Kerbal Space Program 2's Original Studio Reportedly Closed After Take-Two Poached Staff

Kerbal Space Program 2's Original Studio Reportedly Closed After Take-Two Poached Staff

After losing the project and a chunk of its team to Take-Two, Star Theory closed shop.

According to a new report, Seattle developer Star Theory Games is no more. The studio, formerly known as Uber Entertainment, went quiet late last year shortly after showing the world its work on Kerbal Space Program 2, a sequel to the popular space flight sim. Star Theory lost the project and a chunk of its staff to a new studio formed by Take-Two Interactive and Private Division, leading to its demise.

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier says that Star Theory closed on March 4 after having lost over a third of its team to Intercept Games, the new Take-Two studio formed to take over development of Kerbal Space Program 2. Star Theory employees first learned that the studio lost the Kerbal project by way of LinkedIn recruitment messages from Kerbal franchise executive producer Michael Cook in December. A short time later, Star Theory's founders Bob Berry and Jonathan Mavor told employees that they had declined an offer from Take-Two to buy the studio and encouraged employees to stay.

Some did. Patrick Meade, a senior engineer, tells Schreier he turned down Take-Two's offer to leave Star Theory because as part of a smaller team, the work he did "had a massive impact on [its] success." Other sources wished not to be identified, and neither Berry or Mavor responded to requests for comment from Bloomberg.

Private Division spokesman Brian Roundy says all members of Star Theory's development team were contacted for recruitment, and that "more than half of the team is now at Intercept Games." The new studio's creation was announced in late February. Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Intercept to start working remotely, contributing to a delay for Kerbal Space Program 2. In the meantime, it seems Star Theory was unable to secure funding or a new project to weather the loss of its workers and the Take-Two contract.

At PAX East 2020, USgamer spoke with Cook and former Star Theory Creative Director Nate Simpson, now of Intercept, about how the change in studios would impact Kerbal 2's development. Simpson characterized the transition as "unexpectedly smooth" and said that it allowed the team to communicate better with Mexican indie developers Squad, creators of the original Kerbal Space Program.

Squad sold Kerbal to Take-Two in 2017 and has continued to update the original in the years since. Kerbal Space Program 2 is now targeting a Fall 2021 release for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Last month, Take-Two announced that it has plans to release 93 games between now and March 2025.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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