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Sega acquires Demiurge Studios, but not its best-known game, Marvel Puzzle Quest

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sega Networks, the mobile publishing arm of Sega, has acquired independent developer Demiurge Studios as part of a series of investments in the Western market, Sega announced today.

In addition to picking up Demiurge, Sega Networks purchased a majority stake in Ignited Artists, a San Francisco-based startup that's currently working on its first project, and made a "strategic investment" in London-based Space Ape Games. Terms of the three deals were not disclosed.

"We're constantly evaluating the independent mobile game space for studios that fit our vision of fun, high-quality gameplay experiences," said Haruki Satomi, CEO of Sega Networks, in a press release today. "Demiurge underscores our commitment to investing in the West and complements our current roster of US and European mobile studios, including Three Rings and Hardlight. In addition, our strategic investments in Ignited Artists and Space Ape Games solidifies our commitment to publishing quality games across the globe."

Demiurge Studios was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2002. The company has a long history of assisting external studios and publishers with projects such as ports and multiplayer maps, and has also developed two original games: 2012's Shoot Many Robots and 2013's Marvel Puzzle Quest. Demiurge CEO and co-founder Albert Reed will remain studio head while also taking the title of vice president of product management for Sega Networks. The company will remain at its current offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will continue operating under the Demiurge name.

"Joining Sega Networks lets us align with a truly global partner that shares our approach to design, so together we can create the kinds of entertaining, fun and engaging games we all want to make," said Reed.

GamesBeat reports that the rights to Marvel Puzzle Quest, Demiurge's popular match-3 puzzle game, aren't included in Sega Networks' acquisition of Demiurge. The engine that the game runs on, however, was part of the deal.

"To clarify, we did not get the actual rights to Marvel [Puzzle Quest] with that acquisition — that's a separate relationship," said Chris Olson, senior vice president at Sega Networks, in an interview with GamesBeat. "But we fully intend to strengthen the title and help it be all that it can be," Olson added. Regarding the game engine, he said, "Certainly we're happy to pick that up as part of the deal."

For more on Sega Networks, check out our interview with company CEO Satomi from June 2014.