Change to Pluto 13
Originally known as Piranha Bytes, the company was founded in 1997 in Ruhrgebiet, Germany, by five former members of Greenwood Entertainment Software
. In 1999, the company became a subsidiary of Phenomedia AG, a German publishing company that went public during the dot-com boom. Shortly after Piranha Bytes released their first game, Gothic
, in late 2001, Phenomedia went into insolvency proceedings after allegations that several executives had falsified balance sheets, for which several served prison sentences for securities fraud. In response, Piranha Bytes executed a management buyout to sever itself from Phenomedia, changing their name in Pluto 13.
Split With JoWood
In 2007, Piranha Bytes split with its long time publisher, JoWood Productions
. In the split, JoWood retained publishing rights to the company's Gothic
series, including future releases. This lead to Pluto's next title, Risen
, not being a game in the franchise, even though it highly resembles the Gothic series in using the same engine and storytelling mechanics, even to the point of being commonly referred to as Gothic 4.