Atari, the stumbling veteran gaming company, is buying Nightdive Studios, the company responsible for the forthcoming System Shock remake, as well as a raft of other retro renovations including Turok, Shadow Man and PowerSlave. The deal is worth $10 million (half payable in Atari shares), and the acquisition is expected to complete by the end of April.
It’s not surprising that Nightdive would want to sell to a larger and more wealthy business. What’s surprising is that they’ve not sold to, say, Embracer Group, whose efforts to purchase every double A studio in the world are ongoing. After all, Atari’s recent business ventures haven’t driven a great deal of consumer enthusiasm: its Atari VCS console was dismal, its NFT side project depressing, and while its flagship hotel admittedly looks cool, it is very much not a videogame. Credit where it’s due, though: Llamasoft’s recent Atari-published game looks great.
Still, dearth of goodwill notwithstanding, welcoming Nightdive to its roster makes sense for Atari at least, which is very much focused on retro-oriented titles. Atari CEO Wade Rosen says as much in his statement: “Night Dive’s proven expertise and successful track record in commercializing retro IP is well-aligned with Atari’s strategy and I am confident that their combined talent, technology and IP portfolio will contribute to Atari’s future success.”
Nightdive heads Stephen Kick and Larry Kuperman echoed the enthusiasm in their own prepared statement, of course, but when the official Nightdive Twitter account tweeted the news, responses wavered between condemnation and grief. Still, maybe now they’ll have the money to patch Blood. “I sold Nightdive just so we could patch Blood,” Stephen Kick tweeted (opens in new tab).
In addition to the $10 million above, Nightdive stands to gain an additional $10 million over the next three years “based on future performance”. It seems pretty cheap: for reference, Embracer Group bought Tarsier Studios (Little Nightmares) in 2019 for only $500,000 more. System Shock will be released on May 30, and is published by Prime Matter.