Gothic and Elex developer Pirahna Bytes reportedly shuts down


Piranha Bytes, creator of series like Elex, Gothic, and Risen, has closed. The studio was owned by Embracer, which was looking for a buyer for the German developer as part of an ongoing restructuring to cut costs following the failed $2 billion deal with Saudi-backed Savvy Games Group last year.

Pirahna Bytes was reported to be looking for a recent publisher following last year’s layoffs. In January, following a period of radio silence and inactivity from the studio, CEO Micahel Rüve addressed reports of an impending closure by stating that the company was in a “difficult situation” while expressing optimism about finding a partner, saying, “Don’t write us off yet!”

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However, the German website Gaming star (as it came to the surface Eurogamer) published an article announcing the studio’s official closure at the end of June. Despite this news, Embracer or Pirahna (the studio’s subsidiary) have yet to officially announce the closure. website remains inactive) and details about what exactly happened are sparse. Game guide We’ve reached out to Pirahna’s publisher, THQ Nordic, for comment and will update this article if we hear back.

However, this morning, Pirahna leaders Björn Pankratz and Jenny Pankratz announced the creation of Pithead Studio, a recent independent studio. In announcement videoThe pair admit that Pirahna has been silent for the past few months and say they plan to answer questions about the founding of Pithead on their YouTube channel starting Monday.

Piranha Bytes was founded in 1997 and is perhaps best known for the Gothic series. The studio has also developed three Risen titles and the Elex series; its last release was Elex II in 2022. A remake of Gothic 1 is currently in development by another studio, Alkimia Interactive. Piranha Bytes was acquired by THQ Nordic in 2019, which is itself a subsidiary of Embracer Group.

If true, the news will be Embracer’s latest casualty following the closure of Alone in the Dark developer Pieces Interactive last month. After months of layoffs, studio closures (including Saints Row developer Volition Games and Timesplitters developer Free Radical), and property sales, Embracer split into three companies in April: Middle-earth & Friends, Coffee Stain & Friends, and Asmodee.

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