Take-Two and People Can Fly end publishing partnership

Sam Desatoff, Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 5:01 pm

Take-Two Interactive has broken its publishing agreement with Outriders developer and Gears of War support studio People Can Fly, according to a press release from last week. The news largely relates to the developer’s in-progress Project Dagger, an “action-adventure IP that was set to be published by Take-Two.

The breakup appears to be mutual, at least according to a statement from People Can Fly CEO Sebsatian Wojciechowski, and the possibility of further collaboration is open.

“I assume we will part on good terms, and I don’t see reasons why we couldn’t work with Take-Two on some other project in the future,” he wrote. “We strongly believe in Project Dagger’s potential and are now committed to continue its development within our self-publishing pipeline.”

Including Project Dagger, People Can Fly currently has seven projects in the works, such as Gemini, a new project set to be published by Square Enix, and Bifrost and Victoria, two projects that will be self-published. There are also two VR projects in the works.

No reason was given for the termination of People Can Fly’s publishing deal with Take-Two. Last year, the developer launched Outriders to middling reviews and struggled to break even during its first year. However, a launch on Xbox Game Pass provided a substantial boost to player numbers.

Late last year, People Can Fly went through a restructuring that emphasized AA development and the intent to release at least one game a year. 

In August, Take-Two posted a 36% increase to net revenue thanks to a portfolio of mega-hits like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Grand Theft Auto Online, and NBA 2K22. The publisher’s mobile business has seen a boost as well thanks to the January acquisition of Zynga for $12.7 billion.

“We remain exceedingly optimistic about the long-term growth potential for the mobile industry, as well as our ability to create greater shareholder value as a combined entity with Zynga,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said at the time. “For Fiscal Year 2023, we now expect to deliver net bookings of $5.8 billion to $5.9 billion when including our combination with Zynga.”

It will be interesting to see what becomes of Take-Two’s break from People Can Fly. Project Dagger is apparently still in the pre-production stage, with the team focusing on combat and gameplay loops. The title is also migrating from Unreal Engine 4 to 5, which comes with hefty costs, but, as Wojciechowski points out, such costs are part and parcel for the self-publishing business.

“I’m conscious that this decision will add investments on us, but self-publishing is part of our strategy,” he said in the press release. “Of course, we are not ruling out working with a new publisher if this creates a compelling business opportunity.”

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.

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