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Twisted Pixel separates from Microsoft, returns to indie development

Developer Twisted Pixel has “returned to its indie roots” this week, announcing that it has split from Microsoft Studios following its 2011 acquisition.

Twisted Pixel notes that it will “remain friends” with Microsoft in the wake of the split, leaving the door open for future collaborations.

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Honored as a finalist in 2009’s Independent Games Festival for its alien life sim The Maw, Twisted Pixel went on to develop several games for Microsoft platforms in the years afterward. Company standouts include the run-and-gun shooter Comic Jumper and Kinect exclusive The Gunstringer, along with the side-scrolling platformer ‘Splosion Man and its sequel, Ms. ‘Splosion Man.

Twisted Pixel made its Xbox One debut in 2013 with LocoCycle, a racing game with full-motion video cutscenes and action elements that borrowed mechanics from arcade beat-’em-ups. Ports for the Xbox 360 and PC were released the following year. The game earned mixed reviews, and Twisted Pixel has yet to announce a new project in the years after its launch.

As part of its “minimally integrated” acquisition terms with Microsoft, Twisted Pixel retained the right to return to independent development as a privately owned studio in Austin, Texas. The studio chose to explore that option in a decision announced this week.

“Microsoft has been an incredible partner since day one and we’ve always kept a background dialog open with them about the idea of returning to an independent studio model if the timing made sense for us,” Twisted Pixel co-founder Josh Bear stated.

Twisted Pixel executive producer Bill Muehl adds: “This transition has been in the works for a few months, with both parties working together to lay the groundwork for us to spin out and become independent again. We’re looking forward to the new relationships and platforms this will open up to us and continuing our strong partnership with Microsoft on future titles for their platforms.”