No Rest for the Wicked Developer Reveals Why It Won't Sell to a Big Publisher

The Moon Studios CEO says closures at Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin are the reason.

This morning, Xbox made major waves when it announced the closures of several studios, including Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks. The move has been met with a lot of shock throughout the video game industry, from both the developers that worked at these companies, as well as those at other studios. Moon Studios CEO Thomas Mahler jumped in on the conversation, with some harsh words about the acquisition culture that has taken over the video game industry over the last few years. Mahler said that today's events are the reason "why we didn't allow Moon Studios to get acquired by a big publisher." 

"I've lived through the 90s and saw what happened when smaller studios got acquired by EA," Mahler wrote on Twitter. "Never again."

The Video Game Industry's Acquisition Problem

Over the last few years, a number of smaller studios have been gobbled up by bigger companies, such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Embracer. Unfortunately, these acquisitions have led to a steady stream of lay-offs and studio closures. Mahler is very much justified in his hesitation to sell to a bigger studio, but unfortunately, employees at these companies don't have any say in those kinds of decisions. There are plenty of people at Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks that didn't get a vote on any of these acquisitions and are now out of work. 

In a follow-up Tweet, Mahler tagged both Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, inviting the former employees of these studios to apply for positions at Moon Studios. It remains to be seen whether anyone will take him up on this offer, but hopefully this will lead to at least some developers finding a new place of business. 

What Games Has Moon Studios Worked on?

Clearly, the decision to remain independent has worked out for Moon Studios! The developer has released several critically and financially successful games over the last few years, including Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Last month, Moon Studios released No Rest for the Wicked in early access on Steam. The game is currently planned for Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, but won't be released on consoles until after the early access period has come to an end

It's somewhat unsurprising to see Mahler weighing in on today's events. The Moon Studios CEO has often been outspoken about a number of different trends in the video game industry, and that hasn't been limited to the current acquisition craze. Following the release of Cyberpunk 2077, Mahler had a number of harsh words to share about the game's status at launch as well as other games that failed to deliver on their pre-release hype, including No Man's Sky. In 2021, Mahler called CD Projekt Red and Hello Games "snake oil salesmen" and accused them of telling "tall tales that held absolutely no substance." 

Are you happy that Moon Studios has resisted acquisition offers? Do you wish more video game developers would stay independent? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!