October 12th 2011 3:00 am PT

Microsoft Studios Acquires Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel


Today we announce that Twisted Pixel is joining the Microsoft Studios Family. Read the full press release below while I go and check the policy on shipping BBQ through interoffice mail:

Microsoft Studios Acquires Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel

Acclaimed studio behind Xbox LIVE Arcade’s “Splosion Man” and Kinect for Xbox 360’s “The Gunstringer” to incubate new game and entertainment experiences for Microsoft Studios.

As a step in continuing to deliver Microsoft Studios’ innovative game and entertainment offerings, Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Austin, Texas-based game developer Twisted Pixel, the creative minds behind Xbox LIVE Arcade titles such as “Splosion Man” and the recent Kinect for Xbox 360 title, “The Gunstringer.”

From its beginnings in 2006 as independent studio developing award-winning Xbox LIVE Arcade titles, Twisted Pixel will now bring its talented team of developers to Microsoft Studios to help incubate and develop the future of game and entertainment offerings on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform.

“Twisted Pixel has an incredible track record of innovative, critically acclaimed, and most importantly, fun, games,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Studios. “Microsoft Studios is home to cutting-edge entertainment experiences, and the incredible creativity of the Twisted Pixel team will help drive further innovation around Kinect and Xbox LIVE.”

“It is really exciting for us to solidify our long-standing relationship with Microsoft Studios, who we consider to be the leader in digital distribution and creating new innovations in gaming like Xbox LIVE and Kinect,” said Michael Wilford, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twisted Pixel. “As part of the family of Microsoft Studios we look forward to bringing even bigger and richer experiences to Xbox and Twisted Pixel fans around the world.”

With today’s announcement, Twisted Pixel becomes the latest member of Microsoft Studios, joining such prestigious and globally-recognized game creators as Lionhead Studios and Rare Ltd., on a team whose charter is to create exclusive experiences that differentiate Microsoft’s platforms.

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Gaming, Industry By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoshuaM55 Joshua Moore

    great news for both microsoft and twisted pixel, hope there are more great games to come between them both :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Corey-Oliver/1671793086 Corey Oliver

    An excellent acquisition. Treat them well, MS, as their games are fun, challenging (too, sometimes), and and have so many perks for the price that they’re one of the best values in gaming.

  • http://twitter.com/ibrigs19 rigs19


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000081692800 Iskandar Dzulkarnain

    Heck Yeah! Twisted Pixel has done me good thus far! 

  • http://twitter.com/GlennZA Glenn Alexander

    May Twisted Pixel continue to grow and may Microsoft Studios take good care of ‘em.

    Look forward to what we will be seeing in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Tenspel/578534292 Stephan Tenspel

    Good job microsoft :)

  • Anonymous

    A star signing! Money well spent I think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Simon-Harrison/100000068992405 Simon Harrison

    mmm BBQ!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAKHWPNACVMTQFN7HTKPJFLRYU Raphael Braga

    Please, Microsoft… don’t screw them up like you’ve done with Rare…

    • http://twitter.com/boeboelord Boe2

      …but make them succeed like Bungee? Good point :)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAKHWPNACVMTQFN7HTKPJFLRYU Raphael Braga

        Sure! :-D

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAKHWPNACVMTQFN7HTKPJFLRYU Raphael Braga

        Sure! :-D

    • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

      Um, you mean the Rare that does ALL the avatar stuff and made the excellent Kinect Sports games?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAKHWPNACVMTQFN7HTKPJFLRYU Raphael Braga

        Nope… I’m talking about the Rare that I’m missing since Killer Instinct, Jet Force Gemini, nice Banjo-Kazooie / Tooie games, Conquer’s Bad Fur Day and, last but not least, Goldeneye 007.

        Avatars are great, we don’t have what to discuss and Kinect Sports the same… but I feel there’s a lack of some really great games coming from them, different from Nintendo times…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=761838071 Peter Tilbrook

    And yet all these missing games and demos in Oz. And they closed Ensemble Studios.

  • http://twitter.com/mathuthe Mathias Olivera

    Love this, but DO NOT make them make Kinect games only. I have every arcade game these guys ever made, and I love their creativity. Kinect is not what true gamers want. Keep that in mind, Hyrb. 

    • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

      If Rare had still been with Nintendo do you have any doubt that they would be making motion games?

      • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

        Disregard this comment. Got it mixed up with a previous thread. Disqus won’t let me delete it.

    • http://twitter.com/mcmax3000 David

      I own seven or eight Kinect titles (Including The Gunstringer, which is one of my favourite games of the year) & have another one pre-ordered… I guess that means I’m not a “true” gamer?

      Get over it.

      True gamers want to play fun games. They don’t care what platform or control method is being used as long as it’s a well made game that is fun to play.

      I personally welcome whatever Twisted Pixel does next, be it for Kinect or a standard controller.

  • http://twitter.com/Gorkinlot Gorkinlot


  • http://profiles.google.com/thief000 J.A.J.G. Thiéfaine

    VERY GOOD!, Now buy Cave and Treasure. Don’t give up on Japan guys, you just need a stronger presence there.

  • http://profiles.google.com/thief000 J.A.J.G. Thiéfaine

    VERY GOOD!, Now buy Cave and Treasure. Don’t give up on Japan guys, you just need a stronger presence there.

  • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

    Full-motion videos in all Microsoft software! :P

  • danielfraser17

    I feel sorry for them. I can bet they had no chance but to sell their souls to M$.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that sucks. At least now we have an explanation for the Gunstringer debacle.

    • http://twitter.com/NinjaCombo Ninja Combo

      Debacle? The game’s awesome wth are you talking about Willis?

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps you missed the backstory where it was slated to be an XBLA game and in the last few weeks before release, they announced it would be a disc-based game instead (read: mo’ money). It’s not the game that’s the problem, it’s the politics and the way MS was already pushing TP around.

        Were you the one who flagged my comment? There wasn’t anything offensive in it–unless you count a little negativity toward MS offensive.

        • http://twitter.com/NinjaCombo Ninja Combo

          I didn’t flag anything, and about the “debacle” thing, it came with more content, which it couldn’t be provided if it was to sell in the XBLA store, so the whole deal wasn’t really a “debacle”, it was more of a better deal. Plus it gave us a token for Fruit Ninja Kinect, which is 800 MP in XBLA or $10

          • http://twitter.com/regames Re: Games

            There are games in XBLA with more content/gameplay hours than Gunstringer – including other TP games such as Ms. Xplosion Man. And including Fruit Ninja and a code for free DLC is a clear sign they knew there wasn’t enough content to justify a disc-based release with the game alone. But the opportunity was too good to pass up – there are a lot of Xbots out there who bought Kinect and ‘needed’ a ‘hardcore’ game for it, so MS seized the chance to market Gunstringer that way (which was both a stroke of marketing genius and the joke of the year).

          • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

            Plus everyone is overlooking the real reason Gunstringer was a disc based game: XBLA games have a 2GB size-limit. Gunstringer was a bit over that.

  • Peter M.

    Apparently microsoft are in need of more kinect studios.

  • http://twitter.com/GreenMistt Miller

    Twisted Pixel will now go the way of Rare.

    • http://twitter.com/coldmilk coldmilk

      why? Twisted Pixel has been a pretty dedicated and successful XBLA developer for a very long time. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The only thing that will change is they will now have larger budgets.

  • http://twitter.com/tsrblke tsrblke

    I hope MS treats them well.  They (at least Gunstringer) were in the Xbox Kinect area at PAX, but whoever was supposed to be at the booth to explain things abandoned it before we got there so we couldn’t figure it out at first (or even that it was a Twisted Pixel game).  Which is sad, because I love to try new Twisted Pixel stuff.

  • http://profiles.google.com/adaptorlive Adaptor Live


  • Anonymous

    So Sony gets Twisted Metal, Starhawk, Last Guardian, Sly 4… we get Gunstringer 2?

    • http://twitter.com/NinjaCombo Ninja Combo

      That’s not a bad thing, if you’ve played The Gunstringer you would know that.

      • Anonymous

        lol my comment was flagged because I’d rather have real exclusives than kinect shovelware

        • http://twitter.com/regames Re: Games

          That means mine above will soon be flagged too. Boy, if there is a bad Kinect game, it is The Gunstringer. It plays like a launch date Wii minigame collection and adds insult to injury with its swearing-child humor.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/ZephyrnixLive Lydell Washington

          Well, what about Forza, Halo & Gears? Plus, I doubt we get Gunstringer 2 (though as I understand, it’s pretty good), I agree with you, I would rather have more NON-Kinect exclusives. 

          That being said, if it helps any. Who the hell knows when Last Guardian is coming out, maybe never or maybe the same time as Eyedentify

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/ZephyrnixLive Lydell Washington

          Well, what about Forza, Halo & Gears? Plus, I doubt we get Gunstringer 2 (though as I understand, it’s pretty good), I agree with you, I would rather have more NON-Kinect exclusives. 

          That being said, if it helps any. Who the hell knows when Last Guardian is coming out, maybe never or maybe the same time as Eyedentify

  • http://twitter.com/NinjaCombo Ninja Combo

    YEAAHH!!! I hope Microsoft gives Twisted Pixel some money so they can upgrade their Beard engine to Beard Engine 2.0, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! lol

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628866887 Jackson Davidson

      I wonder what they would do for their next commerical on Beard Engine 2.0

  • http://thetjhzone.blogspot.com Tylerh1701

    Wow I’m the only one who thinks this is bad news?

  • Logic Squirrel

    Bad and don’t care.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft Studios to stop Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel from being Indie anymore


    That doesn’t mean it’s bad news by default; they might continue making great software, but under new directions.

    I still recall an interview @ trueachievements where TP congratulated about the joys of being indie. Maybe I’m wrong but indie and major labe@tylerh1701:disqus  are antonymous words…

  • http://twitter.com/regames Re: Games

    It isn’t like anything will change. Which is a pity, since The Gunstringer was the most atrocious game of the year and nothing indicates Twisted Pixel will ever climb off that pit of 10-year-old humor they’ve dug for themselves by now.

  • Anonymous

    where is RARE???

    • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

      Busy making ALL the avatar stuff and the Kinect Sports games.

      • Anonymous

        really? what a waste of talent…..

  • http://twitter.com/karlcramer Karl Cramer

    The reason Kameo didn’t get a sequel isn’t that Rare was too busy. It didn’t sell at all. 500,000 worldwide. If it sold there would’ve been more.

  • http://twitter.com/NinjaCombo Ninja Combo

    I can’t fathom the hypocrisy of some Xbox “fans”, first complain about the lack of exclusive titles and studios, then complain about the “same” series exclusive titles coming every year and now complain about Microsoft buying a studio to incorporate it on its OWN studio to create exclusive titles.. most of you are just haters. I find the acquisition of Twisted Pixel as an awesome win for all Xbox fans. Ps3 fans not so much.

    • http://twitter.com/JuanCabrera Juan Cabrera

      I agree with you ninja!  A lot of the Twisted Pixel games were only on XBLA anyway so it makes logical sense to acquire them!  It’s just people trying to get something to complaing about.  Hell, if Microsoft acquired Nintendo, Xbox fans would still find a way to complain!  With all the characters Twisted Pixel makes, it is great to finally have some more Xbox mascots other than Master Chief and Marcus Fenix. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/kuulamiles Kuula Miles

    Get to work right away on Game Room.

  • http://twitter.com/DeLaRec Rb Live


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1006976887 Albert Hood

    Congrats Twisted Pixel. It is well deserved.