Embracer Group has shut down Volition, one of the longest-surviving game studios. The news comes two months after the developer celebrated its 30th anniversary. It remarked that “The future of Volition is bright, filled with new adventures, challenges, and unexplored worlds waiting to be created.”
So what happened? Volition’s recent Saints Row reboot wasn’t quite as well received as Volition or parent company Embracer would have liked it to be. And prior title Agents of Mayhem wasn’t the smash the studio wanted, either.
But it may also have had something do with Embracer’s fortunes. As reported by The Verge, a $2 billion deal fell through, which left the company hurting. The official statement is that it’s part of “a restructuring program to strengthen Embracer and maintain its position as a leader in the video game industry.”
Many people will know them as the Saints Row studio. But they’ve produced a wealth of games, starting with tunnel-based shoot-em-up Descent. They gave us Red Faction (with its destructible scenery), Freespace and many more.
The studio initially put out a matter-of-fact message but have since tweeted a more heartfelt letter to the community.
A letter to our community. pic.twitter.com/vtFM7szLbN— Volition (@DSVolition) September 1, 2023
“We can’t thank you enough for sticking with us throughout this time… .. you are why we kept making these games, and those of us that have been part of the Volition family will be eternally grateful,” the letter concludes.
So what happens now? According to Volition’s earlier message, they “..are working to provide job assistance … for our Volition family members.” One employee has noted that the closure couldn’t have come at a worse time, since it leaves them without health insurance for September.
It’s a real tragedy to see Volition go and we hope that all its staff land on their feet. But with layoffs reportedly also happening at Gearbox Software, we doubt this’ll be the last studio Embracer shutters.