Thomas Mahler wants you to know that Moon Studios is not for sale. The studio that brought us the wonderful Ori and the Blind Forest has never been open to being acquired by any publisher but it seems to be a constant topic among gamers.
That is somewhat understandable. After all, Ori is one of the highest rated games published by Microsoft during this entire generation and also happens to be one of a handful games to cross over to the Nintendo Switch. Xbox fans would love to see the team behind such an excellent title join the roster of Microsoft’s internal game development studios alongside the likes of Playground Games, Undead Labs and Double Fine Productions.
The Creative Director of Moon Studios, Thomas Mahler, recently took to ResetEra and explain why he would prefer to see the company remain independent. To Mahler, it would make no “business sense” to allow the studio to be acquired. “Truth to be told though, I’m already very happy with my position at Moon. I get to make the games I really want to make, I get to work with the most talented people in this industry, I can already fulfill my development dreams with the setup we have – So why risk that by doing something that would just make us a bit of money,” he wrote.
But what if a large publisher like Microsoft, Sony or Activision were to offer a lot of money for Moon Studios? While not completely ruling out the idea, Mahler does not seem to be primarily motivated by acquiring a mountain of cash. “If we hit it big and we make a bunch of money, great, but I want to see that as a side-product of us making something that made a ton of people happy. Not being a slave to money and actually being in a position to flat out say ‘No.’ has done us a lot of good. We don’t accept shit deals from publishers, we don’t have to play to anyone’s fiddle, we have creative freedom… we’re honestly really happy with where we’re at. Would it be nice to have a bunch of money on my account? Sure, but chances are my day-to-day life would change more to the negative than to the positive,” Mahler noted.
One interesting factoid about Moon Studios is that the company has no central building where the employees gather to create games. All of the developers work remotely from all over the world. But whatever you do, never, ever imply that the company is not a real studio because of this. Thomas Mahler seems to be annoyed by such implications. When an Era user made such a comment, Mahler replied, “I’d say we embraced modern ways of developing games – So far we still don’t see the downside of working in a distributed fashion, but the upsides are huge, since we hire talent away from places like Blizzard, Retro, Ubisoft, Riot, etc. – And they all get to work together. The goal is to build the most talented team of developers in the industry and doing that would just not be possible any other way.”