Lego Group purchases Lego Universe and dev team from Gazillion

The Lego Group has acquired Lego Universe -- and most of the NetDevil developers who were part of the project. A Gazillion representative explained to Joystiq that before Gazillion's acquisition of NetDevil, NetDevil had already begun Lego Universe as a work-for-hire project, and now Lego has bought the rights from Gazillion for Lego Universe itself.

"The transition of members of our team to the Lego Group allows us to conclude the work-for-hire segment of NetDevil's business and lets us expand our internally-published, free-to-play game businesses," said David Brevik, President and COO of Gazillion. "We're proud of the Lego Universe game that our team built, and we are certain that it has a bright future."

Gazillion notes there was a "minor staff reduction" at NetDevil, but that most of the staff was retained by Lego. Lego System A/S is expected to take over the space that NetDevil is currently occupying, and the remaining non-Lego-aligned NetDevil staffers are moving to a new building. NetDevil is currently working on Fortune Online, with Gazillion unable to comment on the status of Jumpgate Evolution due to the current legal entanglement.

Update: Following up on NetDevil's "minor staff reduction," a Gazillion rep told us: "Less than a quarter of the Lego Universe team was let go with the transition."

We weren't able to obtain NetDevil's prior or current head count, but we were told that 40 people are working on the Fortune Online project, which is the studio's key focus.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.