Update 6 Jul, 2016: Speaking to PCGN, Amplitude COO and creative director Romain de Waubert says that Sega's buyout is purely publishing support, not a change in how their games are made.
It can be scary, especially for fans, when a large publisher buys a developer. Amplitude were and are a company that take massive amounts of feedback from theirs, having developed entire systems around it. We spoke to COO and creative director Romain de Waubert, and he says there's nothing to worry about - they're still making Amplitude games the Amplitude way.
Both parties will be shooting for this list of PCGamesN's all-time great strategy games - are the current inhabitants safe?
"Our way of making games – hand in hand with our community through the GAMES2GETHER platform—will stay the same. It’s the way we have always done game dev, and this will not change. Our community and our players brought us to where we are today, and we want to go even further with them. The new GAMES2GETHER platform, launched in Alpha today, is the just the beginning of something big."
So what are SEGA for? Well, they can support distribution and publishing on a much larger scale. "As part of our agreement with SEGA, the goal was to get more support on the marketing and sales part of our games, not on the production side," explains de Waubert. "The first thing that Jurgen Post, Sega Europe’s President/COO, told us was: 'Take your time to ship Endless Space 2, don’t feel like you have to rush it to please us.' That felt good, and that was key. Of course there are a lot of other topics when you manage a studio such as recruitment, office management, and everything else that contributes to create a company’s culture. We are free to continue working on those the way we always have and honestly, we think this is amazing!"
He describes their involvement as "helping to support our dreams and ambitions" and that it means "we can take 4x gaming to the level we want to." Amplitude have "huge ambitions" for what's next, and it was difficult to try to realise all that while going it alone. Working with Sega makes them "very lucky" to have found a publisher willing to put the time, effort and money in while sharing the same goals.
Of course, it wasn't a decision made lightly.
"There is a clear difference between being published and being owned. When you are published you have very little financial visibility beyond the current game, and this can create unhealthy relations between developer and the publisher. Without realizing it, one day you discover that you might as well be owned even though you weren’t paid for it! That is not the case for us.
"We took these elements very much into consideration when joining SEGA. We believe that, by joining them, we will get the best of both worlds without the potential problems that can crop up in these kind of relationships."
We'll get to see the fruits of those labours with further info on Endless Space 2 at Gamescom, promises de Waubert, though he had nothing new to reveal yet.
Original story 5 Jul, 2016: Sega have announced their completed acquisition of French game development studio Amplitude. The publisher, who already have significant PC IPs in the form of Football Manager, Dawn of War, and Total War, have bought 100% of Amplitude's shares for an unnanounced figure and boosted their PC portfolio further in the process.
You'll know Amplitude for Endless Legend, Endless Space, and Dungeon of the Endless. Deep and complex 4X games that now fit nicely between Total War and Dawn of - yep - War in the publisher's roster. Former Ubisoft developers founded the studio in Paris in 2011, and it's made a success of both Steam Early Access and Games2Gether.
Here's what Sega Europe's president/COO Jurgen Post, has to say about it:
“To have the opportunity to add a studio with the growing reputation of Amplitude’s, to the SEGA family, is an exciting one and reinforces SEGA Europe’s position as a market leader in publishing high quality PC games.
“Culturally, Amplitude are a fantastic fit for the business as they not only produce great games, but also have a proven track record in listening to their fans and directly involving them in the ongoing development of their games through their GAMES2GETHER system.”
Meanwhile over at Amplitude, studio co-founder Mathieu Girard says:
“Joining the SEGA family represents the culmination of five years of hard work from myself and Romain and everyone here at Amplitude Studios. For the Endless series to be alongside PC franchises with such heritage as Total War and Dawn of War in the SEGA Europe stable puts our games where we feel they deserve to be. We look forward to leveraging SEGA Europe’s expertise in the PC market to take the Endless series to the next level.”
Not so long ago, Sega still their eyes trained on the console and Asian markets. In a relatively short space of time that focus has shifted very much in our direction here in PC land. Sega's first job as Amplitude's publisher will be on Endless Space 2 - expect to see more details on that in the coming weeks.