Krafton, Inc. to acquire the Unknown Worlds, The developers behind Subnautica and Natural Selection. KRAFTON, Inc., known for its global hit title PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS and the upcoming AAA title, The Callisto Protocol, today announced its decision to acquire the creators of Subnautica, Unknown Worlds. This latest decision continues KRAFTON’s expansion strategy of securing and investing in top-tier talent that aspires to evolve, innovate, and create new experiences. The studio becomes KRAFTON’s sixth independent studio, joining a stable of other seasoned developers that include PUBG Studios, Striking Distance Studios, Bluehole Studio, RisingWings, and Dreamotion.
Unknown Worlds will come to KRAFTON with a vast amount of experience steeped in a rich history of creating community-driven gameplay experiences. Founded by Charlie Cleveland and Max McGuire in 2001, the studio created the highly popular Half-Life mod, Natural Selection, which went on to see a commercial sequel.
Continuing with its community-focused roots, the studio went on to release critical and commercial PC and console successes, Subnautica and Subnautica: Below Zero, in early access, before official launches. With Unknown Worlds’ proven ability to create immersive experiences that resonate with gamers around the world, the latest acquisition plan will help KRAFTON expand its IP and diversify the company’s portfolio of groundbreaking games.
Krafton, Inc. to acquire the Unknown Worlds, The developers behind Subnautica and Natural Selection
“Unknown Worlds are incredibly skilled and passionate developers with an unparalleled gift for creativity and a proven track record of building successful player-driven worlds.” said CH Kim, CEO of KRAFTON, Inc. “KRAFTON will spare no effort in helping them. Not only do they enhance our development capabilities, but we share a goal of creating unique experiences for global audiences.”
“It was immediately apparent how closely Unknown Worlds and KRAFTON are aligned in the way we think about games and game development,” said Charlie Cleveland, CEO of Unknown Worlds. “Subnautica and PUBG both started humbly and evolved successfully through constant iteration and feedback. We want to bring new games to the world stage – and with KRAFTON, we’re a big step closer. We’re truly looking forward to our future together.”
The studio will function as an independent game development studio wholly owned by KRAFTON and will continue to operate globally with talent seated throughout the world. Unknown-Worlds’ structure and leadership will remain in place to retain its unique creative identity. In addition to ongoing updates for Subnautica and Subnautica: Below Zero, Unknown Worlds is currently working on a new genre-defining game, which is slated to launch into early access in 2022.
Aream & Co. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the studios throughout the transaction, alongside Fenwick & West, who served as legal advisor. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Kim & Chang acted as legal advisors to KRAFTON.