Catnip Games Acquires Shroud of the Avatar

As of October 2019 Austin-based production studio Catnip Games has acquired the operating assets of Portalarium, Inc.; primary of which is Shroud of the Avatar.

4 years ago

From the original forum post

As of October 2019 Austin-based production studio Catnip Games has acquired the operating assets of Portalarium, Inc.; primary of which is Shroud of the Avatar.

Portalarium was co-founded in 2009 by Hall of Fame videogame designer Richard Garriott (aka “Lord British”). Portalarium’s most recent game Shroud of the Avatar has a large global community of players which Catnip Games will continue to develop and expand.

Catnip Games was established by Chris Spears, who served as CTO of Portalarium for over 6 years and was appointed President of Portalarium in 2019.

Commenting about the acquisition, Richard Garriott noted “We’re immensely grateful to the community who has built this game with us. The community’s support and participation remains strong and growing, and Starr and I plan to continue being involved in the community and within the game.”

Starr Long, the executive producer of Shroud of the Avatar, also commented on the acquisition; noting that “Chris has successfully led the design and the team for many years, he is an all-star A player.”

Chris Spears added that “The development team remains with the project, and we plan to continue with the established patterns of regular releases, frequent live broadcasts, community events, release parties, and a development cadence focused on both constantly improving the core game, while also working towards Episode 2.”

Lowenstein Sandler provided legal counsel to Portalarium on this transaction. Deal terms were not disclosed. Any questions about the transaction should be directed to VLPC at

In addition, Chris Spears, the head of CatNip Games, has some additional information in a reply to the post.

Note, there is another game company called Catnip Games that made Bomberman for Xbox or something in Europe. They are completely unrelated. Catnip Games is a company started by me. The team is just the same old Shroud team.

I answered a lot of these questions during my stream today:

Short and not super specific answers due to various legal reasons:

  • Seed invest and other investors need to talk to the vlpc company listed for specifics. I suspect Seed Invest will send something out but the short version is, if CG does well, investors do too

  • Box shipping will resume as Richard just finished signing another 500 pieces which is the thing that was blocking the last few dozen

  • As others have said, Richard and Starr are still involved and team not really changing. Starr will still drive schedules and store stuff and yell at Chris on streams for showing off ugly stuff and such. 🙂

  • The team is not changing as a result of this change

  • Why? This dramatically reduces our costs and risks as a company and makes it much more flexible to work some deals to help us get help, especially in QA and CS areas but also in promotion of the game

While I sure some people are concerned, this is actually a huge win for everyone involved including the investors. Those that know me know there is no one more passionate about the game than me. I’m far from perfect (sorry archers) but I try my hardest and want the very best for the game and the community.

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