Gothic, Risen, and Elex Dev Piranha Bytes Reportedly the Latest Embracer Studio to Shut Down

The closure of Embracer-owned studios continues — this time it’s developer Piranha Bytes that’s reportedly shut down.

German studio Piranha Bytes was founded in 1997 and changed hands a number of times before it found its way to Embracer via publisher THQ Nordic in 2019. Piranha Bytes is perhaps best-known for developing fantasy role-playing series Gothic and Risen, but in recent years it released science fiction role-playing games Elex and Elex 2.

Earlier this year, Piranha Bytes acknowledged it was in a “difficult situation” amid devastating cuts and layoffs at embattled parent company Embracer. At the time, Piranha Bytes said it was trying to find a partner for its next project, apparently not with Embracer.

According to German website GameStar, Piranha Bytes shut down at the end of June. IGN has asked Embracer for comment.

Meanwhile, two former Piranha Bytes developers, Björn Pankratz and Jennifer Pankratz, have formed a new indie called Pithead Studio and kicked off a video series that promises to reveal what went down during the studio’s final months.

With Pithead Studio we have founded a new indie studio.
In the future we will develop immersive and fantastic indie games.

Curious? Then take a look at our latest video.https://t.co/qTTwtLqtnm

Please spread the word!#pithead #pitheadstudio #indiedev pic.twitter.com/oCzXAKKwtJ

— Pithead Studio (@PitheadStudio) July 8, 2024

The closure is the latest in a long line of Embracer shutdowns that have come over the last two years. In June, Embracer shut down Alone in the Dark developer Pieces Interactive after the game failed to meet expectations. Embracer has also shut down the studios behind Saints Row and Timesplitters, sold the likes of Borderlands developer Gearbox Software and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic remake studio Saber Interactive, and split into three separate companies in a bid to secure its future.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at wesley_yinpoole@ign.com or confidentially at wyp100@proton.me.

 

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