Developers Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal have officially regained rights over their popular series, such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex. Earlier this year Embracer Group acquired both companies and their properties from Square Enix Limited for roughly $300 million.
Crystal Dynamics revealed in a blog post that they had reclaimed Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain, among others. Similarly, Eidos Montreal confirmed they had acquired ownership of the Deus Ex and Thief games.
Embracer’s purchases from Square Enix followed a somewhat contentious relationship between the developers and their former parent company, as Square frequently criticized the sales figures of their games following release. For instance, Square president Yosuke Matsuda denigrated the latest entry in the Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, for what he described as slow adoption. The game had shipped a little over 4 million copies in its first few months. Last year, the company also lambasted the sales numbers of Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Square Enix explained selling Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal as a move meant to create “a more efficient allocation of resources,” in part so that the company could move forward with “investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.” The proliferation of blockchain and NFT games have been criticized as bad for the gaming industry, bad for the planet, and bad for the people playing them, so this news was poorly received by many.
Embracer Group has been on an acquisition spree over the previous few years, recently acquiring Gearbox Studios, the makers of Borderlands, for roughly $1.3 billion. Before this, they had also purchased the THQ trademark, Saber Interactive, and dozens of other companies to form 12 sub-companies, called operation groups, for publishing.
Crystal Dynamics most recently released Marvel’s Avengers, which met a mixed reception from critics and audiences. They announced earlier this year that they are working on a new Tomb Raider game in Unreal Engine 5. Eidos Montreal shipped Guardians of the Galaxy last year and have not worked on a mainline Deus Ex since 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.