Back 4 Blood is described as a “long-running franchise.” Tencent, a Chinese gaming developer, has purchased Slamfire, the parent company of Back 4 Blood creators Turtle Rock Studios. “The Back 4 Blood franchise is here to stay, and we will be working on it well into the future,” Turtle Rock writes in a statement regarding the acquisition.
“By joining the Tencent family, we will not only get access to their vast resources and expertise, but we have found a partner who is encouraging us to be ambitious and visionary,” reads the statement. “Although our company is being acquired, we will remain independent and continue to be run by our co-founders, Phil Robb and Chris Ashton.”
“We are growing our team to support Back 4 Blood and develop new exciting multiplayer experiences. We will continue to transparently communicate with you all, provide updates on all our progress through our Trello board and expand upon what makes Back 4 Blood so special. Additionally, we get to do something we have never done before as a studio: turn a universe we created into a true long-standing AAA franchise.”
Turtle Rock already have a storied history. Initially founded in 2002 by Michael Booth, the small studio did contract work for Valve on games like Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Source before creating and working on Left 4 Dead and its sequel. In 2008, the studio was acquired by Valve and renamed Valve South. Many of its developers then moved to Valve’s Seattle HQ and Valve South closed, with some of its original developers re-forming Turtle Rock as an independent studio.
Since then they’ve released Evolve, originally funded by publisher THQ before they went bankrupt and the rights were picked up by Take-Two. Evolve sank upon release. This year Turtle Rock released Back 4 Blood with Warner Bros. It’s the kind of developer history with enough ups and downs and corporate twists that makes me think: yeah, I understand the appeal of stable, wealthy owners.
Tencent have a reputation for buying studios and then leaving them to operate relatively independently. Earlier this year Imogen ran down the list of studios in which Tencent own a share, and the list is long.
Back 4 Blood already has a content roadmap stretching across 2022, including free new co-op mode and difficulty level, and three paid expansions covered by a £35 annual pass.