Take-Two Reportedly Poached Kerbal Space Program 2 Developers Away From Studio
Star Theory Games, the independent studio developing Kerbal Space Program 2, closed its doors after having most of its team hired by Take-Two.
Development of the sequel to Kerbal Space Program has continued at a Take-Two studio, after its previously contracted independent developers closed its doors earlier this year. But according to a Bloomberg report, most of its staff was poached by Take-Two in the months prior.
The report details the chaotic final few months within Star Theory Games, the now-defunct developer previously contracted to work on Kerbal Space Program 2 by Take-Two. The Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 publishers had purchased the rights to the franchise from its previous owners (another independent studio called Squad, who developed the acclaimed first game), before contracting Star Theory to work on it.
Development was reportedly going well until negotiations between Star Theory's founders and Take-Two over a potential studio purchase fell through. The day after, most of Star Theory's staff were contacted by Take-Two's publishing label, Private Division, with job offers at a new studio called Intercept Games. What made the offer puzzling to its recipients was the mention of the studio's current project, Kerbal Space Program 2--the very game they were thought to still be working on at Star Theory.
Take-Two had cancelled its contract with Star Theory, its staff would learn later that day. In the weeks that followed, more than half of Star Theory was hired by Intercept Games to continue working on Kerbal Space Program 2. The game has now been delayed until late 2021, with the studio citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.
The same pandemic also resulted in the cancellation of GDC earlier this year, where Star Theory was planning to pitch new ideas to publishers in the wake of the exodus. Without that chance, the studio closed its doors a few days later.
Take-Two reported its latest financial earnings in a call recently, with the publisher maintaining is dominant status within games publishing with an overall worth exceeding $15 billion.