Warner Bros Takes Control Of Batman Game Maker Rocksteady

Already an investor in TT Games, Snowblind Studios and Midway Games assets, Warner Bros. (NYSE: TWX) Home Entertainment is buying further in to the video games market by acquiring a majority of London-based Rocksteady Studios, the developer that made the Batman: Arkham Asylum game starring WB’s superhero.

Group president Kevin Tsujihara tells FT the stake is 68.4 percent, though the price isn’t disclosed: “The biggest gap this fills is that it locks in development talent on one of our most valuable pieces of intellectual property for games: Batman.”

Last year’s Arkham Asylum was well received and has sold over three million copies. It was published by Eidos, of which Time Warner owned about a fifth, but – after Square Enix bought out Eidos – WB said back in December it would publish the forthcoming sequel itself.

WB owns Batman publisher DC Comics so the Rocksteady acquisition is to secure a lineage for future Batman games – Tsujihara, in the announcement, says it will mean the “continuation of the franchise”.

But Rocksteady will also be working on other games using other WB IP.

— WB bought TT, the developer behind the Lego series of games, in 2007, using it to redeploy its own Batman IP through Lego Batman, as well as Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

— Last year, it bought Snowblind to develop its The Lord Of The Rings games.

— And in July 2009, WB bought most of Mortal Kombat publisher Midway Games’ assets for $49 million.