Tencent buys Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios

Image for Tencent buys Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios
(Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios)

Tencent announced today that it has added yet another game studio to its stable through the acquisition of Slamfire, the parent company of Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios.

Turtle Rock will continue "independent operations" out of its current office in California, with cofounders Phil Robb and Chris Ashton remaining at the helm. The studio said the acquisition will enable it to grow in size and expand its ambitions for Back 4 Blood. 

"We will continue to transparently communicate with you all, provide updates on all our progress through our Trello board, and expand upon what makes Back 4 Blood so special," Turtle Rock said. "Additionally, we get to do something we have never done before as a studio: turn a universe we created into a true long-standing AAA franchise. We can now ensure that the Back 4 Blood franchise is here to stay and we will be working on it well into the future."

"We are huge fans of Turtle Rock’s games, especially their amazing approach to creating co-operative online games," Tencent Games Global chief strategy officer Eddie Chan said. "We can’t wait to see what comes next, and we’re excited to be part of their future."

Founded in 1998, Tencent has grown to become a major player in the global videogame business. Along with its internal studios, it owns Riot Games, Funcom, and Fatshark outright, and it has holdings in companies such as Epic, Bluehole, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Frontier Developments, and Paradox Interactive. In November it picked up a minority stake in Yooka-Laylee studio Playtonic; in July, it acquired the Sumo Group, a UK-based developer with 14 studios worldwide.

We said following the Sumo Group acquisition that it's difficult to overstate how much of the industry Tencent now owns—it invested in 31 game companies in 2020 alone, although obviously not all of those investments ended in ownership—but it's also facing some major challenges at home. A crackdown on gaming in China earlier this year, which grew to include an outright halt on licences for new games in November, took a significant toll on Tencent's share price, which remains well below the peak value it achieved in February.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.