Lunenburg's HB Studios Multimedia Ltd. may have hit a hole-in-one with the pending acquisition of the company by the major video game publisher 2K, which is bringing golf superstar Tiger Woods onto the development team.
On March 16, 2K of Novato, California announced it will acquire HB Studios, which developed the popular sports video game PGA Tour ®2K21, published by 2K Sports for Stadia, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s a continuation of The Golf Club franchise integrated with 2K Sports and the second game in the franchise to include a PGA Tour license.
On the same day, 2K announced it has agreed to an exclusive, long-term partnership with the iconic Woods, who will return to console video games as a licensing partner and series executive director.
"Thrilled for HB Studios and our team to be joining the Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and 2K organization! Oh, and welcome to the Team, Tiger Woods!" James Seaboyer, the chief executive officer of HB Studios, enthused on social media.
Founded in 2000 by Jeremy Wellard and headquartered in Lunenburg, HB Studios employs about 80 people who create console, mobile, and PC games.
LighthouseNOW reached out to HB Studios but was unable to connect with Seaboyer directly prior to publishing.
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment for video game consoles, personal computers and mobile devices, available through retail outlets and by digital download.
The company is home to a variety of development studios, including Visual Concepts, Firaxis Games, Hangar 13, Cat Daddy Games, 31st Union, Cloud Chamber. Its portfolio currently includes several AAA sports and entertainment brands, including global powerhouse NBA® 2K; renowned BioShock®, Borderlands®, Mafia, Sid Meier's Civilization® and XCOM® brands; popular WWE® 2K and WWE® SuperCard franchises; as well as the critically and commercially acclaimed PGA TOUR® 2K.
The deal with Woods grants 2K exclusive rights to use his name and likeness in the PGA Tour series and other golf games as long as their agreement lasts, reported Engadget, a multilingual technology blog network covering gadgets and consumer electronics.
On 2K's PGA Tour website, Woods was quoted saying he was looking forward to his return to the video game landscape, "and with 2K and HB Studios, I've found the right partners to make it happen. I'm honoured to take part in this opportunity and look forward to sharing my expertise and insights as we build the future of golf video games together."
While according to Polygon, an American video game website that publishes blogs, reviews, guides, videos and news, the deal makes HB Studios the seventh wholly-owned studio under the 16-year-old 2K publishing label. It also means the first video game appearance since 2013 for Woods, 45, "when he and Electronic Arts parted ways after his 15-year run on the cover of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series for EA Sports.
The terms of the deal with Woods nor HB Studios have been disclosed.
Woods has chalked up 15 major championship wins, 82 PGA TOUR victories, 11-time PGA TOUR Player of the Year, lowest career scoring average and tied for the most career wins in PGA TOUR history, among other accolades, notes 2K on its website.
He suffered injuries to both legs in a February car accident.
"In golf, there is no bigger icon than Tiger Woods. Like the rest of the world, we were saddened to hear of his recent accident, and we wish him a full and smooth recovery," David Ismailer, the president of 2K said on the website.
USA Today's "For the Win" reportedly called PGA Tour ®2K21 "unquestionably the best sim-style golf game ever created," and declared that, upon closing of the acquisition, which was expected to take place by the end of the month, HB Studios will join the others as a wholly-owned studio for 2K.
HB Studios's most recent release for 2K, PGA TOUR 2K21 has sold nearly two million units. Built around the belief that golf is a game for everyone, whether you are a pro or looking to try your luck for the first time, it's a highly realistic golf simulation experience featuring officially licensed PGA TOUR professionals, courses, gear and apparel brands.
"The developers' Lunenburg studio location will be retained as part of the acquisition for use as the head office for Canadian affiliate, Take-Two Interactive Canada, Inc., with plans to grow the business," 2K reported on its website.
"Through our new partnership and acquisition of HB Studios, we've reaffirmed our commitment to the PGA TOUR 2K franchise, expanded on our successful independent studio model and invested in both the right people and resources to bolster our portfolio of world-class sports experiences," said Ismailer.
"The team's love and knowledge of golf is immediately evident in our games. We're thrilled to officially become part of the 2K family and continue development of the PGA TOUR 2K franchise," 2K quoted Seaboyer stating."Our work with 2K on PGA TOUR 2K21 brought our capabilities and aspirations to the next level, and we can't wait to show the world what we're planning for the future," said Seaboyer.