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Midway acquires Area 51 developer

Promised Austin studio turns out to be Inevitable.

Publisher Midway Games has announced that it has bought Austin, Texas based developer Inevitable Entertainment in an all-stock transaction which will see the formerly privately held firm being renamed to Midway Studios Austin.

The studio is currently working on one of Midway's key upcoming action titles, Area 51, which is due for release in the first half of 2005 and has been optioned as a possible movie by Viacom-owned movie studio Paramount.

The buyout saw Midway acquirig the company in exchange for 218,421 common shares, valued at just over $2 million at yesterday's closing price, while a further 152,824 restricted shares (worth around $1.4 million) were granted to 11 key employees, with restrictions lapsing in stages over the next three years conditional on the employees remaining with the firm.

Inevitable, whose only previous title was PS2 online first person shooter Tribes: Aerial Assault, which has still yet to see release in Europe, isn't the first of Midway's partners to be acquired by the company in recent months; back in April, it acquired Surreal Software, developer of successful horror title The Suffering.

The purchase of Inevitable also fulfils Midway's recent pledge to open a studio in the Austin district, although it's not known whether the firm plans to expand its new Midway Studios Austin location to encompass more game teams.

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