Netflix Acquires Its First Games Developer, Night School Studio

Night School Studio, an independent game developer known for its narrative and graphic adventure game, “Oxenfree”, announced on Wednesday that it has been acquired by Netflix, as part of the streaming giant’s venture into video games.

In Netflix’s announcement, Mike Verdu, Vice President of game development, said that Night School’s “commitment to artistic excellence and proven track record make them invaluable partners as we build out the creative capabilities and library of Netflix games together.”

Night School shared a similar positive sentiment. The company’s Chief Executive Officer,  Sean Krankel, in a statement said that “Netflix gives film, TV and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people”. He added that “Night School’s explorations in narrative gameplay and Netflix’s track record of supporting diverse storytellers was such a natural pairing”.

The news of Netflix’s acquisition comes in less than a day after it launched three new casual mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain, and a month after it released two games that were tie-ins to the “Stranger Things” series. The company earlier revealed its plans to venture into the gaming sector. In its second-quarter shareholder letter, Netflix said it was in the early stages of exploring its gaming model, and that it viewed gaming as another content category, like its original films, animation and reality TV shows. The acquisition of Night School makes it the first games studio the streaming giant has purchased.

Night School Studio was established in 2014 by Sean Krankel, a former senior game designer at Disney Interactive, and Adam Hines, a former lead writer at Telltale Games. After the founding of the company, the team started development on their debut, Oxenfree. The first footage of the game was released on May 18, 2015, and was released in January 2016, which received positive reviews.

Chief Executive Sean Krankel assured fans of Oxenfree that they had nothing to worry about. “The Netflix team has shown the utmost care for protecting our studio culture and creative vision,” he wrote. He also promised that Night School will continue working on Oxenfree II, as well as “cooking up new game worlds”.

A film adaptation of Oxenfree is in plans with Skybound Entertainment.

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