Netflix has bought up a video game developer for the first time, with Oxenfree and Afterparty developer Night School Studio joining the company. It’s Netflix’s first step toward producing video game content in house, as they look to expand from TV and film streaming into the realms of gaming over the next few years.
Night School Studio co-founder Sean Krankel wrote in the announcement:
Night School wants to stretch our narrative and design aspirations across distinctive, original games with heart. Netflix gives film, TV, and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people. Our explorations in narrative gameplay and Netflix’s track record of supporting diverse storytellers was such a natural pairing. It felt like both teams came to this conclusion instinctively.
Meanwhile, Netflix’s statement says:
We’re inspired by their bold mission to set a new bar for storytelling in games. Their commitment to artistic excellence and proven track record make them invaluable partners as we build out the creative capabilities and library of Netflix games together.
It’s an interesting acquisition though, as Night School is a very story-driven (formerly) indie studio, it’s one that does fit with Netflix in some ways. It’s certainly clearer that the streaming giant’s ambitions go beyond simply creating tie in video games for their binge-able TV shows and movies. Then again, Oxenfree is currently being adapted into a TV series, so maybe it’s the reverse and Netflix really want to have the TV rights.
What’s not clear yet is what this means for Night School’s next game, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. A sequel to the 2016 indie original, the game is in development for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Playstation 4 in 2022. With Night School now a part of Netflix, they have confirmed that the game is still coming to these platforms, but it’s not clear whether MWM Interactive will still be the game’s publisher, or if Oxenfree II will now be tied to Netflix’s subscription in some way.
The end of their announcement reiterates the goal for the new Netflix gaming endeavour, that “Like our shows and films, these games will all be included as part of your Netflix membership — all with no ads and no in-app purchases.”