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THQ Nordic acquires Piranha Bytes

Bullet Club

Oct 24, 2017
THQ Nordic acquires legendary game studio Piranha Bytes

THQ Nordic AB (publ) is today announcing the acquisition of the assets belonging to the group of companies doing business as Piranha Bytes (“Piranha”). Piranha is the developer behind the critically acclaimed game series Gothic ®, Risen® and ELEX® and is a long-term developing partner to THQ Nordic. Through the acquisition THQ Nordic adds a strong portfolio of existing intellectual properties (IPs) and an exciting new game pipeline.

The acquisition includes the development studio and all IP rights. The parties have agreed upon not disclosing the purchase price. However, the purchase price equals c. three years of what management’s estimated royalty payments to Piranha for upcoming titles would have been, if the acquisition had not occurred.

Piranha Bytes is one of the most iconic german game studios and the creators of RPG´s Gothic, Risen and, more recently, ELEX. The three strong IPs have proven successful and will be great additions to our portfolio. We look forward bringing Piranha team into the family which has received legendary status across the RPG community as their fanbase cherishes their current games and eagerly anticipates their new titles in the future”, says Lars Wingefors, Group-CEO THQ Nordic AB (publ).

Piranha, which was founded in 1997, is best known for its successful development of action role-playing PC/Console games with atmospheric open worlds. The current version of Piranha was formed in 2002 when the current owners acquired the studio. The studio is located in Essen, Germany, with approximately 31 full time employees.

Both THQ Nordic and Koch Media have a long-standing relationship with Piranha with both having acted as the studio’s publisher for all three major titles. The original relationship with Piranha was established in 2002. Piranha will remain an independent game development studio under the newly formed entity Piranha Bytes GmbH. As in the past, the team will focus and concentrate on the creation of outstanding and unique RPG gaming experiences, having full creative freedom in doing so, whereas THQ Nordic GmbH will act as Piranha Bytes´ publisher, responsible for distribution, marketing and further support. Piranha will continue to be led by CEO Michael Rüve and Head of Games Björn Pankratz. All active owners will remain in their current roles.

We have a successful and long-standing relationship with THQ Nordic and are very excited to join the group. THQ Nordic has unparalleled experience and capabilities in games development and publishing, and we are convinced they are the perfect partner to support Piranha in taking the studio to the next level. We see a unique opportunity to continue to develop great, memorable and impactful RPG games, now being part of the THQ Nordic family”, says Michael Rüve, CEO Piranha Bytes.

Background and rationale

THQ Nordic has a clear growth strategy and a long and successful history of acquiring game franchises and development studios. The acquisition of Piranha builds upon THQ Nordic’s strong footprint in Germany with a renowned studio, along with commercially established titles, which is in line with the long-term growth strategy.

THQ Nordic will support the future growth of Piranha and strongly believes that the studio has an excellent opportunity to build further upon its existing titles as well as to create new IP based on Piranha’s unique proprietary game engine and decades of experience in their niche.

Financing of the transaction

The purchase price will be paid in cash at closing and financed through the existing cash position. The transaction is subject to the shareholders’ resolution of selling entities.


Ernst & Young AB is providing transaction support and the German based law firm Jaroni Pracht Riegl Schröter is acting as legal counsels to THQ Nordic in the transaction.

For additional information, please contact:
Lars Wingefors, Group-CEO
Tel: +46 708 47 19 78
E-mail: lwingefors@thqnordic.com

About THQ Nordic

THQ Nordic develops and publishes PC and console games for the global games market. The company has an extensive catalogue of over 100 owned franchises, such as Saints Row, Goat Simulator, Dead Island, Darksiders, Metro (exclusive license), Titan Quest, MX vs ATV, Kingdoms of Amalur, Time Splitters, Delta Force, Alone in the Dark, Wreckfest amongst others. THQ Nordic has a global presence, with its group head office located in Karlstad, Sweden and with three divisions; Deep Silver/Koch Media, THQ Nordic/Handy Games and Coffee Stain. The group has sixteen internal game development studios based in Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden. The group has collectively more then 2,200 employees and contractors.

THQ Nordic's shares are publicly listed on Nasdaq First North Stockholm under the ticker THQN B with FNCA Sweden AB as its Certified Adviser. For more information, please visit: http://www.thqnordic-investors.com.

  • Like
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Jul 27, 2009
please excuse my bad english
Man, Gothic 2 ....
If only they'd been able to stay on that level of quality. That game is probably the best crpg I ever played. Even better then BG2 and Planescape Torment.

I'm actually pretty happy about that purchase, I hope this provides Piranha Bytes with the money and expetise it needs to improve and deliver better games.


Dec 2, 2014
Insane. THQ Nordic a acquired a ton of AA Devs recently. I wonder where they're getting the money for all of this.


Dec 9, 2013
It's sad how many people hate Elex. It was a really good game, sure janky and flawed in some areas, but still provided a lot of fun.


Aug 2, 2015
Insane. THQ Nordic a acquired a ton of AA Devs recently. I wonder where they're getting the money for all of this.
Most of the stuff they buy isn't that expensive. They're not splurging billions on some F2P sensations. I doubt most of those acquisitions cost more than few millions at most.
And they got money from stock market. They emited shares worth about 200 mln euros specifically to get funds for aquisitions.

Anyway, good news. THQ Nordic has so far been excellent to studios and IPs they purchase and Piranha could really use a bit higher budgets for their games.
  • Like
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Neo Member
Oct 30, 2018
It's euro-junk developer which made 2 great games in early 2000s (Gothic 1 and 2) and nothing good or exceptional since then. Keep your expectetions in check.
Speak for yourself. Other than Risen 2 I've loved all of their games.

Sure the combat is shitty and jumping is janky, but in a world of checklist gaming and procedural generation it's nice to play a game where everything is hand crafted and exploration is rewarded.
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Dec 19, 2013
Speak for yourself. Other than Risen 2 I've loved all of their games.

Sure the combat is shitty and jumping is janky, but in a world of checklist gaming and procedural generation it's nice to play a game where everything is hand crafted and exploration is rewarded.
Yep, not to mention that it's a really small company of 30 people. Creating games like these with such a low amount is pretty impressive too.