Sumo Digital, the developers behind the upcoming Crackdown 3 and the Sonic racing games, has purchased The Chinese Room, makers of Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. This news comes after the studio had to lay off its entire staff last year.
Sumo Digital has purchased The Chinese Room from founders Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry. Pinchbeck will stay at the studio as a creative director, whilst Curry will be leaving the company and pursuing her own independent career as a composer. In the blog post announcing the acquisition, Pinchbeck has noted that many of the developer’s unfinished projects will be worked on again in light of Sumo’s purchasing. The statement made by Pinchbeck also notes that the studio is “talking to a range of potential partners about a new title” which will be based in a more “traditional genre” than its previous works.
Pinchbeck then goes on to describe how after Curry had left, he knew he needed to find a new business partner and had begun talks with Sumo Digital in the winter of 2017 and 2018. He added that “the way Sumo is structured and the relationship between partner studios and central management seemed like a great fit, and I naturally immediately liked the attitudes of the company leaders.” Finally, Pinchbeck noted in the statement that the developer will start hiring staff again.
Back in late July of 2017 (via Eurogamer), the studio had laid off all of its staff and the two founders moved the office to their home in Brighton. This led to the developer unofficially closing its doors since the two founders were struggling financially with keeping the company afloat, despite the success of its games. Sumo Digital, on the other hand, has been doing rather well with its many releases along with its five game studios.