38 Studios has acquired Rise of Nations developer Big Huge Games from publisher THQ. In the transaction, the Massachusetts-based developer-publisher receives all of Big Huge's IP, tools, assets, tech and all its projects in development.
The financial terms weren't disclosed, but 38 Studios calls the move "a critical step" in its strategy to build entertainment properties around its original fantasy IP, Copernicus. The remaining Big Huge Games team -- which had already gone through more than one round of layoffs under THQ -- will remain in its Timonium, Maryland home, but will be integrated into 38 studios.
"The acquisition of Big Huge Games will be tremendously beneficial to the growth, market position, financial stability, and long-term success of 38 Studios," says 38 Studios president and CEO Brett Close.
The crux of the acquisition was apparently Big Huge's proprietary RTS/RPG engine, which Close says will "accelerate" development for the online game based on the Copernicus IP. But he notes the engine will also support development in "multiple genres that are based in a shared world."
Veteran developers Brian Reynolds, Jason Coleman, Dave Inscore, and Tim Train founded Big Huge Games in 2000, and have enjoyed the involvement of Oblivion and Morrowind co-creator Ken Rolston along the way. Its last-released project was the Xbox Live version of board game Catan, and the studio has an unnamed RPG in the works for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.
In April of this year, THQ applied major layoffs to the studio as part of widespread cost-cutting initiatives across all of its studios. At the time, THQ said the studio would be closed if it couldn't find a buyer.
"Big Huge Games and 38 Studios share a common vision – to deliver the most engaging, compelling, original experiences possible," says Big Huge CEO Tim Train. "Joining the 38 Studios family allows us to continue translating our passions into great games."