Seismic Games has acquired Los Angeles game developer Grue Games as a way to expand into augmented reality and virtual reality games.
Virtual reality software could grow to a $14 billion market by 2020, according to market researcher SuperData Research, but the market is going to bumpy and filled with competition. Seismic is addressing that by amassing more talent.
All told, both Los Angeles-based companies will have a total of 50 employees. Grue’s CEO and former studio head of Beachhead (Activision Blizzard), John Linden, will take on the new role of president. Trey Watkins, Grue’s chief creative officer, will lead the former Grue development teams. They will work closely alongside Seismic’s cofounders Greg Borrud and Eric Gewirtz.
Both studios are recognized for developing recent multi-format hit franchises including Skylanders Battlecast and Clan Wars for Call of Duty. The company and teams will operate under the “Seismic Games” brand.
Leading into the new year, Seismic Games is expanding rapidly and the newly combined studio has two new games based on major movie universes in development for 2017. The company is also collaborating on an original intellectual property VR project.
In addition to mobile and VR gaming, Seismic Games will work on a brand new location-based attraction, to be announced at a later date.
In its expansion, the studio will continue to focus its leadership on releasing mobile 3D games as well as building on new VR / AR technologies including their Element Engine shooter technology.
“The studio merge follows what has been an incredible year for both Grue and Seismic Games,” Linden said in a statement. “It’s very exciting for the team and I to join forces with another like-minded studio who are equally as passionate in innovating and creating high quality games across mobile and VR platforms, with a key focus on taking mixed reality experiences and licensed game properties to the next level. We are very excited about our slate of games over the next few years.”
Founded in 2011, Seismic Games is led by Greg Borrud, a 20-year game veteran who was part of Pandemic Studios, which Electronic Arts bought for $860 million as part of its Bioware Pandemic acquisition in 2007.
“Seismic Games has quickly grown into an independent studio that is at the forefront of creating high production, cutting-edge graphics and compelling multiplayer experiences across mobile and VR,” Borrud said in a statement. “Nurturing talent from both triple-A production and tech start-up backgrounds has meant that we have been able to build upon and develop on newer platforms without compromising creativity or player engagement. Teaming up with John, Trey and Grue Games has cemented our vision and will allow us to evolve faster.”
Alongside Borrud, cofounder Eric Gewirtz has served as the studio’s chief creative officer and brings creative expertise with a background as director of Star Wars: Battlefront 1 and 2.