Kerbal Space Program 2 Developer Shuttered As Take-Two Poached Developers

Kerbal Space Program 2 Developer Shuttered As Take-Two Poached Developers

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Matt Lorrigan

A report from Bloomberg by Jason Schreier says that Star Theory, the original development team behind Kerbal Space Program 2, shut down in March.

The report states that, in December 2019, Take-Two subsidiary Private Division made the decision to move development of Kerbal Space Program 2 from developer Star Theory to an in-house team. The Star Theory development team would find out the news that same month from Private Division in bizarre fashion, with an exec producer at the publisher messaging each member of the team directly, explaining that the change "became necessary when we felt business circumstances might compromise the development, execution and integrity of the game" and urging people to apply for a position at Private Division to continue working on the game.

This move happened as Star Theory founders Bob Berry and Jonathan Mavor had been in discussions about selling the company to Take-Two, but hadn't been satisfied with the terms. New rounds of contract negotiations were also due to be taking place, following Take-Two's decision to extend Star Theory's deadline on the game by six months. The news of the game's cancellation within Star Theory and move to a different team came as a shock to many at the studio, with the Star Theory team believing that development was going well.

Following the LinkedIn messages and a hasty staff meeting within Star Theory, three high-profile members left to join Take-Two's new studio, including the Studio Chief, Creative Director and Lead Producer. By January, twelve of Star Theory's thirty employees had left for the new studio to continue work on Kerbal Space Program 2. Star Theory's remaining team now had a new goal - spend two months prototyping new ideas, and pitch the best ones to publishers at the Games Developer Conference in March 2020. As an indie studio with a proven track record, the hope would be that it wouldn't be too hard to find investment from one of the many publishers due to attend.

However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, GDC was cancelled. Publishers reportedly reduced their spending, and with no investment coming in, Star Theory shut down in March. The new studio at Take-Two announced itself as Intercept Games just last week, and Kerbal Space Program 2 is still in full development, despite a recent delay to Autumn 2021.

Comments
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  • That’s complete bull. They should have given the original team a chance to find funding. As someone who owns and loved the first game this is unacceptable. I’m hoping all the talent finds jobs soon. Bt this is massively disgraceful to the people who came up with the original idea.
  • This is pretty shitty, but it comes as no surprise when you consider how disgraceful Take Two is as a company. I mean shit... they even had the balls to call the new studio that poached developers, Intercept Games. Talk about flying that big middle finger in the face of Star Theory.
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