Bigpoint saves Planet Moon game studio with hiring binge

Back in December, the Planet Moon Studios game studio was busy on a big project. During the holidays, the project went kaput, as promised funding fell apart. Planet Moon sued to get its money, but it had to lay off a bunch of workers.

Luckily, an ambitious German game publisher has scooped up all of the employees. Bigpoint said today it hired 37 former Planet Moon developers, doubling the size of Bigpoint’s San Francisco game studio in one fell swoop. The company is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.

This kind of deal isn’t unusual. As traditional game makers find the post-recession environment to be a tough one, online game companies are often coming to the rescue with deals that will keep the developers pumping out online games.

Bigpoint opened its San Francisco office a year ago as part of a plan to get big in the U.S. It has lots of consumers playing its online free-to-play games in Europe and Asia. But it’s trying to crack the North American game market, said chief executive and founder Heiko Hubertz.

Planet Moon was founded in 1997 by the Shiny Entertainment team that created MDK. It also created critically acclaimed games such as Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Armed & Dangerous, Infected, Smarty Pants, and Drawn to Life: the Next Chapter. It most recently created the Tangled game for Disney. Aaron Loeb, chief executive of Planet Moon, said his company is planning litigation against its former partner, but he is happy so many of Planet Moon’s employees found jobs. Worldwide, Bigpoint has more than 165 million registered users for its games, and it has 700 employees in Germany. Among its hits is Ruined, pictured at top.

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