NetEase's first western developer, Jackalope Games, is undergoing a name change. The Chinese game publisher formally announced the studio now will be known as Jackalyptic, and revealed its subsidiary's first project.
Jackalyptic was founded in May 2022 by Jack Emmert. He was previously a co-founder (and designer) of City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios, and worked his way up to being its CEO. He later left in 2016 to run Daybreak Austin.
Under the new-ish name, and with the full team of its original heading, Jackalyptic will be developing a project for the massively popular Warhammer 40,000 brand on PC and consoles. The project is said to be in early development and made alongside the tabletop miniature game's owner, Games Workshop.
In the past year, NetEase has expanded west to establish a foothold into the mainstream (well, western mainstream) video game space. It's opened subsidiary studios such as Spliced Inc., or invested and acquired the likes of Quantic Dream, Rebel Wolves, and SkyBox Labs.
The press release also notes that Jackalyptic and Games Workshop will "work closely...to engage their respective communities to gain insights and feedback on the game."
Warhammer 40,000 is preparing for the big(ger) leagues
Games Workshop's Warhammer has a deep history with video games that first began with 1992's Space Crusade from Gremlin Interactive. Publishers such as EA and THQ have once held the license for themselves, but in 2014, Games Workshop expanded its licensing approach.
As such, there are often 3-6 games for the brand that release per year. 2022, for example, had 5 releases, including the likes of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide from FatShark and Complex Games' Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Demon Hunters.
Future installments under the Warhammer banner include Saber Interactive's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine II and Auroch Digital's Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun.
Amid all of this, Amazon acquired the film and TV rights for the property in late 2022. A TV show is in development, with ex-Superman (and ex-Witcher) Henry Cavill on hand to star and executive produce in what's intended as the start of a franchise.
Since Warhammer has been such a part of games for years, one has to wonder what its future output will look like now that it's a part of Amazon. Per Wikipedia, the property appears to have never had an MMO before, and recent history shows that the tech company has massively multiplayer on the brain.