Unity, makers of the eponymous game engine, have announced during their third quarter financials today the company is set to acquire New Zealand-based VFX house Weta. The latter is best known for their work on various movies, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Announced during their Q3 2021 finanical call, Unity stated their intent to acquire the New Zealand-based visual effects studio for a whopping $1.63 billion USD. Weta, which is responsible for some of the movie industry's most fantastic visual effects work from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies to Avatar, was co-founded 30 years ago by director Peter Jackson.
The deal aims to acquire Weta Digital's tools, pipeline, technology and talent, with Unity gaining ownership of them all.
Via the press release:
"Weta Digital will join Unity’s Create Solutions focused on the continual evolution of Weta Digital’s dozens of proprietary graphics and VFX tools, such as Manuka, Lumberjack, Loki, Squid, Barbershop, HighDef, CityBuilder, and many more. In the future, with Unity’s deep expertise in real-time, these world-class artist tools will be available to creators through an accessible cloud-based workflow."
Weta's VFX team will work as an independent, stand-alone studio, however, named WetaFX and is expected to become Unity's largest customer. The WetaFX studio will still be owned by Peter Jackson.
“Weta Digital’s tools created unlimited possibilities for us to bring to life the worlds and creatures that originally lived in our imaginations,” said Sir Peter Jackson, Chairman & Co-Founder, Weta Digital. “Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools. Offering aspiring creatives access to Weta Digital’s technology will be nothing short of game changing and Unity is just the company to bring this vision to life.”
Unity as a game engine has powered a multitude of games since launching onto the scene in 2005, most recently powering games like Genshin Impact and creature-collection MMO Temtem. It is the engine that will be running the upcoming MMO, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.