In another clear sign Netflix is serious about exploring gaming, the company has acquired its first developer. The streaming service has picked up Night School Studio, the team behind the 2016 supernatural mystery game Oxenfree, for an undisclosed amount.
In a blog post announcing the move, Netflix mentioned its gaming efforts are still at an early stage, though the addition of Night School Studio signals a significant step forward.
“We’re inspired by their bold mission to set a new bar for storytelling in games. Their commitment to artistic excellence and proven track record make them invaluable partners as we build out the creative capabilities and library of Netflix games together,” Mike Verdu, Netflix’s vice president of game development, said in the blog post.
Meanwhile, Night School Studio co-founder Sean Krankel shared his own thoughts via a separate blog post on the studio’s own site.
“Night School wants to stretch our narrative and design aspirations across distinctive, original games with heart. Netflix gives film, TV, and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people,” he said. “Our explorations in narrative gameplay and Netflix’s track record of supporting diverse storytellers was such a natural pairing. It felt like both teams came to this conclusion instinctively.”
The team is currently developing Oxenfree II: Lost Signals, a sequel to the company’s breakout hit. The title is expected to launch on PC, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and 5, and Nintendo’s Switch — and Krankel added work will continue on the title despite the acquisition.
No Netflix-specific titles were mentioned alongside today’s announcement, but Verdu did mention the company’s games would be included without ads or in-app purchases as part of a Netflix membership.
We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the company’s gaming ambitions.