What just happened? Atari, a historical brand in the video game business that is now a shadow of its former self, is still on a purchasing spree hunting for retro gaming-focused studios. The company recently acquired Digital Eclipse, a developer known for working in the retro business since 1994.
Digital Eclipse has announced that it is now part of the "Atari family." The studio that made Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration and The Making of Karateka, will seemingly be tasked with helping the brand build new business opportunities for its next 50 years.
Founded in 1992, Digital Eclipse specialized in arcade game ports for portable (Game Boy Color) and home consoles (PlayStation 1). The company became Backbone Entertainment after a merger in 2003, and then it went back to being Digital Eclipse after a team of former employees purchased the brand in 2015.
Recent development efforts by the new Digital Eclipse remain focused on emulation with productions such as Blizzard Arcade Collection, Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration kicked off a series of digital, interactive documentaries with both archive material and gaming experiences mixed in the same package. Earlier this year, Digital Eclipse launched its new Gold Master Series of game documentaries starting with The Making of Karateka.
Digital Eclipse describes itself as a small studio with big dreams, while Atari is a "legendary publisher" with a new blockchain-focused, retro gaming-heavy spirit. The two organizations will seemingly work well together, the studio's official press release states, and they have a bright, unwritten future ahead of them.
Digital Eclipse will not become a studio exclusively focused on Atari properties and IPs, however. After the acquisition, the company will keep pursuing its own projects. The developer has a lot of unannounced projects in the works that don't involve any Atari IP and those projects will continue as planned.
The Californian studio will continue with its newly introduced Gold Master Series, telling "gaming history's most important stories" through the interactive documentary format. Atari also wants this series to continue. The Digital Eclipse acquisition should be finalized in the coming days, with Atari's "initial consideration" of $6.5 million to purchase the studio.