Nordic's ever-expanding empire. It's a dramatic moment for a studio that's been around since 1997 and whose early games have long been a part of the Codex canon of truly great RPGs. Perhaps that's why the press release on THQ Nordic's website has more of a personal touch than the usual. I quote:

Vienna/AUSTRIA, Essen/GERMANY, May 22nd, 2019 - THQ Nordic today announced that the acquisition of the Piranha Bytes team and trademark and the intellectual property Gothic has been finalised. Piranha Bytes' rights to Risen and ELEXwere also acquired.

“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.” John F. Kennedy (1961)

Although statements like the following should not be done within the context of a press release, we still do it:

All of us here at THQ Nordic welcome every single member of the Piranha Bytes team to our family. We already had our fair share of laughter (well, every time we meet in person), fun (conventions, Christmas- and Summer parties, or karaoke singing), tears (when the wrong person hits the karaoke stage), and sweat (Batman cosplay @Gamescom 2018 comes to mind) together, and from now on it is in an officially joint capacity as well. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approvals of the committees of Piranha Bytes.

The newly formed entity (Piranha Bytes GmbH, Essen, Germany) will host the entire development team and is a 100% subsidiary of THQ Nordic GmbH, based in Vienna, Austria. As in the past, the team will focus and concentrate on the creation of outstanding and unique RPG gaming experiences, having full creative freedom in doing so, whereas THQ Nordic GmbH will act as Piranha Bytes' publisher, responsible for distribution, marketing and further support.

“There are situations in life where you think to yourself “This feels right.” Well, this is exactly one of them. We have been working on some great and exciting things over the past couple of years and we are extremely stoked about what the future brings with the right partner and the right network of companies”, says Björn Pankratz, Project Director and Game Designer of Piranha Bytes. “After all, we want to continue to create great, memorable, and impactful games with as much creative freedom as possible, and with THQ Nordic we know we are now part of a family, which supports us by all means in our efforts.”


Q: Will there be any changes in personnel at Piranha Bytes (PB)?
A: No.

Q: Will PB change location and move to Vienna?
A: No, what happens in Ruhrpott, stays in Ruhrpott.

Company/legal technicalities
Q: What is the deal, why is there a new company being incorporated?
A: Technically speaking, Pluto 13 GmbH (the former company behind the Piranha Bytes brand) sold the trademarks “Piranha Bytes” and “Gothic” as well as the entire Gothic IP to THQ Nordic AB. The remaining rights of Risen and ELEX, which were in other entities of the Piranha Bytes folks, were also acquired by THQ Nordic AB. In the forefront of the closing of this deal, THQ Nordic GmbH set up a new entity (initially named “THQ Nordic Reserve 1 GmbH”; in the next days renamed to “Piranha Bytes GmbH”). This company is now stepping into the existing employment and service agreements with all personnel and has also acquired the existing office equipment (furniture, hardware, coffee machine).

Intellectual Properties
Q: What about ELEX 2?
A: Semi-official comment: Have a guess.

Q: What does this mean for potential remakes of Gothic and/or Risen?
A: Nothing to say at this stage.
Although ELEX was considered an at least partial return to form, Piranha Bytes have been treading water for years and in retrospect an acquisition was really the obvious way forward for them. It certainly sounds like their next game is ELEX 2, so let's hope this is the beginning of a successful new chapter in their history.

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