Rockstar has swooped in to buy a studio from Starbreeze amid its financial crisis, per Gamesindustry.biz.
The Payday developers are in a world of trouble after recording a $17.5 million loss over the course of the fiscal year's first quarter and they're expecting a liquidity shortfall by the midpoint of this year unless new investors can be secured.
On Monday, the publishers sold their 91.82 percent ownership in Dhruva Interactive to Rockstar for a reported $7.9 million. Dhruva, an Indian art production studio in Bangalore, saw Starbreeze purchase a majority stake for $8.5 million in 2016, which means that they've sold to Rockstar at a loss.
The latter already has a presence in India, having founded Rockstar India in Bangalore in 2016. Dhruva will now assist with games in development at Rockstar India but will continue to work on already ongoing projects.
"Rockstar Games are the undisputed leaders of innovation and creativity in modern game development," Rajesh Rao, Dhruva's CEO and founder, declared. "Dhruva Interactive was founded with the aim of creating a world-class game development community in India, and so bringing the Dhruva team under the Rockstar Games label is further proof that we have succeeded in creating a talented team that can contribute to the best games in the world while helping to create a thriving local game developer community in India."
Starbreeze's financial peril has prompted them to get rid of other assets too. Earlier this year, the company sold publishing rights to System Shock 3 and Mohawk Games' 10 Crowns. It's likely that they will have to sell off more assets in an attempt to regain some stability.
The publishers were banking on the release of Payday 3 to keep them afloat and had discussed pushing production forward over a year ago. The company's acting CEO Mikael Nermark, who has been tasked with securing fresh funding, has called Payday "a very strong asset", also describing it as "the foundation upon which we will build Starbreeze's future". But it appears that time is running out.
Starbreeze has been in a rebuilding phase since December and their Q1 report shows that they cannot sustain another 12 months of existence without an injection of cash. They registered a 56 percent year-on-year drop in earnings in the first quarter, making a relatively small sum of $5 million, with Payday responsible for $2.8 million of that.
Overkill's The Walking Dead accounted for just $220,000 and is said to be the main cause of the company's financial instability during the aforementioned period.
It will be sad to see one of the most promising publishers in the industry collapse. Payday happens to be a favorite among gamers and if they can manage to release a third installment of the game, fans would certainly throw their cash at it.