Krafton, the South Korean company behind Plunkbat and Tera, today announced that they're buying Unknown Worlds, the studio splendid subaquatic survival sim series Subnautica and the fantastic FPS-RTS hybrid Natural Selection. Huh! The professed plan is for them to keep on as usual, still working on the Subnauticae as well as a mystery game debuting next year.
Krafton (formerly known as Bluehole) say Unknown Worlds will function as an independent studio, with the same structure and same leadership "to retain its unique creative identity." They note that along with ongoing support and updates for Subnautica and frozen follow-up Subnautica: Below Zero, UWE are "currently working on a new genre-defining game, which is slated to launch into early access in 2022."
That new game is a mystery. Unknown Worlds have hinted that they were "looking at new genres" but not said what it actually is.
"It was immediately apparent how closely Unknown Worlds and Krafton are aligned in the way we think about games and game development," Unknown Worlds CEO Charlie Cleveland said in today's announcement. "Subnautica and PUBG both started humbly and evolved successfully through constant iteration and feedback. We want to bring new games to the world stage – and with Krafton, we're a big step closer. We're truly looking forward to our future together."
We've declared the first Subnautica one of the best survival games, and Brendy's Subnautica: Below Zero review called it "the perfect continuation of a series". The game I know and love them best for is Natural Selection, mind. The original Half-Life mod was pretty much the only game I played for several years straight, every night. Parts of those space stations and industrial facilities still lurk in the back of my head, jumbled and disjointed from rebuilds across updates.
Krafton say they "will spare no effort in helping" UWE. "Not only do they enhance our development capabilities, but we share a goal of creating unique experiences for global audiences."
Along with the studio behind Tera, Plunkbat, and Plunkmobile, Krafton own the mobile studios RisingWings and Dreamotion, and Dead Space producer Glen Schofield's Striking Distance Studios. They're currently making The Callisto Protocol, a game which is technically set in the future of the Plunkverse for some baffling reason but does have some Dead Space vibes.
For me, this is the most surprising acquisition since CD Projekt bought the makers of The Flame In The Flood. Though that was only last week? The consolidation of the games industry continues apace.