Focus Entertainment acquires Verdun developer BlackMill Games

French publisher Focus Entertainment announced its acquisition of BlackMill Games, acquiring a majority stake in from its previous owner, publisher M2H. 

Jos Hoebe, BlackMill’s creative director and co-founder, will continue to run the studio and own the remaining 33 percent stake of the studio. In a statement, he called Focus “a larger and more experienced partner, who will help the [WWI Game Series] reach its full potential.” 

The studio will maintain its name and continue to develop its WWI franchise, which includes 2017’s Tannenberg and this week’s Isonzo

Focus CEO Christophe Nobileau called the acquisition “a great addition to Focus Entertainment portfolio.” Focus’ recent resume includes 2022’s indie darling Hardspace: Shipbreaker, and the A Plague Tale franchise

Throughout 2021, the publisher was making strides to “accelerate its transformation” with acquisitions such as The Surge developer Deck 13. Even so, it had its stumbles, namely that several games, such as Hood: Outlaws & Legendsunderperformed.

Acquisitions are on every game publisher’s mind now

Though the attention on acquisitions this year have largely concerned giant companies such as Microsoft or Sony, other publishers have managed to acquire developers of varying sizes. 

Recently, Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream was acquired by tech giant NetEase. For Quantic Dream, NetEase’s acquisition allows the studio to “accelerate the vision we share as a group, of creating landmark titles that touch people on an emotional level,” according to CEO David Cage. 

Publisher TinyBuild also had two recent acquisitions. The first were the rights to franchises from developer Bossa Studios, including Surgeon Simulator and I Am Fish. The second acquisition was for Konfa Games, makers of Despot’s Game. Both acquisitions, said TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik, build out TinyBuild’s portfolio. 

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