In a $300m deal, Square Enix is selling three of its studios and the rights to over 50 games to Embracer Group.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering who the heck Embracer Group is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Embracer Group is, in its own words, a “a parent company of businesses led by entrepreneurs in PC, console, mobile and board games and other related media.”
In other words, while you typically won’t see its name pop up at the beginning of a game, they own multiple publishers and developers that you will recognise, such as Gearbox Software, THQ Nordic, Koch Media and more. However, according to this GamesIndustry.Biz interview, Embracer steers clear of micromanaging these companies and grants them a significant amount of independence.
That’s good news for Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, Square Enix Montréal who, assuming this deal goes through, will become part of Embracer. Crystal Dynamics has handled the Tomb Raider series from Tomb Raider Legend onwards and, with Eidos-Montreal, worked on the recent Marvel’s Avengers game.
Today we have entered into agreement to welcome over 1000 new colleagues through the acquisition of @CrystalDynamics, @EidosMontreal, and @SquareEnixMtl with a fantastic catalog of IPs such as Tomb Raider and Deux Ex, to be part of our ecosystem.https://t.co/NqELDQKTGe
— Embracer Group (@embracergroup) May 2, 2022
Square Enix Montréal, on the other hand, have mostly worked on mobile games, which suggests that Embracer has plans to resurrect or republish some of the titles its purchased on iOS or Android. Hang on.. some of the titles? Yes, because while their $300m will give Embracer the rights to Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief and vampire series Legacy of Kain, there are over 50 back-catalogue games included in the deal.
Which games? Embracer have yet to disclose specific names, though it’s become increasingly and disappointingly common for publishers to sit on old IPs, even if they have no intention of doing anything with them. Activision Blizzard, for example, holds the rights to Metal Arms and, though it hasn’t touched them in years, refused to sell them back.
So what does Square Enix get out of all this? Three hundred million dollars for a start, though as multiple people have pointed out, that’s a surprisingly low figure considering just what Embracer is getting their hands on and, correspondingly, could make from these acquisitions. According to a press release, Square Enix will use the money to invest in AI, the cloud, and magic beans.. sorry, the blockchain.
SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. enters into an agreement with Embracer Group for the acquisition of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, Square Enix Montréal, and IP.
Press Release: https://t.co/ooOYacp4PW pic.twitter.com/2PmQE967gk
— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) May 2, 2022
Could this all fall through? Yes, though both companies have indicated this is pretty much a done deal and will be signed off some time between July and September. Our thoughts are with the 1,000 or so staff at these three developers; we have our fingers crossed that the transition goes well, that they were given notice ahead of time and that no-one loses their jobs.
And, hey, if we get a new Legacy of Kain out of it, that’s a bonus too.