Keywords Studios is to acquire Gateshead-based Coconut Lizard, a company providing specialised game development services, for up to £2m.

Coconut Lizard was founded by Robert Troughton, a veteran video games programmer who successfully built up a studio he founded before selling it to Epic Games in 2014. 

Coconut Lizard provides a range of services including game optimisation, game hardening, game porting and middleware integration for the Unreal Engine game development suite.

Its clients include Microsoft’s Rare studio, where Coconut Lizard is providing a range of services to support and further develop the hit multiplayer game, Sea of Thieves. 

The business has added 10 developers to its team since January 2020 taking its current headcount to 29 with further growth expected during the year. 

Keywords Studios provides services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Riot Games, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, Epic Games and Ubisoft.  

Recent titles worked on by the firm include Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Mortal Combat X, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Rainbow Six Siege.  

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios said: “We are delighted to welcome Robert and the team at Coconut Lizard to the Keywords family.

The Coconut Lizard team will bring further expertise in the Unreal Engine as well as access to talent to our wider team of around 1,000 people working across our Game Development studios internationally. 

“Having recently successfully raised £100m in a placing, we are pleased to have completed our first acquisition despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We expect to complete further acquisitions over the months ahead from the strong and attractive pipeline of opportunities that we are currently reviewing.”