ZeniMax buys Starbreeze founder's new studio - Report

Swedish business records indicate Machinegames is the latest indie developer to be scooped up by Bethesda and id parent company; shop home to several Riddick vets.


ZeniMax media has been on a tear of acquisitions of late, buying up Arx Fatalis creator Arkane Studios in August and Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami's Tango Gameworks last month. Now, according to a Gamasutra report, the Maryland-based media company may have scooped up another studio.

Machinegames may be ZeniMax's latest acquisition.
Machinegames may be ZeniMax's latest acquisition.

Sparked by Twitter chatter, the report found Swedish business records, which indicated that the indie studio Machineworks has had its named changed to ZeniMax Sweden AB. The name change presumably came from a buyout of the indie shop, which was founded in 2009 by Starbreeze cofounder Magnus Hogdahl and other members of the Chronicles of Riddick development team. According to its bare-bones website, "Machinegames is a developer of exciting AAA titles for next-gen platforms."

As of press time, requests for confirmation of the buyout sent to both ZeniMax and Machinegames had not been answered. However, if true, the purchase would bring even more talent into the ZeniMax fold, which already includes such major names as id Software (Doom 4, Rage) and Bethesda Softworks (Fallout 3, the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion). The company also has an online division currently working on an unnamed massively multiplayer project and recently received $150 million in funding from a private equity company.

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Avatar image for digitalheadbutt

Obsidian did Neverwinter Nights 2 and though it was a huge resource hog with the graphics turned up, it was a fine game otherwise; not excessively buggy. But I think every other title they have put out, even that last game they put out as Black Isle, Lionheart, has been a buggy mess. It seems to me they just arent getting the amount of time they need to make a polished game but that is still something that is their fault. They need to start roadmapping their development better. I loved Icewind Dale , IWD2 and the Original Fallout Games but I won't touch their games again until it seems like they have had ample dev time. I almost wish they would go back to making games in 2D and just make something stupidly well crafted.

Avatar image for BlackBaldwin

@mysticstryk I didn't know Obsidan made new vegas I thought Bethesda did inwhich explains soo much! I don't know what it is with Obsidan but they just can't seem to finish projects very well. I can't remember a time when I played a title that they produced that was solid at launch time. Hopefully one day they will get their act together...

Avatar image for mysticstryk

@BlackBaldwin Obsidian made New Vegas. Thats why the quality was less. So far ZeniMax is proving to be a great publisher. It has always been big, so don't worry about another EA. ZeniMax really seems to let their developers do things the way they want to do it. You don't see that too often these days.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat

I prefer to wait for any confirmation from ZeniMax or Machinegames before saying anything about either of them. Some clerical update on business records should not be considered solid information.

Avatar image for y0ur_grandma

Wow, ZeniMax is buying everyone!

Avatar image for ToTs_00

It's good to see a great publisher growing.

Avatar image for chtgamer

Starbreeze.com news: 2010-11-05 Starbreeze is Expanding Starbreeze is looking for additional talent. These new positions are needed to strengthen us for the future and secure our current and coming projects. cool, Riddick games were great but i'm looking for something new and thrilling

Avatar image for mrzero1982pt2

powerhouse. that is all i can say. i think kotex should be somewhere pondering or praying.

Avatar image for biokrysty

I hope the'll make a Riddick game worth the name

Avatar image for MERGATROYDER

They are scooping up places.

Avatar image for parkurtommo

Yeh... ever since cronies of riddick assualt on dark athena i hate starbreeze!

Avatar image for Pete5506

I hope we get to see something good

Avatar image for XIntoTheBlue

"ok so they have the devs... please make a new engine already and elder scrolls 5... doom 4 too, dont recycle the cheezy elder scrolls 4 engine anymore!" *Points Bangerman at id software and points to the engine they're using.* They're one step ahead of you, my friend.

Avatar image for BlackBaldwin

Do I smell another EA and Activison arising.... Little early to tell but big business usually equals so so quality games... Look at the difference between Fallout 3 and New Vegas... Yea enough said..

Avatar image for D1zzyCriminal

Southern USA, East Asia, and now Scandinavia. ZeniMax are taking over the gaming world. They only need a British studio before they have all the greatest gaming reigons combined in one space. When they bought Tango I said I was looking forward to seeing their plan unfold. Im predicting a GB studio, and then we should look forward to seeing some very well thought out games.

Avatar image for yaba

Another purchase.

Avatar image for GeneralShowzer

Starbreeze made one of the best FPS ever :D

Avatar image for SDBusDriver1979

I hope they know what they are doing. This is alot of money they are throwing around as of late.

Avatar image for Bangerman15

ok so they have the devs... please make a new engine already and elder scrolls 5... doom 4 too, dont recycle the cheezy elder scrolls 4 engine anymore! :P

Avatar image for Shiftfallout

This is a bad thing. ZeniMax is showing signs of mass acquiring development studios. Some of you may be too young to remember, but when EA did this back in the day, it damaged the industry and set it back for a few years. A lot of good studios ended up dying because of it. I also do not trust ZeniMax what so ever. They took Bethesda by force, using underhand means to kick out its founder and steal the company. The man behind ZeniMax right now is a lawyer who has been indited many times for bad business practices as well as a case involving bank fraud. The last thing I want to see is this guy getting up there with Activision's corrupt CEO. Its bad for the industry as a whole.

Avatar image for Barighm

ZeniMax has good taste in developers.

Avatar image for Ronnie_Rim

I just want Elder Scrolls 5 . . .

Avatar image for Sayed101

they have to be building this "super team" of developers for something..... Time will tell.

Avatar image for xXCombatWombat

The future is looking good for Zenimax.

Avatar image for Prexxus

Looks like Zenimax has something big planned for the future. All these aquisitions in such a small time frame... has me intrigued