Game development

Dark Horse Comics acquired by video game giant Embracer Group


Comic book publisher Dark Horse was acquired by Embracer Group, the Sweden-based parent company that includes editing and development studios Gearbox Software, THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, Deep Silver and Coffee Stain Studios. Embracer’s latest acquisition – announced a week after its planned takeover of tabletop gaming giant Asmodee – adds Dark Horse’s library of more than 300 intellectual properties, the company said in a press release on Tuesday.

The purchase of Dark Horse, says Embracer, “strengthens its transmedia capabilities by adding expertise in content development, comic book publishing, and film and television production.”

In addition, there is untapped potential in creating games based on Dark Horse IP and a substantial opportunity for synergies within the Embracer group, both within Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment, ”said Embracer. Group in a press release.

Dark Horse is the third largest comic book publisher in the United States, and its company-owned properties include The mask, cop of time, and Phantom. The comic book publisher also has a long list of licensed properties in its library, including Star Wars, Avatar the Last Airbender, Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Critical Role, as well as series owned by creators like Hellboy and Sin City.

Dark Horse’s business extends beyond comics and includes film and television production company Dark Horse Entertainment (Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy) and the collectibles retailer Things From Another World. According to Embracer Group, Dark Horse has more than 40 entertainment projects in development at Netflix, Amazon, Syfy, Sony, MGM, Universal and Warner Media.

But Dark Horse is just one of five companies that Embracer Group announced its acquisition on Tuesday. The others are:

  • Perfect World Entertainment, publisher of (canceled) Magic: Legends and MMO Never winter and Star Trek online. (The developer of these games, Cryptic Studios, is also part of the deal. Perfect World will operate as a subsidiary of Gearbox Entertainment, “with an ongoing focus on publishing and creating games,” Embracer Group said.)
  • DIGIC, the animation studio responsible for commercial trailers and game cutscenes such as Call of Duty: The Vanguard, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ancient ring, Destiny 2, and Halo 4.
  • Shiver Entertainment, a game co-developer who helped develop Mortal Kombat and Scribblenauts games.
  • Spotfilm Networx, an advertising-based video-on-demand channel network you’ve probably never heard of, unless you’re immersed in the German AVOD scene.

Earlier this year, Embracer Group (formerly known as THQ Nordic AB), announced the acquisition of developer Borderlands Gearbox Software, as well as Aspyr Media (acquired via Saber Interactive) and Easybrain, a developer of mobile games specializing in puzzle and logic games. .

In other words, the giant company that spent most of a decade recruiting publishers and game developers, and their sometimes dormant properties, has grown even more massive. It’s a wave of online consolidation spending with other video game giants, including Tencent (which just bought Back 4 Blood Turtle Rock) and Sony Interactive Entertainment (which acquired Bluepoint Games, Firesprite, Housemarque, Nixxes Software, and Valkyrie Entertainment in 2021).