Many of THQ’s studios and properties survived the company’s bankruptcy, finding new life at new publishers. Ubisoft saved THQ Montreal, Sega took on Relic, and Koch Media took on Saints Row creator Volition. Vigil Games, sadly, wasn’t so lucky. Having just finished Darksiders II, a game that didn’t light up sales charts in the first place, Vigil was hard at work on a new franchise, but no publisher wanted to take the risk. What’s a studio with a cult following, new ideas, and little marketability to do? Start fresh. Germany’s Crytek opened Crytek USA Corp. in Austin on Tuesday, its first US studio, with much of Vigil’s core staff at the center.
“Crytek has always enjoyed a special relationship with gamers and business partners in North America, so establishing a permanent presence in the US was a natural step,” reads a statement from Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli, “We are extremely excited about the work that we will be undertaking from our strategic new location in Austin, with David Adams and his team of 35 experienced developers.”
David Adams was the general manager of Vigil Games before THQ failed to find a buyer for studio. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the newest Crytek studio, which will boast some of the brightest development talent in the industry.” While Yerli mentioned that Crytek USA has an initial staff of 35 in addition to Adams, not all of them are former Vigil team members.
“We weren’t just looking at Vigil’s team [for staff], but the whole Austin development community,” Yerli told Gamasutra. What will the team be working on? Crytek also bought THQ’s Homefront series, so will Vigil start working on a sequel to that game? “It would be pretty much safe to say that this team will be working on online games… and kick-ass triple-A productions. It is going to be quite a significant investment for Crytek over the next five years.”
Yerli did emphasize that Crytek will not be buying the Darksiders license for Crytek USA to continue development on.
This isn’t the first time that Crytek has saved the remnants of a moderately successful studio with a passionate fan base. Following its dissolution in 2009, Crytek bought what remained of TimeSplitters developer Free Radical after that studio was crippled by canceled projects like Star Wars Battlefront III. Now called Crytek UK, it’s that studio that’s reportedly working on Homefront 2.