Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures moves into video game publishing

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Annapurna Pictures, the production company behind films including Zero Dark Thirty and Her, is launching a new division focused on video game development and publishing.

Annapurna was founded by Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and has developed a reputation for writing relatively large checks for arty, director-driven films — though it’s also faced questions about whether it can become a real commercial force. (Annapurna movies released this year include Sausage Party, which made $140 million in theaters, and Wiener-Dog, which made just a little over $470,000.)

In the press release announcing Annapurna Interactive, Ellison said she has had “a great passion for video games for as long as I can remember” and pointed to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as one of her favorites.

“The artistry and diversity of interactive storytelling is exciting and we look forward to exploring the limitless possibilities in gaming,” Ellison said. “We want to empower artists across this medium to make Annapurna Interactive their home and I believe we’ve assembled the perfect team to make that happen.”

The company isn’t releasing many specifics about that team, except to say that it includes “game veterans” who’ve worked on God of War, Mortal Kombat and others. (A spokesperson told me there’s no single head of the Interactive division.)

Annapurna Interactive plans to release two titles this spring — Gorogoa, a hand-illustrated puzzle game from Jason Roberts, and What Remains of Edith Finch (pictured above), a “playable collection of short stories” from Giant Sparrow. The company said it will also release games from San Francisco-based Funomena and its creative director Keita Takahashi (creator of Katamari Damacy), as well as Ken Wong (the lead designer of Monument Valley).

Annapurna said its games will be available across platforms, including mobile, PC and console.