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Netflix Acquires ‘Oxenfree’ Game Developer Night School Studio As Part Of Gaming Push

·3-min read

Netflix’s push for gaming is officially underway with the streaming giant acquiring indie gaming developer Night School Studios, most known for its debut title Oxenfree.

Night School Studios and Netflix shared the news on their respective blogs on Tuesday.

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“We’re inspired by their bold mission to set a new bar for storytelling in games,” Netflix’s VP of Game Development Mike Verdu shared in the blog post. “Their 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.”

Founded in 2014 by Sean Krankel and Adam Hines, alums of Telltale Games and Disney Interactive Studios respectively, Night School Studio made a splash in January 2016 with its mystery adventure game Oxenfree. The game follows a local islander named Alex who joins her friends to discover the mysterious secrets of her homeland.

Night School will drop the sequel, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals in 2022. The developer’s additional products are Afterparty and Next Stop Nowhere.

“Night School wants to stretch our narrative and design aspirations across distinctive, original games with heart. Netflix gives film, TV, and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people,” wrote Krankel for Night School’s blog. Our explorations in narrative gameplay and Netflix’s track record of supporting diverse storytellers was such a natural pairing. It felt like both teams came to this conclusion instinctively.

Frankel continued: “Of course, it’s a surreal honor to be the first games studio to join Netflix! Not only do we get to keep doing what we do, how we like to do it, but we get a front-row seat on the biggest entertainment platform in the world. The Netflix team has shown the utmost care for protecting our studio culture and creative vision. We’ll keep making Oxenfree II. We’ll keep cooking up new game worlds.”

The transaction is one of only a handful of M&A deals ever executed by the historically go-it-alone Netflix, but the second in a week. Last Wednesday, the company said it paid more than $700 million to acquire the catalogue of Roald Dahl, author of children’s classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In July Netflix shared that original games would be included in the existing subscription cost, rather than an add-on.

“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV,” its July statement read. “Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices.”

While this may be the first steps for the streamer’s foray into game-making, Netflix has already taken the plunge into video-game related content. It’s video-game inspired original title slate includes the upcoming Arcane animated series, the popular Castlevania anime and its upcoming spin-off, The Cuphead Show, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, the Resident Evil live-action series and many more.

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