Sega Acquire Amplitude, Will Publish Endless Space 2

Sega have acquired Amplitude, creators of the Endless series of strategy games. Endless Legend was our game of the year in 2014 and its predecessor Endless Space is set to receive a direct sequel that will enter Early Access later this year. Sega will now publish that game, as well as assuming responsibility for the back catalogue of Endless games, which includes Dungeon of the Endless, a fantastic tower-defense/roguelike hybrid.

Amplitude are one of the smartest young strategy studios around and they join Creative Assembly, Relic and Sports Interactive (Football Manager is a strategy game) in Sega’s stable of PC developers. That’s a mighty strong line-up for a company that old men like me still associate with ancient consoles and platform games rather than PC publishing.

President/COO for Sega Europe Jurgen Post had this to say:

“To have the opportunity to add a studio with the growing reputation of Amplitude’s, to the SEGA family, is an exciting one and reinforces SEGA Europe’s position as a market leader in publishing high quality PC games. Culturally, Amplitude are a fantastic fit for the business as they not only produce great games, but also have a proven track record in listening to their fans and directly involving them in the ongoing development of their games through their GAMES2GETHER system.”

That GAMES2GETHER system creates a space for players to give early feedback and perhaps explains why Endless Legend’s time in Early Access was so pleasant. Truth be told, I’d all but forgotten it was ever in Early Access, despite playing it for tens of hours before release.

On the Amplitude side, co-founder Mathieu Girard made these comments:

“Joining the SEGA family represents the culmination of five years of hard work from myself and Romain and everyone here at Amplitude Studios. For the Endless series to be alongside PC franchises with such heritage as Total War and Dawn of War in the SEGA Europe stable puts our games where we feel they deserve to be. We look forward to leveraging SEGA Europe’s expertise in the PC market to take the Endless series to the next level.”

For further information, and to direct any questions about the acquisition in Amplitude’s direction, head to this page, where you can already find an initial answer to one burning question:

Of course you could wonder, “Why Sega?” If you were to ask just Mathieu and I, we could easily answer with the words “Creative Assembly and Relic!” because we are HUGE fans of their games. The opportunity to join them is incredible for us, a real dream come true.

But the bigger reason why we wanted to join SEGA was how they treat their internal studios. Often, studios are controlled by a central department that dictates what games they should do, and how and when. But SEGA is a company that offers its support to the creators, positioning itself as a service provider, helping studios to reach their goals with only one objective in mind: Quality!

Only time will tell if Amplitude and Sega will be a good fit, but as someone who is very much looking forward to Endless Space 2, I see no reason to despair or to cheer. If the plan is to allow Amplitude to follow their existing practices, as suggested by the continuation of GAMES2GETHER and an Early Access release, then the acquisition might not have a great deal of impact on current development at all. And it seems unlikely that Sega would want to make this move for one upcoming game and a small but impressive back catalogue, so hopefully it’ll ensure stability for future Endless titles, or whatever else Amplitude decide to turn their talents toward.

But, hey, Sega are one of the biggest strategy publishers on PC. Who’d have thunk it?

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86 Comments

  1. fearandloathing says:

    NO GODDAMMIT NO, JUST NO, PLAIN SIMPLE NO, DAMN WHY IS THIS HAPPENING

    • MrTallShaw says:

      If nothing else, maybe SEGA will give them a good reason to update their UI design aesthetic. It’s just awful.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        That’s curious, their UI is generally praised as being *so* much better than the UI of other 4X games…
        what do you dislike about it?

      • falconne says:

        Wait.. what? Their UI is the best I’ve seen in any 4X game. Do you dislike it because it looks like a phone/tablet UI?

    • fearandloathing says:

      Amazing to see some people openly declaring that they care more about “financial well-being of the developer, than terrible publishing practices”. Why is that? Amplitude is not a studio on the verge of collapse, no. And as a gamer your interest IS getting the best product with the lowest price possible, as long as it keeps devs going. Also make no mistakes, CA was ruined under SEGA, not earlier. It may not be SEGA’s fault, but they surely contributed to it.
      I’m not even a fan of Endless series, but respect Amplitude as a creative&innovative and gamer-friendly developer, so what I see here is just one of the good ones taken over by one of the worst publishers.
      addendum:there was a talk about PDX as a mediocre publisher, just ask Obsidian about that. Their praises for PDX were not simple formalities, they came from ppl who got screwed by publishers, repeatedly.

      • FhnuZoag says:

        If you look at stuff like Arcen, a fairly niche strategy developer like this is literally one poorly-selling game away from collapse.

        Saying that CA was ‘ruined’ under Sega is frankly weird.

        Games made prior to Sega by CA:
        Shogun Total War
        Medieval Total War
        Rome Total War
        Spartan: Total Warrior
        A misc bunch of sports games

  2. Premium User Badge

    Cross says:

    Oh no. Why would a company as brilliant and successful as Amplitude sign up with one of the old guard, pre-order culture munching bastard publishers. WHY!?

  3. trashmyego says:

    Well, this is some truly depressing gaming news. I mean, I love Amplitude and am happy they’re getting some pay off for their work… but why SEGA of all people? Why a company I avoid like the plague? Why did one of the few developers I will throw money at for anything, any DLC, on the day it’s released whether I’ll be playing it anytime soon or not, have to shack up with that horror show?

    Fuck. Almost all my enthusiasm for Endless Space 2 just vanished into thin air. I hate this, so much.

    • Don Reba says:

      Why would you avoid SEGA?

      • trashmyego says:

        The long history of failures along with their recent practices when it comes to publishing. The abandonment of two consoles back to back kinda kicks things off. And from there it’s just the string of franchises driven into the ground. A continuous pattern of financial failure, restructuring, and brand disorder. The company can’t ever seem to stay on its feet.

        On top of this it’s also the lack of a lot of things existing. Like a good sonic game. Like a western release of Phantasy Star Online 2. Like anything coming out of the company that isn’t them publishing a grounded studio’s work. And then there’s the publishing patterns. Pre-order exclusives, rampant DLC, and just the general decline or stagnation of Total War and Relic games when surrounded by this (especially Relic).

        I guess a lot of it is trust. I can’t with them. At every major failure they have had, they were never without the tools, content, games, and hardware to succeed. But they always collapsed. And now, when they don’t really offer much of anything themselves, they continue to snatch up strategy developers for god knows what reason.

        • FhnuZoag says:

          The stagnation of Relic was entirely under THQ, what with Company of Heroes Online, GFWL in DoWII, the broken multiplayer balance in COH, the loss of the Homeworld rights, and the shaky development of CoH2 and the state that was at release. I’d say that under Sega, Relic have recovered somewhat. Ardennes Offensive is generally praised, and reception on DoW 3 seems very positive? The British forces seem better balanced this time round, from what I hear.

          Sega actually seem on a roll lately when it comes to strategy games. Much of their recent releases have had a positive reception. In addition to the post-THQ relic stuff, we have Alien Isolation, Total Warhammer, Attila…

        • Don Reba says:

          Actually, the recent Sonic Generations is the best entry in the series, you can hardly ask more of it. And I have a great deal of respect for SEGA due to the effort it put into its last consoles, and especially the Dreamcast.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Specifically, the parts in Sonic Generations which are styled after the older/earlier Sonic rather than the newer/later Sonic games were the best in ages and Sonic Team should have taken a hint from fan feedback.

            In fact they now have a good story reason to change things now that time-travel rules have been invoked, not that Sonic has ever had a story that stayed straight or mattered: Robotnik or Eggman? Mobius or Earth? Why are there humans now when there weren’t twenty years ago besides my nemesis who looks like Mario’s dirty uncle? Because Sonic can look at his future self and see “Ok, I gotta avoid that: keep my mouth shut, get some better friends and groom my spines properly”.

          • Don Reba says:

            I loved the Adventure 1 and 2 games, well, the running parts, and Generations nails that, too. The story in Sonic has always been about on par with Mass Effect’s central plot — just a bit of theatre to tie the action parts together. :)

      • godunow says:

        Terrible DLC strategy for Total War and Company of Heroes series.

  4. Ugubriat says:

    REALLY HOPING the shpiel about Sega supporting rather than controlling their internal studios is true. The Endless series has been a total joy over the past few years. I was really looking forward to Endless Space 2 and I’m hoping against hope this corporate acquisition isn’t the death knell for Amplitude’s brilliance.

  5. zheff says:

    Two words: financial stability. And it doesn’t look like Creative Assembly or Relic have suffered with Sega.

    • Earl-Grey says:

      Exactly, I don’t understand the uproar further up in the comment section.

      • Ur-Quan says:

        Chaos as preorder DLC? Rome2 getting rushed out of the door?

        • Mokinokaro says:

          Agreed on the Chaos thing, though at least they changed it after.

          Rome 2 followed the pattern of a lot of CA’s later Total War games though. They have a history of releasing too early (remember Empire and Napolean’s release states?) and patching up later. Warhammer was an exception to the rule for them.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Yes but all of those releases were under Sega. Medieval 2 was published by Sega, but Sega did not own CA at the time and as a result it was not a horrible rushed mess, patches were fairly swift and it’s fondly remembered.

            Empire was the first TW release after Sega bought CA and the result was the first unarguably rushed CA game and we know it was Sega who insisted on the Feb 2009 release and wouldn’t listen to reason. A dev post later explains that Sega is CA’s ‘most important customer’ and this pretty much describes CA’s relationship with Sega for the next seven years up to this point.

          • klops says:

            Medieval 2’s AI couldn’t use ships during the first months in the campaign map. The siege battles were Total Crap because the AI was so incompetent.

            Felt like rushed mess to me but bad AI seems to be the trademark of Total War games. For some reason people don’t seem to care so I dunno. It was very pretty, though.

      • trashmyego says:

        Maybe it has to do with the problem that financial stability and SEGA are two things that have never been in the same sentence together since the 90s?

        • frightlever says:

          Once they ditched hardware Sega have been fine financially.

          What gets me is that on the one hand they have a pretty successful pachinko business, and on the other they have a large PC games business, either one of which makes them more money than console game sales.

          • frightlever says:

            (CONSOLE hardware, obviously).

          • trashmyego says:

            The layoffs, downsizing, and full restructuring three years kinda throws a wrench in that statement.

          • frightlever says:

            Hold on, are we talking about financial stability, or keeping people employed? You make layoffs to remain profitable. They went through the same periods of uncertainty that affected everyone else in the industry, and restructured when they had to. They’re like Microsoft, their stock price just plods along year after year.

            You act as if Sega are at risk of collapsing. They absolutely are not. I’d actually be far more concerned if Microsoft or EA was buying Amplitude.

      • Earl-Grey says:

        I suppose it would be dreary if(when, possibly) Sega force preorder DLC incentives and DLC galore down our throats.

        But for Amplitude this is a stable paycheck, food on the table.
        And I care far more for the developers’ financial stability than nefarious publishing practices.

        • trashmyego says:

          That doesn’t make it any less sad when my continued support of a developer I love might get interrupted because of my inability to support nefarious publishing practices. I’m all for them getting paid, but not like this… not like this.

          • Earl-Grey says:

            It seems some of you have very few matters of import to deal with.

        • DThor says:

          Well, yeah, this is happening all over, and some might argue it’s ultimately the reason someone starts a studio – to be financially successful. It’s pretty damned hard, and rare, to have a Minecraft success story. Still makes me sad, since flushing with cash rarely results in something getting better, instead it means you need to feed the machine. I can’t hold it against the team, though. Just hoping they maintain the freedom to turn out more awesome.

      • Chillicothe says:

        You’d think it’d be fans of original Japanese-as-hell Sega lamenting the lack of new Virtua Fighter/Valkyria Chronicles/etc or Atlus PC ports.

    • Sakkura says:

      The decline of the Total War series started soon after Sega bought CA. The Relic takeover is too recent to really see a long-term trend.

      • FhnuZoag says:

        What decline of the Total War series? There was literally only one modern-form (3d units, armies moving on the campaign map) Total War game before Sega.

        The Total War series as we know it has been essentially entirely brought up under Sega. Besides, Total Warhammer is great.

        Creative Assembly and Amplitude have the exact same DLC strategy.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Decline? Okay, here’s some decline for ‘ya. Who do you think was the driving force behind releasing Rome 2 six months before it was ready, so it could hit a holiday season release date? CA or Sega? None of the pre-Sega games by CA were perfect on release, but they weren’t disasters like Rome 2 either. And it was entirely due to be released way too early. That’s usually a publisher-driven decision.

          CA never split out faction packs as DLC that should have been in the core game before Sega either.

          If Endless Space 2 has a core race like The Horatio that can only be had as a pre-release perk, or a DLC faction, then we’ll know they’re heading in the same direction. I’m hoping Amplitude has enough spine to resist that kind of marketing, but only time will tell.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            Yeah, let’s conveniently forget that Endless Space had an extra race available only with the higher-price tier of the original game. Oh, and so did Endless Legend. Oh yeah, so did Dungeon of the Endless.

            This isn’t something that ONLY publishers are guilty of. Get at grip.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            More a modification of an existing race than a full new one with ES & EL.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            True enough, and in the realm of the argument that’s apparently being made by the “SEGA ruins everything” crowd, that’s arguably just as bad and possibly worse, because it’s a change that has no major affect on gameplay or experience and costs $5-$10 more.

            This whole thread is just stupid.

  6. Jay Load says:

    …I’m shocked to hear people unhappy about this. I genuinely wasn’t aware Sega had such a bad rep.

    I’m looking forward to Endless Space 2 but it’s a huge ball of nothing more than potential at the moment. I’m eager to start seeing some details so I can start working out if it’s a product I’ll want to play.

    • Arathorn says:

      I’m not sure if SEGA really has a bad rep. A couple of people are screaming mad about it, but not more than the usual internet rage (and maybe even less than usual).

      SEGA seems to be a pretty hands-off publisher. They aren’t huge, but stable enough to be able to ensure Amplitude’s future.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Being hands off seems to be common among Japanese publishers when it comes to their western studios.

        I’ve heard Square Enix pretty much lets their western devs do their own thing too.

        • anHorse says:

          Well that’s horeshit about SE, given that they’re the ones who forced Hitman to be cut into pieces to try and make more cash

          • Mokinokaro says:

            Except that’s been the one exception and was likely triggered by Absolution’s sales.

            Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and the Sleeping Dog devs have all talked about how Square leaves them to their own devices.

          • anHorse says:

            Left Sleeping Dogs to their own devices so much that they forced out an awful f2p sequel
            Left Tomb Raider alone so much that it has forced in multiplayer and fucking trading cards in the sequel

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        We are talking about the notoriously risk-averse and conservative Sega Sammy Limited, who forced the early releases for both Empire and Rome 2.

        And when talking about Sega and CA, it is not right to include Medieval 2 as a game that came about when CA was under Sega- they did not own CA then, they only published the game, so they weren’t in such a strong position to ruin it.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I think it is safe to assume that any game company has people who hate them for whatever reason.

      • Emeraude says:

        I think it’s more than probably true for any big enough company. Period.

  7. leeder krenon says:

    some people who make good games just got paid. good for them, well deserved.

    • klops says:

      That’s how I felt. But I’m not very into how Sega works, so I’m not trying to disgree with the horrfied people here.

  8. Haplo says:

    Some of my favourite game franchises are the Total War series (Creative), the Dawn of War series (Relic), Persona (Atlus) and of course Endless Legend was great. Now all of these are subordinate to Sega.

    Not really too worried despite the near-apocalyptic attitude some of my friends had around the time Atlus fell under Sega’s grasp. It is kinda odd though how, as Adam sorta says, one company I usually associated with the games of Yesteryear is now determined to acquire many of my favourite franchises. If they ever obtained Paradox…

    • trashmyego says:

      Thankfully Paradox is a publisher in their own right and likely too large for acquisition by SEGA. Anyway, it’d need to be done publicly since Paradox went that route. And Tencent’s apparent interest in Paradox’s future probably means they’d do everything in their power not to let that happen. I wish Amplitude had joined the Paradox family… :(

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Paradox unfortunately has a very mixed track record as a publisher. The stuff they actually make is great but they did bring us Sword of the Stars 2.

  9. frightlever says:

    Amplitude are a pretty small studio aren’t they? Seems risky to buy up a studio which is really about a couple or three core people. Perhaps I’m just jaded after watching that Kim Possible series about Molyneux.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      IIRC they are a mid-sized studio now, with a couple dozen people at least…

    • zheff says:

      Actually over 50 now.

      • frightlever says:

        Hah. Even more Molyneux parallels.

        FWIW, I’d call fifty employees and one game franchise, pretty small.

        I really didn’t like Endless Space, and there was a bunch of bullshit around the DLC they released for it, so there’s a certain amount of lingering resentment here.

        • yusefsmith says:

          Well, the Endless universe has at least 2 viable franchises.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            Depending on what you call “viable”, Molyneux has 5 of them with Dungeon Keeper, Fable, Populous, Theme Park/Hospital and Black&White…

        • BlueTemplar says:

          What’s the median size of a game developer studio?

        • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

          Interesting that one franchise should make a studio small, given Polyphony digital, Infinity Ward and Vicarious exist.

        • causticnl says:

          what DLC problems? you’re just making stuff up now, to fuel your rage.

          • frightlever says:

            Huh? When the DLC came out for Endless Space it was only discounted as a bundle with the original game, for years. You could never pick up the DLC on sale if you already owned the game. It was a shitty move.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            You have a curious definition of “never” :
            link to isthereanydeal.com

  10. Abacus says:

    I have mixed feelings about SEGA but I will instead look at this as being one step closer to getting the Endless-universe RPG I’ve always wanted.

    • frightlever says:

      Always?

      And, why?

      Maybe you secretly want a Master of Orion universe RPG, but never realised.

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    basilisk says:

    Can’t believe I’m the first one to applaud the excellent choice of header picture. Well done.

  12. Vacuity729 says:

    Endless Space 2 is probably far enough along in things that this won’t change the end result so much, but I now assume that Endless Legend 2 will launch with three playable factions, with every other faction unlocked by paid DLC. Some of which will be day one.

    Yay…

    • frightlever says:

      TW Attila has 8 pieces of DLC, two of which are significant. Endless Legend has 6 (so far) – no idea how significant they are, but at least some seem to be unit packs.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        Of the EL dlc, one is an upgrade to the CE that adds mostly cosmetics, another adds music.

        The three bigger dlcs (guardians, shadows and shifters) are basically small expansion packs that add new factions and gameplay features and are pretty good bargains at their asking price.

  13. xfstef says:

    Another one bites the dust.

    I mean the guys from Amplitude probably got nicely paid but they their best days are now surely behind. Every corporation looks after their profits first and art and the employees second. The way that Amplitude made their games won’t stick with SEGA. I give them max two years before someone big from Amplitude quits or the whole company just goes under.

  14. Askis says:

    Of those 6, one is a free upgrade and of the remaining 5, two are significant additions (Shadows, Shifters) with a new race each and additions/changes to existing mechanics.
    Guardians adds some new units, buildings and quests, but can probably be skipped.

    • Askis says:

      This was supposed to be a reply to frightlever above…

      • frightlever says:

        Yeah, my point being that Amplitude was already on the DLC bandwagon long before this deal was a gleam in anybody’s beady eye. One man’s “new race” is another man’s “playable faction”.

  15. Turkey says:

    “Welcome to the Sega family. Here’s your complimentary brick of cocaine.”

  16. harley9699 says:

    This answer “B£cau$€” at the top was a great answer. Now, I love Amplitude games and am very glad that they’ll have (supposedly) more financial stability. Good for them. Unfortunately, as a player and consumer, I can only see their games go into the toilet due to Sega’s business practices and history. Hopefully, ES 2 is far enough along to not get butchered too badly, but any game after that…….it’ll be interesting (and a crapshoot) to see if they too succumb to the Sega perils of cranking out broken, mainstream shit like TW.

  17. Frank says:

    Seriously, angry internet people, DLC is your worst complaint? Get over it.

    I’m with the Amplitude guy, happy to see the Endless series elevated to the level of Total War and Relic’s work. I see this as SEGA making a big bet on turn-based strategy, which is great. Oh, and I’m happy to see them getting paid.

    • Emeraude says:

      Seriously, angry internet people, DLC is your worst complaint? Get over it.

      No it’s not, which doesn’t in any way invalidate the concern for those that have it, so no they won’t. Now get over it.

      Can’t say I have much care for Amplitude myself….

  18. Yachmenev says:

    SEGA is the best choice, if they were to acquired by any. They have own Sports Interactive, Creative Assembly and Relic for years, and have let them continue to make niche PC only (CA has done some console games, but still mostly PC) games. That’s pretty much what we can ask from them.

    My only worry about this is Denuvo will be forced on them.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Benratha says:

    No-one thought that “Total Endless Sonic War” could be a thing?

  20. BathroomCitizen says:

    Sega’s not so bad as other publishers.

    Though I don’t really care — I feel a bit cold about Endless Legend (the only Amplitude game I tried), and one of the few cases where I didn’t agree with RPS when they showered it in praise.

    In that regard I agreed with John.

  21. Sargonite says:

    I worked at a Sega studio for a bit, and from what I saw, I think there’s something that the people worried here need to understand: Sega is pretty hands-off. That DLC you’re all worried about? It’s not because of Sega – it’s because of the huge success of MOBAs and Blizzard games (which a lot of game devs play avidly in their lunch breaks and at home), and the obscene money generated by microtransaction-driven mobile games.

    And those bugs in those games? Yeah, these are incredibly complex games built on creaky engines that are very, very expensive to replace with entirely new tech. Bugs are par for the course – just like you’d see with Bethesda games, or the new XCOM’s launch issues, and so on.

    I’m not worried about Amplitude, or indeed Relic or Creative Assembly – they’re not being coerced, they’re just trying to find their feet in a changing games economy. I think Amplitude’s close ties to players will be especially valuable here.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      Both Empire and Rome 2 were released long before they were done at Sega’s insistence. There are different ways of being ‘hands-off’ and different ways of exerting control freakery, Sega have a track record of doing both.

      • CptPlanet says:

        Sounds like you are paranoid. SEGA publishes some of the most prominent strategy games today, it is only natural Amplitude will enter their umbrella.