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Tencent buys stake in Yooka-Laylee studio Playtonic

"Things are going to get Bat Ship Crazy over the next few years!"

Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent has bought a minority stake in Playtonic, the Derby-based developer behind Yooka-Laylee.

Playtonic has not disclosed how much of the company it had sold, but confirmed it still retained ownership of its IP.

The money will be spent on scaling up the business from its current single-team structure to multiple teams, hiring diverse talent, improving its office and exploring an expansion to other locations, Playtonic said.

There's an update too on Playtonic Friends, the developer's indie game publishing program which it launched back in February. Its first title, Demon Turf, arrived in March.

A new head of publishing has been hired - Danny Spiteri, formerly of Raw Fury and Team 17 - to allow the initiative's "ship to be steadied and captained to new ports" and "free up" studio head Gavin Price and executive producer Andy Wilson to focus fully on development again.

"With Tencent's help we can scale up and fast-track the super-exciting, super-secret projects we've been keeping close to our treasure chests too," Price said in a press release today. "Things are going to get Bat Ship Crazy over the next few years! Please imagine a wink emoji right now."

Sadly, there's no news today on what Playtonic's internal development team is up to - although Eurogamer was given a couple of hints earlier this year.

"There's always going to some things which I'd say are a natural crowd-pleaser for our fans, but it'd also be great to start surprising them with something unexpected as well," Price told me back in the spring.

"One game we're thinking about doing we're like, wow, this game would be great to have announced two years before launch and within that two years there's actually scope to keep doing lots and lots of cool surprises within those two years. The fact it might be known about for a while could be right.

"And then there's another game which is just like 'wow, it would be great if we could just say nothing, and then one day push a launch button... tada!' It could totally spectacularly backfire, you just never know."

Back in July, Tencent bought fellow UK studio Sumo Digital outright, in a deal worth £919m.

Tencent's influence within the video games industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, with investment in Ubisoft, Epic Games, Remedy, Sumo, Marvelous, Dontnod, Klei, Platinum, Bohemia Interactive, Roblox and Krafton, plus ownership of Funcom, Sharkmob, Riot Games and its own enormous Timi Studios, the developer behind smartphone titans Call of Duty Mobile and the Pokémon Unite.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor  |  tomphillipsEG

Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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