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Starbreeze Studios announces return to game publishing

As it continues to develop Payday 3, Starbreeze Studios is returning to game publishing for the first time in five years with Walking Tree Games' The Tribe Must Survive.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 7, 2022

2 Min Read
Logo for game developer Starbreeze, taken from company website.

Starbreeze Studios has announced that it's making a return to game publishing, beginning with developer Walking Tree Games. Its game, The Tribe Must Survive, will serve as the first third-party game published by Starbreeze in five years. 

Said Staffan Nyström, Starbreeze's publishing VP: "We are excited to embark on this journey together with Walking Tree Games to restart our third-party publishing. [...] By utilizing our expertise, leveraging our specific publishing skills, and broadening our games portfolio, we will be growing our community and strengthening Starbreeze’s future reach.”

As publishers, the Stockholm-based Starbreeze will handle platform management and funding for Walking Tree's simulation strategy title. The Tribe Must Survive will release on Steam Early Access in 2023, followed by a full release in 2024. 

"We are certain that this game will be greatly appreciated, not only by our existing audience but also a whole new player base," added Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren. "[Our] growing publishing team can help with our known expertise in keeping players engaged over a long period of time.”

Though there've been several game developers that have transitioned to publishing indie games (particularly in 2022), it's Starbreeze's history of creating long-lasting communities that led to its new partnership with Walking Tree, according to Walking Tree's Simon Mittrücker.

"A big part of [our game] is fostering a community that helps the game with feedback and ideas," he said. "Starbreeze has a great history of creating outstanding IP, building huge communities, and successfully running games-as-a-service, making them the ideal partner."

Why did Starbreeze stop game publishing? 

Starbreeze included publishing as part of its business in 2014, resulting in the releases of 2016's Dead by Daylight and 2018's The Walking Dead: Overkill (which it also developed), among others. 

It was the poor critical and commercial reception to Overkill that led to Starbreeze announcing it would be scaling back and focusing on its core business. Later that year, its then-CEO Bo Andersson departed as the company itself was filing for administration. 

Over the last several years, Starbreeze has been gradually rebuilding itself after nearly closing its doors. While it remains to be operating at a financial loss, it's been kept afloat by sales of Payday 2. Beyond 2023's Payday 3 (which will be co-published by Plaion), the studio has other IP in active development.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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