There we were, being all surprised that Just Cause/Mad Max outfit Avalanche Studios had been handed the reins to Id sequel Rage 2, and now here we are, being all surprised that Avalanche are now owned by a 111-year-old Danish movie studio. Nordisk Film, the world's oldest still-active film production firm, have doled out some $103 million to take control of Avalanche's three offices, but the claim is that the Swedish games studio will retain creative independence. In fact, the plan is to work on more self-published titles, though they don't plan on giving up work for hire just yet.
"This was simply the right offer, at the right time, from the right company," Avalanche boss Pim Holfve told GamesIndustry.biz this morning. "Nordisk Film are also fully committed to our road map, and feel that Avalanche Studios are headed in the right direction, so they don't want to mess with that. Being able to maintain our creative independence, while at the same time being acquired by stable, long-term owners is the best possible scenario." Plus, y'know, a whole lotta wonga in his pocket.
Nordisk Film, established in 1906, making it the fourth-ever film studio in the world, and the oldest still-operational one, does a whole lot more than movies these days, including TV, advertising, gift retailing and game distribution in the Nordic territories. So picking up a big games studio makes a lot of sense for them - in fact, they were already a $10m minority shareholder in Avalanche prior to this acquisition. Note they won't get rights to Just Cause, Mad Max or Rage 2, as all of belong to Square Enix and Bethesda, but they will pick up Avalanche's own theHunter deer/grammar-murder series.
The ol'games-as-service chestnut shows itself here, with Holfve reckoning that theHunter's long tail of DLC, events and community-wrangling will be "a great blueprint for how we think about our self-published games."
Of course, what we all hope is that this doesn't stand in the way of a Just Cause 4 or Mad Max 2. GI.biz note the buy-out won't affect development of Rage 2, and that nu-Avalanche will still be "open for both new publisher partnerships large and small." It would, after all, be heresy for Square Enix to give that grappling hook to anyone else.