Scavengers console versions scrapped, as developer Midwinter sold
Improbable team bought by Dead by Daylight maker Behaviour Interactive.
Scavengers studio Midwinter Entertainment has been sold by Improbable, Eurogamer can reveal.
The sale to Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive marks another studio gone from Improbable, as it ditches its previous designs on video game development backed by its ever-nebulous SpatialOS cloud technology.
As a result of the sale, Scavengers' console versions - currently being tested via a closed alpha - have been cancelled, Eurogamer has been told. Its PC version currently remains alive, as a small internal team keeps it operational.
Midwinter, now part of Behaviour Entertainment, has meanwhile been put to work on a fresh project.
Founded in December 2016, Midwinter is a small outfit of around 30 people, formed by a cluster of former Halo developers from 343 Industries. Its aim with Scavengers was to make a game inspired by Halo 5's Warzone - a project worked on by various team members - with a "co-opetition" mix of PVPVE at a much grander scale, thanks to SpatialOS.
Unfortunately, the game never found much traction. On Steam, where Scavengers launched in early access last May, concurrent player numbers have sat in the low hundreds for almost all of the past year. Over the last 30 days, an average of only 100 players were online at any time.
Improbable, Behaviour and Midwinter all confirmed the latter's sale exclusively to Eurogamer this morning, though no mention was made of Scavengers' future.
"When we first started talking to Behaviour months ago, the alignment across the teams was striking, and in my experience rare," Midwinter studio head Mary Olson said. "As we continued to explore, it was clear the opportunity goes beyond similar values and development philosophy. We are thrilled to join and learn from a team with proven success across a broad spectrum of IP, while in turn leveraging the strong foundation, culture, and team we've built at Midwinter to expand Behaviour's portfolio. Plus, Midwinter will be able to leverage 30 years of legacy and join forces with one of North America’s fastest-growing gaming studios."
"Behaviour was not just looking for any studio, but the right studio," Behaviour boss Rémi Racine said. "Chemistry was essential and our similar values, cultures and our commitment to creating games that push boundaries and defy expectations make Midwinter a perfect fit. This is an important move during a milestone year for Behaviour, which will mark its 30th anniversary in September, and further evidence of the impressive growth that has seen our revenues more than double since 2019 and our team reach nearly 1000 full-time employees."
Improbable boss and co-founder Herman Narula said: "As part of our announced focus on the metaverse Improbable announced the divestment of its non metaverse focused content teams at the start of the year. We are really excited to have found partners who we believe can provide a fantastic home for the Midwinter team. We are very pleased to see Midwinter go with Behaviour, both for the common ambition they have, and for the cultural fit we have observed all along our discussions. The work done by the Midwinter team over the past three years has been phenomenal and we wish this team all the very best and will be looking forward to seeing their upcoming projects come to life."
Midwinter's sale comes less than three years after it was bought by Improbable, in September 2019. Now, the studio is the second to be sold off by Improbable in 2022.
Back in February, Improbable's stake in Inflexion Games was sold to Tencent. The studio, lead by ex-BioWare boss Aaryn Flynn, is currently making fantasy survival game Nightingale. Originally designed to use SpatialOS, the project has since been retooled to ditch the technology altogether.
At the time, Improbable said Inflexion's sale was part of the company's new focus "aimed at accelerating on Metaverse activities and refocusing the company's content strategy".
"We want to make sure that the games developed by our internal studios benefit from the support of publishers with leading track records of bringing games to market," Improbable continued.
The difference here, however, is that Scavengers has not gone with Midwinter, as Nightingale did with Inflexion.
Improbable has a poor track record getting SpatialOS games fully released.
1000-person SpatialOS-powered battle royale Mavericks: Proving Ground bit the dust in July 2019 as developer Automaton Games ran out of money and shut down.
Bossa Studios' Worlds Adrift, another SpatialOS hopeful, closed down in July 2019 after two years in PC eary access.
Ion, a space survival game by DayZ creator Dean Hall announced on Microsoft's stage at E3 2015, was also scrapped.