Officials from Buena Vista Games (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company, have announced that the company has acquired developer Avalanche Software and established a new start-up development studio in Vancouver, Canada.
The moves follows comments made last year
by Disney executives regarding a desire to increase the companyâ€™s investment in game development â€" particularly for handheld consoles. At that time, and in a recent Game Developer magazine interview
, the executives made it clear it was looking for small publishers and developers to partner with or acquire and this is exactly what they have done.
Salt Lake City-based developer Avalanche is currently a relatively low-profile firm - its only prominent recent titles having been Tak and the Power of JuJu
and its sequel for THQ and Dragon Ball Z Sagas: Evolution
for Atari. The company was founded in 1995, and currently has more than 100 employees. It is currently working on the decidedly non Disney-esque 25 to Life
for Eidos, as well as games based on the forthcoming Disney CG film Chicken Little
for BVG itself.
Under the terms of the agreement, the financial details of which were not revealed, Avalanche Software will operate as a division of BVG and will maintain its development studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition, certain of Avalanche Softwareâ€™s senior management and key employees have signed long-term employment agreements with BVG.
The new studio in Vancouver will be led by former Electronic Arts Canada senior development and business staff including Josh Holmes, Daryl Anselmo, Jorge Freitas and former EA Canada CFO Howard Donaldson. The new studio will apparently focus on developing original intellectual property, as well as key BVG-owned content for older core gamers, on next-generation consoles.
"The acquisition of Avalanche Software and the creation of a development studio in Vancouver mark a significant milestone in becoming a top tier video game publisher by securing the industryâ€™s top talent to build and create game franchises," said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games.