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Thunderful acquires UK and US publisher Rising Star Games

Indie publishing veteran Ed Valiente to lead the company

Thunderful - the games group that includes developers Image & Form and Zoink - has acquired Rising Star Games.

Rising Star is a UK-based company with offices in the US. It publishes numerous indie titles, and is best known for bringing hit Japanese games to the West. Its most recent release was Harvest Moon: Light of Hope on Nintendo Switch, which is published in Japan by Natsume.

Rising Star was acquired from Bergsala Holding, which also owns 50% of Thunderful.

Former Nintendo exec Ed Valiante, who joined Thunderful in April, will lead Rising Star Games as managing director. Former Rising Star boss Martin Defries has left the firm.

Thunderful is a Swedish group set-up in December 2017 between Bergsala Holding, Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson (25%) and Zoink Games CEO Klaus Lyngeled (25%). Its objectives were for the two studios to collaborate on PR, marketing and publishing, while a new division would be set-up to handle publishing third-party games. That division is called Thunderful Publishing, which is the part of the strategy that Rising Star would fit with. Valiente is also MD of Thunderful Publishing alongside his new responsibilities at Rising Star Games.

"Once he knew what we were planning, getting Ed hooked on the idea was easy," commented Thunderful CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson. "It's the first time we recruited from outside Sweden, so it's been a good exercise in dealing with Swedish red tape, housing and what have you. Having him on board is absolutely delightful."

Valiente added: "The team at RSG is very competent. We look forward to bringing in quality titles for us all to work with."

Rising Star Games was set-up in 2004 as a joint business venture between Bergsala Holding and Japanese publisher Intergrow.

Thunderful will be attending the GamesIndustry.biz Investment Summit this September. Tickets are available now.

Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year games business veteran. He spent nine years at UK business weekly MCV, including five years as editor. He joined GI in 2016 and oversees editorial, sales and events worldwide. He is the architect behind Best Places To Work Awards and GI Live. And is a tiny bit obsessed with market data. He also writes for Doctor Who Magazine. Because Doctor Who is awesome.