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Company News Harebrained Schemes acquired by Paradox Interactive

Infinitron

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Tags: BattleTech; Fredrik Wester; Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Mitch Gitelman; Paradox Interactive

The Codex doesn't seem to like BattleTech all that much, but despite that (or perhaps because of it?) the game appears to have been quite successful for Harebrained Schemes. So successful in fact, that a month and a half after its release, Paradox have decided to acquire the Seattle-based studio outright for $7.5M. Not bad for a bunch of "mobile devs"! You can watch Jordan and Mitch make the announcement here and read about the terms of the deal here. And here's Paradox's press release:

STOCKHOLM and SEATTLE - June 5, 2018 - Paradox Interactive, a publisher and developer of interactive entertainment, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Harebrained Schemes, LLC, a Seattle-based developer of award-winning games set within genre-defining universes. Harebrained Schemes will now act as an internal studio and division within the Paradox organization, led by its own internal management and creative teams, designing and developing the games that have earned them their outstanding reputation.

Harebrained Schemes was founded in 2011 by industry veterans Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman. Weisman is the creator of many acclaimed game universes including Shadowrun, Crimson Skies, and BattleTech/MechWarrior, and has founded several previous entertainment companies including FASA Corp, Virtual World Entertainment, FASA Interactive, 42 Entertainment, and Wizkids. At Harebrained Schemes, the partners-in-crime assembled a scrappy, talented team and shipped eight titles in seven years including the award-winning Shadowrun Returns series of CRPGs and the recently released turn-based strategy title BATTLETECH, published by Paradox.

“Harebrained Schemes have proven themselves as a world-class studio with a very talented team within a genre where Paradox wants to be present,” said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive. “In addition, we really like the studio, the people who run it, and their games; these are all absolute hard criteria for us in any acquisition. Our recent successful launch of BATTLETECH, our first project together, has been a fantastic collaboration, but the possibilities of what we can do together in the long term now that we’ve joined forces -- that’s what has us truly excited.”

“Mitch and I started Harebrained to create the kind of story-rich tactical games we loved,” said Jordan Weisman, CEO of Harebrained Schemes, “and for the last seven years, our studio has been fueled by our team’s passion and by the generous support of our fans. As the scale of our games has grown and the marketplace has gotten extremely noisy we felt that HBS needed to team up with a company that could provide us the financial stability and marketing expertise that would allow us focus on what we love doing - making great games and stories.”

Mitch Gitelman, Harebrained Schemes’ President, added, “Our experience working with Paradox on BATTLETECH was the best of our careers and proved to us that this was a company we would be proud to be a part of. What’s more, we’ve gotten to experience the incredible audience that Paradox has firsthand: the fans who we met at PDXCON in May after having launched our game were so full of enthusiasm and appreciation. We share a deep respect for our audiences, for healthy and collaborative teams, and for the creative process itself -- the fit just works.”

As a token to welcome all fans of Harebrained Schemes to the Paradox family, Paradox will give a complimentary copy of Stellaris, the sci-fi grand strategy game from Paradox Development Studio, to every player who backed BATTLETECH on Kickstarter. For further details on this new arrangement, Wester and Weisman will appear on a live-streamed presentation and Q&A session in the near future on the Paradox Interactive Twitch channel, found at https://www.twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive.
On their forums, Paradox published a FAQ to explain what this means for Harebrained Schemes going forward:

What will this mean for Paradox and HBS?
Harebrained Schemes will continue to operate with its own internal management and creative teams, designing and developing the games that have earned them their outstanding reputation. HBS and Paradox have a shared vision for where to take narrative rich tactical games. Of course each title will be greenlit via Paradox's publishing process. HBS will continue to have the freedom to creative direct our games and build our player experiences.

In their new role as a division of Paradox Interactive, Harebrained Schemes will gain access to an expert publisher with a strong reputation and a global audience. Paradox will handle finances, marketing, PR, and distribution, and leave the development to HBS. Paradox is bringing HBS on board because they like what the studio is doing, so nobody wants to change that. Fans of Harebrained Schemes can continue to count on the community involvement and visibility that the studio has always provided.

This arrangement came about due to the excellent experience both companies have had while working together on BATTLETECH. Everybody believes this is a great fit.

Is Paradox removing any of the executive team at HBS? Will they be installing new studio managers from their side? Will there be other staffing changes?
All the executives of HBS are remaining at the company in their current roles. There are no plans to install new studio management from Sweden in the HBS offices. The only anticipated staffing changes is that we at HBS are currently hiring for the studio!

Will PDS make games using the HBS IP? Will there be Mechwarriors in Stellaris?
There are no plans for “crossing the streams” at this point.

Will HBS make games using Paradox IP? Could we get a CK2 RPG? Victoria 3 when?
HBS will continue to focus on what it does best which are tactical games with rich stories.

Is HBS going to shift its focus to developing tons of DLC?
We will be supporting BATTLETECH with updates and additional content and we are starting concept development for a new title.
What the FAQ doesn't address is whether Harebrained Schemes will be able to develop additional Shadowrun and BattleTech games in the future. Those two licenses are not in fact "HBS IP" - they belong to Microsoft. Would Microsoft agree to continue licensing them to a rival publisher? Between that, BattleTech's success and the fact that Paradox is fundamentally oriented around publishing strategy games, a new Shadowrun RPG seems less likely than ever. Still, the commitment to "story-rich" tactics is heartening, so I guess we'll see what happens.
 

Infinitron

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Fabulously optimistic to assume that a dev that finally made it big with an XCOM-like was acquired to develop a straight-up RPG. Some kind of "tactical RPG", maybe.
 

imweasel

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Ruh roh!!

They have to sell the company to pay the bills now. Golly gee, I wonder went wrong...

...

Y79GPci.jpg


The SJWism and far-left politics that HBS embraces are cancer
 

DeepOcean

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Fabulously optimistic to assume that a dev that finally made it big with an XCOM-like was acquired to develop a straight-up RPG. Some kind of "tactical RPG", maybe.
If more and more content is aimed at making the tactics part better and the HBS writers write less and less, this is actually a big incline.
 

Deuce Traveler

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As already mentioned, this only makes sense if Paradox feels it can use Harebrained Schemes reputation for recreating tabletop games as a means to acquire a popular license. It would be interesting if they could leverage this in order to get long-term permission to use another tabletop IP license such as D&D, Pathfinder, World of Darkness or even something like a recreation of the Star Wars tabletop game.

Does anyone have a listing of game companies that currently hold rights to IP tabletop games, along with a list of IPs for those tabletop games not currently being held by computer game companies?
 

Country_Gravy

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As already mentioned, this only makes sense if Paradox feels it can use Harebrained Schemes reputation for recreating tabletop games as a means to acquire a popular license. It would be interesting if they could leverage this in order to get long-term permission to use another tabletop IP license such as D&D, Pathfinder, World of Darkness or even something like a recreation of the Star Wars tabletop game.

Does anyone have a listing of game companies that currently hold rights to IP tabletop games, along with a list of IPs for those tabletop games not currently being held by computer game companies?

Of course! I keep it right here.

372-1.png
 

ArchAngel

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As already mentioned, this only makes sense if Paradox feels it can use Harebrained Schemes reputation for recreating tabletop games as a means to acquire a popular license. It would be interesting if they could leverage this in order to get long-term permission to use another tabletop IP license such as D&D, Pathfinder, World of Darkness or even something like a recreation of the Star Wars tabletop game.

Does anyone have a listing of game companies that currently hold rights to IP tabletop games, along with a list of IPs for those tabletop games not currently being held by computer game companies?
I guess you slept through Paradox buying White Wolf few years back.
Nobody holds exclusive D&D licence.
Pathfinder are also letting different companies do games.
 

Jarpie

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7,5 million sounds kinda cheap, I'd think that the studio would've been more valuable.
 

Galdred

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
7,5 million sounds kinda cheap, I'd think that the studio would've been more valuable.
The figure sounded low to me too.
It only covers retirement for one, not for 2.
That said, given the size of their dev team, I wouldn't be surprised by HBS having some prior debt.
 

Infinitron

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I'm far from an expert but I'm thinking it's not necessarily that cheap for a studio that owns no valuable intellectual property.

I agree with this:

Has anyone brought up the possibility that HBS already has another game in the works that Paradox would like to take over?

Don’t forget that HBS is very much a budget dev. They never really overextend themselves budget-wise and if the end product is limited due to this reason then so be it.

Paradox might have seen a game in dev and thought: Hey we can do more with this than HBS ever could.

I dunno. It’s a stretch, sure. But I’m also at a loss as to why they’d want to buy HBS.

EDIT: Also, if Paradox wanted to get into the tactical game space what are its options? Build a studio from scratch? They might feel that would be a waste of time and its worth acquiring HBS to dev tacticool games now while the genre is hot. HBS is basically ready to go in that regard.
 

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