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October 5, 2010


Zynga acquires Bonfire Studios. Studio to become “Zynga Dallas”

Some very interesting news has just surfaced in the last hour. Bonfire Studios is no more following the acquisition from social gaming giant Zynga. You may recognise Zynga for its incredibly popular (and successful) MySpace and Facebook applications, FarmVille and Mafia Wars. It would seem as though the creative minds at Zynga recognised the talent at Bonfire with many of its staff having heritage from Ensemble Studios. Here is the press release straight from the horses mouth:

Yeehaw! We’re thrilled to announce that Zynga is moving into the world of boots and BBQ today, with the acquisition of Bonfire Studios. Bonfire Studios brings world-class talent and an impressive résumé to the Zynga team, some of their employees having created popular PC and Xbox 360 games, such as Age of Empires, Age of Mythology and Halo Wars.

Starting today, Bonfire Studios becomes Zynga Dallas and will be developing original IP for the company – with Bonfire founders David Rippy, Bill Jackson and Scott Winsett leading the charge. David will serve as GM of Zynga Dallas, Scott will be senior art director and Bill will act as the creative director. Additional information on each included below:

  • David Rippy: Game industry veteran of over 15 years; served as president and CEO of Bonfire Studios and established the company’s vision, culture and direction
  • Bill Jackson: A veteran programmer and producer; was in charge of the creative direction of Bonfire’s projects, specifically with driving the creation of Bonfire’s original IP
  • Scott Winsett: Defined the visual style for Bonfire’s titles, with more than 14 years of relevant experience; strong leadership experience in the games industry with serving as the art lead on Age of Empires, The Rise of Rome Expansion and Halo Wars

Currently there is no word on what new games Zynga Dallas will be releasing other than the fact it will be based on new IP. There has been no announcement of games so far despite my prediction that there would be. (Sorry about that!)

Some of you may be wondering what this aquistion means for Bonfire and it its a good or bad thing. So here are my observations in a handy FAQ format:

What does this mean for the Bonfire Studios brand?

The Bonfire Studios brand and name will no longer continue and is superseded by the studio title “Zynga Dallas.” This might explain why Bonfire has been subtle about pushing its brand name with its game releases so far such as We Farm.

Why did Zynga aquire Bonfire?

No doubt to expand their studio portfolio and to pursure Bonfire’s new IP ideas. After recognising the talent at Bonfire it was no doubt a perfect oppurtunity for Zynga to form a Dallas based studio. Zynga must also believe the new IP Bonfire is working on has a strong case and market appeal. Something for us to be excited about!

Does this mean Bonfire are no longer an independent studio like Robot Entertainment?

Bonfire Studios are now part of Zynga in a similar way that Ensemble was to Microsoft. Bonfire is no longer an independent developer and is wholly owned by Zynga.

What are Zynga Dallas working on?

Zynga Dallas formerly Bonfire Studios are working on new, unannounced gaming IP. With Zynga now onboard this IP is going to be very exciting indeed.

What links should I check out for more information?

The Bonfire Studios website has been updated with a press release which you can see here:

Any more updates?

I will be keeping the blog updated as anymore news about Bonfire develops. Keep checking back!

Congratulations Bonfire on the acquisition!


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