Square Enix, the storied Japanese developer best known for the Final Fantasy series, sold their Western studios — Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal — and a number of high-profile properties to the Embracer Group.
The Embracer Group is an acquisition machine, swallowing up Borderlands developer Gearbox Software last year for $1.3 billion. Their shopping spree also included Volition, THQ Nordic, and Deep Silver, among nearly a dozen others.
The current lopsided $300 million deal will be signed off later this year; Embracer will own a “catalog of IPs” from the three studios, including Deus Ex, Tomb Raider (a new game in the series was just announced), and Thief — they will also inherit almost 1,100 employees.
Lars Wingefors, Co-founder and Group CEO, stated: “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.”
When the sale finalizes, estimated to be around the second quarter (July-September 2022), Embracer will have more than “14,000 employees, 10,000 engaged game developers, and 124 internal studios” spread across more than 230 games with 30 AAA games. Embracer claims to support the upcoming “increasingly strong demand for high-quality content, including AAA single-player games, over the [next] decade.”
Square originally ventured into Western development with the purchase of Eidos and Crystal Dynamics back in 2009, where they successfully rebooted the Tomb Raider series and crafted licensed efforts with Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers.
They aren’t pulling out of the West completely — according to a press release from Square, they will still be involved in publishing the Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange series.
$300 million seems like small potatoes for such an iconic catalog of games, especially considering the $3.6 billion Sony paid for Bungie, or the whopping $69 billion Microsoft paid for Activision. The Embracer group truly made off like bandits, but fret not: Square won’t be using the money toward any game development. Instead, the sale “enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.”
You can’t tell me becoming a Deus Ex villain in real life isn’t better than getting a new game in the series.