Sumo Group acquires The Chinese Room, developer of Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

In a surprise move, Sumo has acquired The Chinese Room. The Brighton-based studio came to prominence with ‘walking simulator’ Dear Esther and the critically-acclaimed Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture as well as creating Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Google Daydream exclusive So Let Us Melt.

The Chinese room was owned by co-founders Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck. Pinchbeck will take the role of Creative Director at the studio, while Curry will continue her career independently as a composer.

The move is an important one for Sumo, which IPO late last year, with the company having previously being almost exclusively a work-for-hire studio (barring it testing the waters with Snake Pass). The acquisition will at least put the company into the space of creating and managing its own IP, though whether it chooses to self-publish or partner remains to be seen.

The acquisition becomes the fifth studio under the recently-floated Sumo Group, after the buyout of CCP Newcastle at the start of the year. With current operations in Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle and Pune, India. From a UK perspective the new studio radically shifts the company’s centre of gravity, adding Brighton to its current list of northern studios.

Carl Cavers, CEO of Sumo Group, said: “I am really pleased that Dan has chosen to join Sumo Group. We believe Dan’s renowned creative abilities will add real value to Sumo Group. The Chinese Room has an outstanding reputation and its acquisition will enhance and extend Sumo Digital’s capabilities. Having a studio in the south of England opens new doors for the Group and we are confident that it will create exciting opportunities.

Dan Pinchbeck, Creative Director of The Chinese Room, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Sumo Digital, a network of studios I’ve a huge amount of respect for. Sumo will provide the support and experience I’m looking for to take The Chinese Room to the next level. Our aim is to build on the reputation I’m proud to have earned, to create a truly world-class studio delivering bold, imaginative new games. We’re already working on some really fantastic new concepts, alongside discussions with partners about some of the games we already have in the pipeline. The future for the studio is incredibly exciting and being part of the Sumo family is absolutely central to that.”

Read our interview with Sumo Digital’s MD Paul Porter on its recent expansion and IPO.

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