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Video game publisher Embracer Group acquires Dark Horse Comics

By Kara Santos Published Dec 23, 2021 1:07 pm

Comic book publisher Dark Horse, whose titles include Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Hellboy, and Umbrella Academy, to name a few, has been acquired by video game publisher Embracer Group. 

The Sweden-based video game holding company includes publishing and development studios Gearbox Software, THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, Deep Silver, and Coffee Stain Studios. 

Embracer Group has an extensive catalogue of over 250 owned franchises including Saints Row, Dead Island, Wreckfest, World War Z, and Borderlands among many others.

Embracer’s latest acquisition adds Dark Horse’s library of more than 300 intellectual properties, the company said in a news release Tuesday (Dec. 21).

Buying Dark Horse, Embracer says, “strengthens its transmedia capabilities by adding expertise in content development, comics publishing, and film & TV production.”

According to the studio, many of Dark Horse properties could build a strong foundation for the development of transmedia IPs and be explored for future video games across PC, console, VR and mobile platforms.

According to Embracer Group, Dark Horse has more than 40 entertainment projects in development at Netflix, Amazon, Syfy, Sony, MGM, Universal, and Warner Media.

“Additionally, there is untapped potential in creating games based on Dark Horse IP and substantial opportunity for synergies within the Embracer group, both within the Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment,” Mike Richardson, founder and CEO of Dark Horse said in a statement.

Dark Horse is the third-largest comics publisher in the US. Aside from  its company-owned properties like Hellboy and Sin City, the publisher also has a long list of licensed properties in its library, including Stranger Things, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, The Legend of Zelda, Game of Thrones, Mass Effect, StarCraft, The Witcher, and Halo, among others.

Dark Horse’s business extends beyond comics, and includes film and TV production company Dark Horse Entertainment (Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy), and collectibles retailer Things From Another World. 

Dark Horse is just one of five companies that Embracer Group announced it was acquiring Tuesday. The other companies include: 

  • Perfect World Entertainment, publisher of (the canceled) Magic: Legends and MMOs Neverwinter and Star Trek Online. (Including developer of those games, Cryptic Studios)
  • DIGIC, the animation studio responsible for commercial trailers and cinematics for games such as Call of Duty: Vanguard, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Elden Ring, Destiny 2, and Halo 4.
  • Shiver Entertainment, a game co-developer that has contributed to development of Mortal Kombat and Scribblenauts games.
  • Spotfilm Networx, an advertising-based video on demand channel network.

Earlier this year, Embracer Group announced the acquisition of Borderlands developer Gearbox Software, as well as Aspyr Media (acquired through Saber Interactive), and Easybrain, a mobile game developer that specializes in puzzle and logic games.

In recent years, video game giants have been snapping up independent game publishers and developers to build up their content libraries, injecting renewed interest in sometimes-dormant properties.

Other video game giants have gone on similar spending sprees, including Tencent (which acquired Back 4 Blood maker Turtle Rock) and Sony Interactive Entertainment (which acquired Bluepoint Games, Firesprite, Housemarque, Nixxes Software, and Valkyrie Entertainment in 2021).