Earlier this week, we covered the surprising news that Media and Games Invest, whose chief subsidiary is Gamigo and which is run by Gamigo’s CEO, had bought out Wizard101 and Pirate101 studio KingsIsle Entertainment for a total of $126M with an additional potential $84M in earnouts for the owners. At the time, KingsIsle Lead Producer Leah Ruben reassured players that the staff would remain intact and that the games would continue on with development as planned.
Today, Ruben has added additional commentary on the buyout; notably, she’s told players that the games will not be going free-to-play (“we’re sticking with our current model for the foreseeable future”) and that the target demographic for the games will stay the same.
“Our target demographic when we first launched in 2008 was tweens and teens, Pirate skewing a touch older in 2012, but not much,” Ruben writes. “We happily found that folks older and younger loved our games as well. A growing amount of you that have been with us for the long haul are no longer in that age range, but one thing our MMOs were built on was to be a safe and inclusive online space for all ages. That is not changing. Our very identity is that we are a family friendly game for everyone, the kind of game that kids and parents can play together.”
Players should also take comfort in the promise that the development schedule will stay intact, with one notable exception: Pirate101 might actually get some development again. This ought to make Pirate101 fans who’ve been agitating to get the game out of maintenance mode happy (in fact, their big community action event was slated for this weekend).
“One of those ideas is to have more regular updates to Pirate101. I’m excited about the possibilities but this is something that will take some planning and coordination with Gamigo (and, frankly, more developers than we have now) to make happen. […] Lastly, we’re INCREDIBLY excited for those ‘exciting opportunities’ I mentioned, but there’s nothing I can announce right now. First and foremost, we’re getting the KI team integrated with our friends at Gamigo, while our update schedule remains exactly as planned a week ago.”