Microsoft Acquires Five Studios; Including Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Ninja Theory and State of Decay’s Undead Labs

Industry giants like Microsoft are always on the lookout for talented young studios, and during their conference, they announced the acquisition of five talented and promising studios.

Microsoft revealed the acquisition of the five studios; State of Decay 2’s Undead Labs, Playground Games, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’s Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games, as well as forming their own studio, called The Initiative. Microsoft Studios’ Vice President Matt Booty expressed his excitement over the potential titles coming from these developers on to the studio’s Xbox One console.

The original games we create at Microsoft Studios are some of our biggest assets. Our growth strategy is to continue to expand the worlds that players love while developing all-new exclusive games that deepen their engagement with our platform. We are thrilled to welcome five new studios into the Microsoft family. We believe these teams have the collective creative power and operational excellence to deliver the next industry game changers.

Here is a brief background on each studio, including the newly formed The Initiative.

  • The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., The Initiative is a brand-new Microsoft game development studio headed by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher that is working to create groundbreaking new worlds, characters and game experiences.
  • Playground Games. Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Playground Games, a development partner since 2010 that has helped grow the Forza franchise to new heights. In addition to its work on this year’s Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world expertise to an entirely new project.
  • Ninja Theory. The relationship with Ninja Theory started in 2000 when Kung Fu Chaos was in development for the original Xbox and culminated in the release of Hellblade on Xbox One earlier this year. Microsoft’s intent to acquire Ninja Theory will help ensure the creative team has the resources and freedom to bring more ambitious games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to fans.
  • Undead Labs. Seattle-based Undead Labs is the creator of the popular State of Decay franchise, enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. In the first two weeks since State of Decay 2 launched, more than two million fans joined the fight to survive and took down more than two billion zombies. By entering into a letter of intent to acquire Undead Labs, Microsoft is signaling its commitment to growing the franchise and taking the zombie survival-fantasy genre to new
  • Compulsion Games. As We Happy Few nears its full, multiplatform release on Aug. 10, Microsoft has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Montreal-based Compulsion Games. By joining the team at Microsoft Studios, Compulsion will have the resources, platform and freedom to take even bigger creative risks and create even more ambitious worlds with its future projects.

How much impact will these acquisitions make on future Xbox releases?