Officials from Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) have confirmed rumors that they are to acquire independent UK developer and Cold Winter
creator Swordfish Studios. The publisher will retain Swordfish’s forty-five person team in Birmingham, England.
Trevor Williams, Managing Director of Swordfish, will continue to lead the studio in the same role and will report to Peter Della Penna, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Product Development for VU Games. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"Swordfish Studios has emerged as a strong creative force with an experienced and talented group of professionals," said Bruce Hack, CEO of VU Games. "Following the integration of Radical Entertainment into the VU Games organization, and Blizzard Entertainment's acquisition of Swingin' Ape Studios earlier this year, the purchase of Swordfish further builds our internal development capabilities."
Swordfish was formed after the closure of British publisher and developer Rage in 2002, and is home to many ex-employees from that studio. It has so far completed two titles: the critically praised World Championship Rugby
for Acclaim and the recently released Cold Winter
for Vivendi, which is currently number nine in the UK sales charts.
The studio was also given the Developer of the Year award for 2004 by The Independent Game Developers Association and was also honored as the best New UK Studio at the Developer Industry Excellence Awards in Britain.
As indicated by Bruce Hack’s comments, Swordfish is the third prominent recent acquisition by Vivendi, following the purchase of Radical Entertainment in March
and Swingin’ Ape Studios by subsidiary Blizzard in May
. This activity seems to confirm the company’s intention to increase its profile in the games industry and remain a part of the larger Vivendi group, following concerted attempts to sell off the video games division last year.