Game Info

THQ Nordic acquires Elex developer Piranha Bytes

THQ Nordic has announced the acquisition of RPG developer Piranha Bytes. The German studio is known for the Gothic and Risen franchises as well as their most recent title Elex in 2017. The acquisition includes all IP rights and the development studio.

While a purchase price has not been disclosed, the press release states that the price "equals three years of what management’s estimated royalty payments to Piranha for upcoming titles would have been, if the acquisition had not occurred."

The press release also states that Piranha will remain an independent game development studio under the newly formed entity Piranha Bytes GmbH.

From 'Elex'

THQ Nordic previously partnered with Piranha Bytes as the publisher for Elex. It's also worth noting that the publisher for the Risen titles, Deep Silver, was also acquired by THQ Nordic in February 2018. The original Gothic was also published in Europe by the original THQ back in 2001, so in a way things have seemingly come full circle.

The press release in full is posted below.

THQ Nordic acquires legendary game studio Piranha Bytes

THQ Nordic AB (publ) is today announcing the acquisition of the assets belonging to the group of companies doing business as Piranha Bytes (“Piranha”). Piranha is the developer behind the critically acclaimed game series Gothic ®, Risen® and ELEX® and is a long-term developing partner to THQ Nordic. Through the acquisition THQ Nordic adds a strong portfolio of existing intellectual properties (IPs) and an exciting new game pipeline.

The acquisition includes the development studio and all IP rights. The parties have agreed upon not disclosing the purchase price. However, the purchase price equals c. three years of what management’s estimated royalty payments to Piranha for upcoming titles would have been, if the acquisition had not occurred.

“Piranha Bytes is one of the most iconic german game studios and the creators of RPG´s Gothic, Risen and, more recently, ELEX. The three strong IPs have proven successful and will be great additions to our portfolio. We look forward bringing Piranha team into the family which has received legendary status across the RPG community as their fanbase cherishes their current games and eagerly anticipates their new titles in the future”, says Lars Wingefors, Group-CEO THQ Nordic AB (publ).

Piranha, which was founded in 1997, is best known for its successful development of action role-playing PC/Console games with atmospheric open worlds. The current version of Piranha was formed in 2002 when the current owners acquired the studio. The studio is located in Essen, Germany, with approximately 31 full time employees.

Both THQ Nordic and Koch Media have a long-standing relationship with Piranha with both having acted as the studio’s publisher for all three major titles. The original relationship with Piranha was established in 2002. Piranha will remain an independent game development studio under the newly formed entity Piranha Bytes GmbH. 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. Piranha will continue to be led by CEO Michael Rüve and Head of Games Björn Pankratz. All active owners will remain in their current roles.

“We have a successful and long-standing relationship with THQ Nordic and are very excited to join the group. THQ Nordic has unparalleled experience and capabilities in games development and publishing, and we are convinced they are the perfect partner to support Piranha in taking the studio to the next level. We see a unique opportunity to continue to develop great, memorable and impactful RPG games, now being part of the THQ Nordic family”, says Michael Rüve, CEO Piranha Bytes. 

Background and rationale

THQ Nordic has a clear growth strategy and a long and successful history of acquiring game franchises and development studios. The acquisition of Piranha builds upon THQ Nordic’s strong footprint in Germany with a renowned studio, along with commercially established titles, which is in line with the long-term growth strategy.

THQ Nordic will support the future growth of Piranha and strongly believes that the studio has an excellent opportunity to build further upon its existing titles as well as to create new IP based on Piranha’s unique proprietary game engine and decades of experience in their niche. 

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