Warner Bros. acquires majority stake in Rocksteady

Media conglomerate buys into Batman: Arkham Asylum developer to further expand its gaming holdings; studio to be charged with other WB IP.

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Today, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, the London-based developer of last year's critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The game, which was published by Eidos (now part of Square Enix), has sold more than 2.63 million copies since its August 2009 debut.

Batman: Arkham Asylum was a commercial and critical hit for Rocksteady and WBIE.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was a commercial and critical hit for Rocksteady and WBIE.

The move follows a string of games-based acquisitions for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Most recently, it purchased beleaguered publisher Midway in a $49 million deal. WBIE also purchased Traveller's Tales, developer of the Lego Star Wars series, after receiving a $500 million investment from Abu Dhabi Media Company in 2007. In early 2009, the publisher also picked up Death Tank developer Snowblind Studios, which underwent a round of layoffs in January and is currently working with the Lord of the Rings license.

"We have been looking to increase our development capacity, and as a high quality games development Studio, Rocksteady definitely fits that strategy," said Josh Berger, WBIE UK's president and managing director. "With the ground-breaking release of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady has really helped reinvigorate the Batman franchise, which is a significant focus for Warner Bros. in gaming."

Berger also indicated that Rocksteady won't be pigeonholed into the Batman universe, saying that the development studio is also at work on other Warner Bros.-owned franchises. "Rocksteady is working on the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, and we hope to have them work on other Warner Bros. intellectual properties too," he said.

Warner Bros., which owns the DC Comics brand, will be publishing the upcoming sequel to Arkham Asylum, as well as focusing on developing the Mortal Kombat, The Lord of the Rings, and Lego franchises.

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