Pluto 13 GmbH is a developer of computer games located in the Ruhrgebiet, Germany’s industrial heartland. It is known for its label Piranha Bytes® under which the company has developed the much acclaimed GOTHIC® computer roleplaying series.
Pluto 13 GmbH was founded in 2002 by employees and management of Piranha Bytes Software GmbH. Piranha Bytes Software GmbH was itself founded in 1997 and later (1999) turned into a 100% subsidiary of Phenomedia AG, a company listed on Germany’s Neuer Markt stock exchange. In 2001 the first GOTHIC game was released to the public. In May 2002 Phenomedia AG went into insolvency proceedings due to irregularities for which several former group managers (not Piranha Bytes’ management!) have been tried for in a German criminal court of law.
It was therefore decided to make a clean cut and negotiate an MBO with the administrator, which was concluded in September 2002. Pluto 13 GmbH was founded and major assets, trademarks and most staff were transferred to the new company. One of the four original founders remains with the team in a leading position.
Pluto 13 GmbH is a privately owned limited liability corporation under German law, all shares are held by staff and management. Current (2009) staff is about 22 persons - all but of one doing active development (designers, programmers, scripters, artists...).