Starbreeze is selling a studio to Rockstar Games as it continues to restructure in an attempt to avoid shutting down. Dhruva Interactive, an art production studio that's worked on Halo, Forza Horizon and Payday 2, was acquired by Starbreeze for $8.5 million and is being sold to Rockstar for $7.9 million. For that $7.9 million, Rockstar will get 91.8 percent of shares in the studio, Starbreeze's shares, and the deal is expected to close before the second half of 2019.
Dhruva Interactive is one of India's first and largest game studios, employing around 300 people. It was originally founded in 1997 by current CEO Rajesh Rao and with Starbreeze has worked on Payday 2 and Overkill's The Walking Dead. The zombie multiplayer romp was was cancelled and removed from Steam after Skybound terminated its contract with Starbreeze.
At Rockstar, Dhruva will continue to work on existing client projects as well as with the 500 Rockstar staff already in Bangalore on other games.
“Dhruva Interactive has been a beacon of Indian game development for decades and we are excited to bring them into the Rockstar family,” said Daniel Smith, studio manager of Rockstar India. “The addition of the Dhruva team to the existing talent at Rockstar India will expand the studio’s capabilities and reinforces our belief in and commitment to the local development community.”
The last year has been a difficult one for Starbreeze. Low sales from The Walking Dead lead to cutting costs, the publisher was investigated for insider trading and, around the same time, it filed for reconstruction to avoid bankruptcy. Since then it's been selling off studios and games piecemeal, including System Shock 3 and Mohawk Games' 10 Crowns.