Activision Blizzard intends to acquire Proletariat, a Boston-based game studio that developed the wizard-themed battle royale game “Spellbreak.”
VentureBeat first reported that the Santa Monica-based publisher was exploring a purchase, noting its ongoing mission to expand the staff working on Blizzard’s hit massively multiplayer online game “World of Warcraft,” which launched in 2004.
Proletariat’s team of roughly 100 people will be merged into Activision’s “World of Warcraft” team to work on its upcoming expansion game. Though there’s no release date as yet for the title, “World of Warcraft: Dragonflight” is expected to debut before the end of this year.
Activision did not immediately return a request for comment. Financial terms of the deal were not available.
This Proletariat deal is Activision's latest push to consolidate its family tree by folding its subsidiary companies in under the Blizzard banner. More than 15 years after it bought out New York-based game developer Vicarious Visions, Activision merged the business into its own last year, ensuring that the studio wouldn’t work on anything but Blizzard titles.
The deal could also have implications for workers at Activision who have looked to unionize. One subsidiary of Activision, Wisconsin-based Raven Software, cast a majority vote to establish its Game Workers Alliance—backed by the nationwide Communications Workers of America union—in May.
Until recently, Activision has remained largely anti-union in the face of its employees organizing—but it could soon not have much of a say in the matter once it finalizes its $69 billion sale to Microsoft, which said publicly it would maintain a “neutral approach” and wouldn’t stand in the way if more employees at Activision expressed interest in unionizing after the deal closes.
Each individual studio under the Activision umbrella would need to have a majority vote in favor of unionizing to join the GWA. Now, Proletariat’s workforce—which, somewhat ironically given its name, isn’t unionized—is another that could make such a decision leading up to the Microsoft deal’s expected closing in 2023.