Netflix has announced today that it is taking yet another bold step into gaming territory. The streaming giant has now acquired Night School Studio, an independent game publisher that previously released the indie games Oxenfree and Afterparty.
The purchase feels like a natural step in Netflix’s expansion into the gaming zone, since the streamer’s goal is to find new ways for people to experience streaming platforms. The first time they incorporated this idea into our TV screens was in the movie Bandersnatch, which spawned from their hit series Black Mirror. The movie could be “played,” in the sense that the viewer could make some decisions for the main character via remote control.
Netflix’s next big move was in a small country in Europe: the streamer started testing Android games in Poland – not as a separate product, but as part of each viewer’s membership at no additional cost. The idea, it seems, is to offer a roster of mobile games so users can play on their mobile devices to have an expanded experience within their favorite series’ universe.
In an official statement, Game Development VP Mike Verdu revealed that the acquirement of Night School Studio is far from being a stand-alone move:
We’ll continue working with developers around the world and hiring the best talent in the industry to deliver a great collection of exclusive games designed for every kind of gamer and any level of play. Like our shows and films, these games will all be included as part of your Netflix membership — all with no ads and no in-app purchases. Stay tuned for more.
Co-founder of Night School Studio Sean Krankel also took to Night School’s website to talk about the new development. He suggests he’ll keep setting the bar high for game storytelling and teaming up with Netflix felt like the next logical step for the future of the studio:
“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. 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.
Of course, it’s a surreal honor to be the first games studio to join Netflix! Not only do we get to keep doing what we do, how we like to do it, but we get a front-row seat on the biggest entertainment platform in the world. The Netflix team has shown the utmost care for protecting our studio culture and creative vision. We’ll keep making OXENFREE II. We’ll keep cooking up new game worlds.”
Night School Studio was founded by Krankel and Adam Hines in 2014. Their studio had already ventured into TV storytelling, as they developed a tie-in video game for the USA Network series Mr. Robot. The studio’s next game, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals, is slated to be released on most major gaming platforms in 2022.
The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son.
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