Catnip Games, an Austin-based studio headed by former Portalarium CTO and President Chris Spears, has just acquired Portalarium’s operating assets including their flagship fantasy MMORPG, Shroud of the Avatar. The announcement was made by Executive Producer Starr “DarkStarr” Long on the game’s official forums yesterday. “Chris has successfully led the design and the team for many years, he is an all-star A player,” said Long.
Hall of Fame Video Game Designer and Portalarium Co-Founder Richard “Lord British” Garriot also commented on the acquisition. “We’re immensely grateful to the community who has built this game with us,” said Lord British The community’s support and participation remains strong and growing, and Starr and I plan to continue being involved in the community and within the game.”
The announcement isn’t entirely unexpected. The alarm bells started ringing earlier this year with the closure of Portalarium’s physical offices back in March and Garriot dropping his CEO title in May with Chris Spears reportedly taking over the role. Portalarium also failed to file their annual SEC reports this year and have dodged questions regarding missing Kickstarter rewards, specifically the signed copies of Tracy Hickman’s Blade of the Avatar novel.
The good news is that work on Shroud of the Avatar will continue under the supervision of Chris Spears. “The development team remains with the project, and we plan to continue with the established patterns of regular releases, frequent live broadcasts, community events, release parties, and a development cadence focused on both constantly improving the core game, while also working towards Episode 2.”