Tencent Buys Up Back 4 Blood Devs Turtle Rock, Its Sixth Studio Purchase In 2021

Tencent Buys Up Back 4 Blood Devs Turtle Rock, Its Sixth Studio Purchase In 2021
Image: Turtle Rock / WB Games

Today, one of the largest companies in the world, Tencent, announced it acquired Turtle Rock Studios, the developers behind the recently released zombie shooter Back 4 Blood. The deal is just the latest in a long list of acquisitions over the last few years for the Chinese tech giant, including at least five in 2021 alone.

Tencent and Turtle Rock confirmed the deal today via a press release, announcing Turtle Rock, and its parent company Slamfire Inc., will now be part of Tencent. However, the deal will allow the California-based Turtle Rock to remain operationally independent.This new acquisition also won’t have any effect on Back 4 Blood, which is published by WB Games, according to the release.

Turtle Rock is probably best known for being the original developer behind the Left 4 Dead franchise, working with Valve on the first game in the series before eventually splitting with the Half-Life studio to do its own thing. That led to Turtle Rock’s next game, Evolve, a neat-looking asymmetrical shooter that was a co-op flop. Its latest release, Back 4 Blood, has been more successful and feels like a spiritual successor to the original Left 4 Dead.

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Meanwhile, Tencent’s buying spree continues as it closes out 2021 with Turtle Rock, but that’s far from its first grab this year. In January, it purchased indie devs Klei Entertainment. Then in June, it increased its investment in German company Yager, taking majority ownership of the Spec Ops studio. The very next month, it announced its plans to acquire UK-based devs Sumo Digital for $US1.3 ($2) billion and shortly after that, Tencent bought a majority stake in Stunlock Studios. It also bought up Swedish dev Fatshark in early 2021.

That’s a lot of studios, but don’t forget Tencent already owns a bunch of other devs too, including Riot Games and Funcom. It also continues to invest heavily in game devs like Dontnod, Bloober Team, and Netmarble. It’s not surprising that Tencent has become one of the biggest video game companies in the world, making more money than EA, Activision, Nintendo, and others. Though Tencent’s reach goes far beyond the gaming industry. And it’s likely that the company will continue to grow in 2022 with further investments and acquisitions.

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