Rather than replacing either studio, Thunderful will operate more as a label. The newly-created official Thunderful website describes the new entity as "a limited liability company that will wholly own Image & Form and Zoink".
The same website clarifies that Image & Form and Zoink "will continue to develop games with existing and new IPs under their respective labels".
The merging of the two companies is not entirely a surprise, as they have collaborated closely in the past. Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson, speaking on the Thunderful website, said Image & Form and Zoink "already work together on a daily basis in PR, marketing, intelligence and publishing". Both developers are based in Sweden, and both were already owned by Bergsala Holding before this merger.
Both studios are well-known for creating idiosyncratic indie games with striking, unique visual styles. Image & Form is perhaps best known for the SteamWorld titles, including Dig, Heist and the recently released Dig 2. Zoink, meanwhile, made a name for itself with 2014's point-and-click puzzler Stick It To The Man, as well as 4-player co-op brawler Zombie Vikings. Sigurgeirsson hopes the creation of Thunderful will enable the studios to "launch bigger, more ambitious game projects".
Zoink is currently working on Fe, an action-adventure game published by EA. The game sees players take control of a fox-like creature navigating a forest, battling the hostile "Silent Ones". The game will be released for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in February 2018. The creation of Thunderful doesn't appear to have interfered with this development at all. Image & Form, meanwhile, is currently gearing up to release the original SteamWorld Dig on Nintendo Switch in February.
You can check out TR's review of Image & Form's SteamWorld Dig 2 here.
Looking forward to seeing what Thunderful does next? Big fan of Image & Form or Zoink? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!