Rockstar Games are helping Starbreeze's dire financial situation a little by buying their majority stake in Dhruva Interactive, an Indian art asset outsourcing company who have provided bits for games including Prey, Mortal Kombat 11, and Alien: Isolation. Rocktar are paying $7.9 million (£6m) for Starbreeze's 91.82% of Dhruva shares, which the Swedish crew bought in 2017. Dhruva will become part of Rockstar India and work on Rockstar's games. Lord knows Rockstar have an insatiable need for art to flesh out their open worlds.
Starbreeze paid $7 million in cash and $1.5m in Starbreeze shares for 90.5% of Dhruva, so $7.9m for their current 91.82% isn't too shabby. Starbreeze recently said they might not last another year unless finances pick up so anything's probably welcome. Starbreeze are currently restructuring and refocusing on making games, Payday in particular, to escape their financial difficulties. The company do seem confident that they can recover from the woes partially caused by Overkill's The Walking Dead flopping hard. Starbreeze have put their fingers in some strange pies, from Dhruva to making their own arcade VR headset, so there's a lot they can cut loose to focus their business.
Dhruva have made a few games of their own but most likely all you'll have seen from them is art assets slipped seamlessly into games made by other studios - rocks, trees, weapons, buildings, cars, characters, outfits, assorted world-filling junk, animations, and such. It sounds like Rockstar plan to make more focused use of their talents than Starbreeze, dedicating them to their own games.
"Dhruva Interactive has been a beacon of Indian game development for decades and we are excited to bring them into the Rockstar family," Rockstar India studio manager Daniel Smith said in yesterday's announcement. "The addition of the Dhruva team to the existing talent at Rockstar India will expand the studio's capabilities and reinforces our belief in and commitment to the local development community."
Curiously, Starbreeze's own announcement says that "The buyer wishes to be undisclosed at the time of this announcement but will be communicated as the transaction is finalised." I'm off down the bookies to place a bet on Rockstar.
The deal is still bumping through the pipes, expected to close "in the coming weeks."
Disclosure: I have pals who work at Rockstar because I live in Edinburgh and those people are unavoidable. You could be standing next to a Rockstar employee RIGHT NOW and not even know. Even if you think you're alone at home. DON'T TURN AROUND.