The Embracer Group have acquired Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal- along with various intellectual properties (IPs) including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and more.
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Formerly known as THQ Nordic, the Embracer Group has been on a feeding frenzy of acquisitions since late 2020. The list includes Flying Hog Wild, Gearbox, Aspyr Media, 3D Realms, Slipgate Ironworks, Demiurge Studios, Dark Horse, Perfect World Entertainment, and more.
Now, the Embracer Group’s May 2nd announcement confirms Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal are now under their wing- all originally subsidiaries of Square Enix.
The press release opens declaring, “Embracer Group AB (”Embracer”) has entered into an agreement to acquire the development studios Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, Square Enix Montréal, and a catalogue of IPs including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain and more than 50 back-catalogue games from [Square Enix].”
In addition to an estimated 1,100 employees, the press release reveals “The total purchase price amounts to USD 300 million on a cash and debt free basis, to be paid in full at closing.”
“We are thrilled to welcome these studios into the Embracer Group,” said co-founder and Group CEO Lars Wingefors. “We recognize the fantastic IP, world class creative talent, and track record of excellence that have been demonstrated time and again over the past decades.”
“It has been a great pleasure meeting the leadership teams and discussing future plans for how they can realize their ambitions and become a great part of Embracer.”
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“Embracer is the best kept secret in gaming: a massive, decentralized collection of entrepreneurs whom we are thrilled to become a part of today,” praised Square Enix America and Europe CEO Phil Rogers.
“It is the perfect fit for our ambitions: make high-quality games, with great people, sustainably, and grow our existing franchises to their best versions ever,” Rogers stated. “Embracer allows us to forge new partnerships across all media to maximize our franchises’ potential and live our dreams of making extraordinary entertainment.”
The press release continued, stating “The acquisition brings a compelling pipeline of new installments from beloved franchises and original IPs, including a new Tomb Raider game.” Later comments also suggested it wouldn’t just be Tomb Raider getting a new game.
“Embracer sees an opportunity to invest in these franchises [Tomb Raider and Deus Ex], as well as the additional acquired IPs such as Legacy of Kain, Thief, and other original franchises.”
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The Initiative, co-developers of the upcoming Perfect Dark reboot, also revealed Crystal Dynamics would continue to work on the game.
“We’re excited to see Crystal Dynamics take these next steps with their studio,” The Initiative tweeted. “Our teams have made great progress in building Perfect Dark together as co-development partners, and we will be continuing this work with them in their next chapter.”
Square Enix also offered their comments in a press release, stating the sale would “assist the Company in adapting to the changes underway in the global business environment by establishing a more efficient allocation of resources, which will enhance corporate value by accelerating growth in the Company’s core businesses in the digital entertainment domain.”
“In addition,” Square Enix note, “the Transaction enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud. The move is based on the policy of business structure optimization that the Company set forth under the medium-term business strategy unveiled on May 13, 2021.”
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda previously stated in an interview his interest in “play-to-earn” blockchain games. That same interview saw him state that “even if Japanese imitate Western games, they will not be able to produce good ones.”
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“The Company’s overseas studios will continue to publish franchises such as JUST CAUSE, OUTRIDERS, and Life is Strange,” Square Enix reassured.
It should be noted Crystal Dynamics developed 2021’s Marvel’s Avengers, which resulted in a $48 million loss, and failed to offset its initial development costs. One year later, President Matsuda admitted it “produced a disappointing outcome.”
Likewise, Eidos-Montréal’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, “undershot our initial expectations,” though there are recent signs of sales improving.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Shadow of the Tomb Raider– both series aforementioned- also underperformed. This was at least with initial sales for the latter, and alleged based on a cancelled sequel and sources speaking to Kotaku regarding the former. However, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Final Fantasy XV were cited as increasing Square Enix’s net sales in 2016.
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While it’s likely Square Enix still holds the rights to some Marvel video-games, the sale could be seen as them ousting developers who underperformed, along with IP they have no intent to continue work on or revive.
The need for cash may be explained with a number of Square Enix titles which failed to live up to their expectations, suffered bad PR, or poor reception. These include Chocobo GP, Babylon’s Fall, Neo: The World Ends with You, Balan Wonderworld, and Outriders.
Despite Square Enix reporting a $33 million loss in late 2018, the company raised their forecasts in February of this year to a record 50.1 billion yen (an estimated $3.8 billion).
This was attributed “primarily due to ‘FINAL FANTASY XIV’ paying subscriber growth and the December 2021 release of [the Endwalker] expansion pack.” However, HD game sales “did not reach level seen last year, when we released major titles.”
What classic IPs are you hoping to see again from Crystal Dynamics, Eidos, and Square Enix Montreal’s past? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.
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