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Riot was an early investor in the studio, which was founded in 2018 by the community mod team behind the popular Hypixel Minecraft server network.
Hypixel Studios currently employs over 40 developers based around the world, but it will hire an initial team of 20 staff to run a new office in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to handle back office functions and QA as it gears up to make Hytale “playable by everyone in 2021”.
The “community-powered” block title “combines the scope of a creative sandbox with the depth of a roleplaying game”, according to Hypixel, which said in a newly published FAQ that it’s “still finalizing the Hytale business model”.
It will include an open-world adventure mode playable solo or in groups, online minigames which players can create and share, plus an accessible toolset that “spans block-based construction, in-game scripting and moviemaking, and the Hytale Model Maker – a fully collaborative modeling and animation toolkit”.
The debut trailer for the game (above) has been viewed some 56 million times since its release in December 2018 and over 2.5 million people have signed up to the Hytale beta.
“We’ve known the team behind Hypixel Studios for several years, and from the start they’ve been the kind of visionaries that we aspire to support; a passionate studio committed to delivering a groundbreaking, genre-defining experience for players,” said Riot Games president Dylan Jadeja.
“Now, as they prepare to enter the next chapter, we’re thrilled to take our partnership to the next level through this acquisition. We look forward to supporting Hypixel Studios’ journey through the development process, helping them grow, and learning from them as well.”
Aaron Donaghey, the newly appointed CEO of Hypixel Studios, said: “We’ve been blown away by players’ response to Hytale, and Riot is the right partner to help us deliver a game that can live up to players’ expectations.
“Since our first meetings with Riot leadership long before their initial investment, we’ve found in Riot a partner with a similar commitment to empowering players. As development kicks into high gear, we’ll benefit from Riot’s resources, expertise, and experience while maintaining the operational independence that has enabled our success so far.”