Korean games firm Smilegate has backed Payday studio Starbreeze with a multi-million dollar investment.
Smilegate is the creator of Crossfire, which is touted as the world’s most popular first-person shooter with over 500 million users – six million of which are concurrent.
The free-to-play title is also one of the highest-earning online games in the world, generating more than $1.3 billion during 2014.
Swedish studio Starbreeze has been granted $40 million by Smilegate to create and publish a new first-person co-op game based on Crossfire within the next 10 years. The title will use Starbreeze’s in-house Valhalla engine.
Starbreeze is best known for its co-op shooter franchise Payday, having also developed Syndicate, The Darkness and two Chronicles of Riddick games.
As part of the deal, Starbreeze will also receive distribution rights on Smilegate’s platform, which it will use to bring Overkill’s The Walking Dead and Payday 2 to Asian markets. The Walking Dead will be released in the territories in the second half of 2017.
Crossfire is in the works for a movie adaption, created by Fast and the Furious producer Neal Moritz. The film is set for release in the next three to five years.
"This partnership with Smilegate with an upfront cash injection secures our plans, opens new markets and proves yet again that we have an expansive and ambitious business plan focusing on creating long term value,” said Michael Hjorth, chairman of the board at Starbreeze.
“This deal creates a new paradigm for independent developers in the digital market that we are excited to pioneer.”