The Killer Instinct game that launched along side the Xbox One was unlike any Killer Instinct that came before it. It was a good game. I jest. But, Killer Instinct was a game that really surprised people at the launch of the Xbox One. The developer Double Helix had developed a fairly middling reputation in the gaming community. Their previous pedigree had been working on licensed movie games, some MX Vs ATV games, and their failed attempt at the Silent Hill franchise. Not all middling or bad games are the result of the developer and they proved that with the release of Killer Instinct. Against all odds, Double Helix developed a must-have fighting game out of a long dormant franchise and they put it together in an interesting package for less than $20.
That success has not gone unnoticed and last night Amazon announced that they have purchased developer Double Helix. Double Helix isn’t a development house known for its intellectual properties, so this isn’t a play to get their hands on beloved franchises. Amazon has also gone on to state that all 75 employees of Double Helix will be kept on during the transition. Also, no financial specifics were supplied in the press release. The interesting wrinkle in this story being that Double Helix was already contracted to develop DLC for the rest of “Season One” for Killer Instinct and their newest game Strider isn’t set to be released until the end of February. Microsoft has been the first to step forward and offer up that the future of Killer Instinct is safe and that the franchise is being handed off to another studio for future development. What isn’t clear is if the future development will be for the existing Killer Instinct game or a new entry in the franchise.
I am sure more details will surface soon. But, this situation does leave Microsoft in a precarious position. If Double Helix does not complete their work on the promised Killer Instinct content and Microsoft cannot get a team in line to finish off the promised offering, they could be put in a position where all of the goodwill earned by Killer Instinct could be squandered and they could be fighting an uphill battle to win back fans for a second time.
Only time will tell what happens to Killer Instinct, Strider, and Double Helix. But, I wish them all well. That Strider game looks like it could be totally awesome. We shall see at the end of this month!