Private Division, the indie publishing arm of gaming giant Take-Two Interactive, has announced that it will be publishing new games by four indie studios. These include studios staffed by Sonic Mania creator Christian Whitehead and Dragon Age mastermind Mike Laidlaw, among others.
Who are the four new studios Private Division is working with?
This news comes via the official Private Division website. In a post on the site, Private Division reveals that it's signed a publishing agreement with four studios: Die Gute Fabrik, Evening Star, Piccolo Studio, and Yellow Brick Games. You might have heard of some of the people involved in these studios; Evening Star is a studio made up of Sonic Mania developers and staffers, while Yellow Brick Games was founded by Dragon Age: Origins lead writer Mike Laidlaw.
The other two studios are perhaps a little less well-known. You might have heard Die Gute Fabrik's name from "mutant soap opera" Mutazione or manic multiplayer sports game Sportsfriends. Piccolo, meanwhile, created the rather lovely Arise: A Simple Story, which launched back in December 2019. Both Evening Star and Yellow Brick have yet to publish games, but both studios will have their debut titles published by Private Division, although the publisher says it doesn't expect any of these games to launch "until Take-Two's fiscal year 2024".
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Private Division's production VP Allen Murray and marketing VP Tom Bass say the publisher considers the future of gaming talent to be "very small developers". That's not to say Private Division is above working with AAA veterans like those in Yellow Brick Games, but the studio wants to "take on a lot more risks" and make games that don't necessarily have astronomical AAA budgets. There's a good chance we could see at least some of these new titles on Game Pass on day one, too; Murray says that Game Pass is a "very smart move" for smaller developers, and that it helps them reach profitability quickly.
What could Private Division's upcoming collaborations with these studios be?
We already know what Evening Star is working on; it's creating a 3D platformer using its proprietary Star Engine, and this is the game Private Division will publish. Yellow Brick Games is, according to Private Division, working on an "ambitious new action RPG", which makes sense given Laidlaw's involvement. As you might expect from Die Gute Fabrik given its prior work with Mutazione, its collaboration with Private Division will be a story-driven title of some kind, while Piccolo is remaining tight-lipped, merely confirming that it's creating a new IP.
It makes sense for Private Division to be taking a few risks at the moment. Its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, recently bought out mobile giant Zynga for $12.7 billion, which was the biggest gaming deal in history until Microsoft swept in just over a week later and bought Activision Blizzard. Still, $12.7 billion is a staggering amount of money, demonstrating that Take-Two has the cash to invest in up-and-coming indie titles like the ones its indie wing will be publishing. We'll bring you more on these games as soon as we get it.