Codemasters Bought Slightly Mad Studios

Codemasters now owns Slightly Mad Studios

Codemasters, the developer behind some of today’s most acclaimed racing games, has just acquired Slightly Mad Studios, the developer of Need for Speed and Project CARS. The purchase is worth $30M currently, but estimates say that it could rise to $67M in a three-year clause earnout. The $30M is just an upfront fee, as the acquisition of the Slightly Mad’s 150 employees reportedly costs $25M in cash and $5M in stock.

Codemasters were founded in 1986, thirty-three years ago, in England. The British developer and publisher has been a major force in video gaming since the early ‘90s. They are best-known today for their TOCA series, Operation Flashpoint, McRae Rally, and Lord of the Rings Online. However, the company also worked on strong old school titles from the past Millennium, like BMX Simulator, Pete Sampras Tennis, Dizzy Series, and others.

Operation Flashpoint

Slightly Mad Studios also hails from the UK, and as a much younger studio, it also achieved critical acclaim with several of their titles, primarily racing games. They are best known for Need for Speed: Shift and Project CARS series. The studio also developed its own game engine called Madness Engine and used for developing Project CARS 2. Earlier in 2019, the studio announced plans to build a powerful console of their own and now we hear that they are going under Codemasters’ wing.

A selected list of Codemasters gameography:

  • Super Robin Hood (1985)
  • BMX Simulator (1986)
  • Grand Prix Simulator (1987)
  • Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure (1987)
  • Italia 1990
  • Psycho Pinball (1994)
  • Pete Sampras Tennis (1994)
  • TOCA Touring Car Championship (1997)
  • Colin McRae Rally (1998)
  • Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001)
  • Overlord: Minions (2009)
  • F1 2009
  • Grid Autosport (2014)

Of course, the list is far from complete as the studio also handled virtually all the sequels to all their successful games. However, as a younger studio, SMS has fewer titles under their belt, but memorable nevertheless…

Slightly Mad gameography:

  • Need for Speed: Shift (2009)
  • Shift 2: Unleashed (2011)
  • Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2012)
  • Biker Bash (2013)
  • Project CARS (2015)
  • Red Bull Air Race: The Game (2016)
  • Project CARS 2 (2017)

Red Bull Air Race - The Game

The studio also has Project Cars 3 and Project Cars GO announced, but this acquisition comes before many of the studio’s former plans, including the mentioned console development. The CEO of Codemasters, Mr. Frank Sagnier, followed up this purchase with a statement for the press:

“Codemasters’ acquisition of SMS will create a global leader in the racing genre. Their focus on AAA quality and the passion that they put into everything they create mirrors our own. Both companies have a number of world renowned, successful franchises along with exciting product development pipelines, supported by leading IP and some of the best talent in the gaming industry. The enlarged Codemasters will have greater scale and reach, diversified, predictable revenue streams and the opportunity to bring outstanding entertainment to a far wider audience. We welcome Ian and his team to the Codemasters family and can’t wait to start working together to create the future generation of racing franchises.”