Piranha Bytes, the well-known developer behind games like Elex, Gothic, and Risen, has recently faced closure. The studio, which was owned by Embracer, had been trying to find a buyer due to financial difficulties after a failed deal with Savvy Games Group last year.

Last year, Piranha Bytes had to let go of some employees, leading to rumors of a possible shutdown. Despite CEO Michael Rüve’s attempts to remain hopeful, German website GameStar reported that the studio was officially shut down in June. However, there has been no official confirmation from Embracer or Piranha Bytes themselves, although the studio’s website remains inactive.

In a surprising turn of events, Piranha’s leaders, Björn Pankratz and Jenny Pankratz, have announced the establishment of Pithead Studio, a new independent game development studio. They plan to address questions about the new venture on their YouTube channel every Monday.

Piranha Bytes, founded in 1997, is renowned for creating the beloved Gothic series, as well as the Risen and Elex games. Their latest release was Elex II in 2022. A remake of Gothic 1 is currently in the works by Alkimia Interactive, a different studio. THQ Nordic acquired Piranha Bytes in 2019, under the Embracer Group umbrella.

The closure of Piranha Bytes adds to a string of setbacks for Embracer, including the recent shutdown of Pieces Interactive, the developer behind Alone in the Dark. Embracer has been undergoing significant restructuring, which included layoffs, studio closures (like Volition Games and Free Radical), and the division of the company into three separate entities in April.

The future of Piranha Bytes may be uncertain, but the formation of Pithead Studio shows that the spirit of game development lives on. Fans of their work can look forward to seeing what new projects the team will undertake in the future.