Keywords Studios announces conditional acquisition of Smoking Gun

Founders of Canadian studio to continue managing the company

Date Type Companies involved Size
September 21st, 2022 acquisition Keywords Studios
Smoking Gun Interactive
Not disclosed
Keywords Studios announces conditional acquisition of Smoking Gun

Games industry technical service provider and Irish company Keywords Studios is set to acquire Canada-based Smoking Gun Interactive, the studio behind Age of Empires: Castle Siege, Freefall Racers, Microsoft Mahjong and more.

The announcement that these companies entered a conditional agreement was made earlier today, as reported by MCV.

A barrel-load of experience

John Johnson, Drew Dunlop and Angie Pytlewski founded Smoking Gun in 2007 and, in the 15 years since, have grown the development studio into a 68-person team. The studio is especially experienced in action and real-time strategy games, having developed across platforms including mobile, console and PC.

Keywords Studios, meanwhile, was founded in 1998 and is hoping to use the acquisition to build its presence in Canada. Johnson, Dunlop and Pytlewski are to continue managing the studio post-acquisition.

"We are delighted to welcome John, Drew, Angie and the highly skilled Smoking Gun team to Keywords. Smoking Gun has a 15-year history of high-quality game development and the studio’s expertise in casual and RTS development for mobile games combined with its experience in live operations games support are valuable extensions of our client offering," said Keywords Studios CEO Bertrand Bodson.

"The acquisition builds on our presence in the Vancouver area, which is a rich source of talent and one of North America’s video gaming hubs. We are really looking forward to working with the Smoking Gun team and supporting the studio’s continuing growth as part of the Group."

Johnson, Dunlop and Pytlewski collectively commented: "We are very excited to be joining Keywords. Keywords is an industry leader with an unrivalled range of high-quality services which will help accelerate Smoking Gun’s growth and provide opportunities to build, deliver and support more award-winning titles.

"We are really looking forward to playing our part in helping to deliver on the strategy of the wider Keywords group by bringing Smoking Gun’s expertise and experience to the Group’s client offering."

The latest in Keywords Studios' acquisition spree, this announcement follows Keywords' acquisition of Waste Creative and Wicked Witch last December and more recently its conditional $32.5 million acquisition of Forgotten Empires.

Keywords Studios’ Peter Gerson and Dominick Kelly will be discussing live ops at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki next week.

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