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?