Zynga Buys Bonfire Studios, Creating Its Sixth US Studio

Following up a string of social and mobile game developer acquisitions, Zynga has branched out in Dallas, Texas by buying Bonfire Studios, which is run by developers best known for their PC and console gaming work.

Bonfire won’t be a recognizable name to most social game companies. The studio was one of two that emerged in early 2009 from the collapse of Ensemble Studios, a Microsoft subsidiary that created the Age of Empires and Age of Mythologies series, as well as the Halo real-time strategy spinoff Halo Wars.

Unlike its sibling Robot Entertainment, which is continuing work on Microsoft’s RTS titles, Bonfire’s name hasn’t been attached to any new games since it was founded. The company has reportedly been doing third-party work on multiple platforms.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much to say about Zynga’s buyout of the group, other than that the social gaming giant has picked up a few more high-profile names from the core gaming world to join Brian Reynolds, the famed designer of Civilization II and Alpha Centauri who now heads up Zynga’s Baltimore studio and work on FrontierVille.

David Rippy, the CEO of Bonfire and former lead producer of Age of Empires 3, will become the general manager of Zynga Dallas. Two more Bonfire co-founders, Bill Jackson and Scott Winsett, will become creative director and senior art director at the new studio, essentially holding onto their previous roles.

With Zynga Dallas, there are now six Zynga studios across the United States. Many of those come from acquisitions made this year. Here’s a quick recap of Zynga’s buys this year, including its international acquisitions: