Gothic, Elex Developer Pirahna Bytes Has Reportedly Shut Down

Piranha Bytes, Developer of Elex, Gothic, and Risen, Reportedly Shut Down

Piranha Bytes, the renowned developer behind popular series such as Elex, Gothic, and Risen, has reportedly been shut down. The studio, which was under the ownership of Embracer, was in the process of seeking a buyer amidst cost-cutting measures following a failed deal with Savvy Games Group last year.

Last year, Piranha Bytes experienced job cuts and was actively searching for a new publisher. Despite CEO Micahel Rüve’s optimistic remarks about the company’s future, reports surfaced earlier this year suggesting an imminent closure. German website GameStar revealed that the studio officially closed its doors in late June.

While an official announcement confirming the closure is yet to be made by Embracer or Piranha Bytes, the studio’s inactive website adds to the uncertain situation. Game Informer has reached out to Piranha’s publisher THQ Nordic for comment and awaits a response for further details.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Piranha leaders, Björn Pankratz and Jenny Pankratz, have announced the establishment of Pithead Studio, a new indie game development studio. Through an announcement video, the duo has promised to address the questions surrounding Pithead’s inception on their YouTube channel every Monday.

Founded in 1997, Piranha Bytes gained recognition for its work on the acclaimed Gothic series. The studio’s portfolio also includes the Risen trilogy and the Elex series, with its most recent release being Elex II in 2022. A remake of Gothic 1 is currently in progress under the helm of Alkimia Interactive. THQ Nordic acquired Piranha Bytes in 2019, as part of Embracer Group’s larger publishing umbrella.

If the reports of Piranha Bytes’ closure are accurate, it would mark the latest setback for Embracer Group, adding to the recent closure of Pieces Interactive, developer of Alone in the Dark. Embracer’s restructuring efforts have led to various layoffs, studio closures, and property sell-offs, including iconic studios like Volition Games and Free Radical. In a bid for reorganization, Embracer executed a split into three separate companies: Middle-earth & Friends, Coffee Stain & Friends, and Asmodee.