French videogame developer and publisher Quantic Dream – the studio behind the upcoming Star Wars Eclipse and classics such as Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human – has been acquired by the Chinese game publisher and internet company NetEase.
“We had acquisition discussions on several occasions during the past 25 years,” Co-CEO David Cage tells GamesBeat. “But as none guaranteed our editorial independence, we decided to pass on these opportunities and continue as an independent studio.”
However, in recent years we’ve seen companies like Microsoft gobble up industry-behemoths like Bethesda, and it seems even larger studios want the backing of a big company in the current climate. “Our industry is undergoing a profound mutation through a wave of acquisitions of studios and publishers,” Cage continues. “For studios, this represents a paradigm shift as our central position in the industry and our contribution to the value chain are now more correctly valued. Consequently, in the recent past, we received several offers meeting our expectations.”
Quantic Dream has come under fire for allegations of fostering a toxic work environment, but this seemingly hasn’t hampered the deal between the two companies. “Everyone familiar with Quantic Dream, its management and our team perfectly knows what to think of these allegations,” Co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière tells GI Biz. “As a shareholder who had already audited our studio in late 2018, who had assessed all material elements and had followed all litigation outcomes, NetEase had a very clear view and could easily assess the absence of any material basis of these claims. They had thereby no impact on our discussions.”
Earlier in the year, NetEase funded the creation of Nagoshi Studio, which is headed up by Sega veteran and Yakuza developer Toshihiro Nagoshi. The Chinese company took a back seat and let the new studio’s creativity take precedence, and it seems to be doing the same with the acquisition of Quantic Dream.