Asked to join Take-Two as it moved development in-house.
Take-Two pulled the development of Kerbal Space Program 2 from developer Star Theory only to continue working on it in-house using team members it coaxed away after messaging them via LinkedIn.
That’s according to a new Bloomberg report, which also details how Star Theory, with their Kerbal Space Program 2 contract cancelled, has now gone under.
Kerbal Space Program 2 was originally announced as a joint venture between Take-Two’s publishing subsidiary Private Division and Star Theory, the studio behind Monday Night Combat and Planetary Annihilation.
But in February this year, Take-Two announced it had formed a new studio to continue development of the game in-house using some of the same staff.
Bloomberg’s report details how staff first heard of Take-Two’s plans after being contacted by the company on LinkedIn. Private Division exec Michael Cook told Star Theory staff that the publisher had ended its contract with their employer – and that they would now be compensated for leaving to continue their work within Take-Two.
This message was sent out on a Friday evening. The following Monday, Star Theory chiefs Bob Berry and Jonathan Mavor told staff that Take-Two had been interested in buying the studio, but not for terms acceptable to the studio’s founders.
Take-Two, which publishes Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands and various 2K sports games, said it would offer Star Theory staff “a cash sign-on bonus, an excellent salary, bonus eligibility and other benefits”. Many took it.
Others stuck by Star Theory, a developer now without many of its staff and a project to work on. The studio drew up a last-ditch plan to save itself by giving staff two months to come up with creative ideas it could then pitch at Game Developers Conference, but this plan failed when coronavirus saw GDC cancelled and publisher’s purse strings tighten.
Star Theory shut down on 4th March, less than two months after Take-Two’s new studio was announced.
The full story over at Bloomberg is well worth a read.