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Keywords Studios Acquires Age of Empires Developer

Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition is one of several titles in the series developed by Forgotten Empires.
Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition is one of several titles in the series developed by Forgotten Empires. / Courtesy of Microsoft

Keywords Studios has acquired Age of Empires development studio Forgotten Empires for $32.5 million, the former announced Wednesday.

Keywords, which has more than 70 locations in 24 countries, generally focuses on providing technical and creative support to other studios rather than leading development itself. It says this acquisition will further cement it as the "'go to' technical and creative services platform for the global video games industry."

"[Forgotten Empires] has been instrumental in helping to create, design and grow the hugely successful and expanding Age of Empires series," said Keywords CEO Bertrand Bodson in a statement. "Forgotten Empires' talented team brings experience and expertise particularly in real time strategy games and will be a great addition to our client offering and game development capability."

Shepherd founded Forgotten Empires in 2013. Keywords says he will continue to lead the studio's 53 staff members.

"Having worked alongside some of Keywords' development studios we know the cultural fit will work well and we look forward to working more closely together with the wider Keywords' group to drive the combined business forward," Shepherd said in a statement.

Keywords was founded in 1998. QA testers at its Edmonton, Canada location voted to unionize Monday, forming the first Canadian video game labor union in history. The company said it would voluntarily recognize the union, and contract negotiations are set to begin this week.