The Embracer Group has embraced a host of new studios. The holding company on purchasing spree has agreed to acquire three of Square Enix’s Western studios, along with their franchises and back-catalogues. That’s Tomb Raider’s Crystal Dynamics, Guardians of the Galaxy (and Deus Ex) developer Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal (Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go).
The two publishers announced the $300 million cash transaction this morning, confirming that the deal includes over 50 IPs. The acquisition adds around 1,100 new employees to Embracer across the three studios’ eight worldwide locations.
“The portfolio of IP consists of iconic franchises appreciated by critics and players alike. For example, two original IPs, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, have sold AAA units of ~88M and ~12M, respectively,” Embracer said in a press release.
“Embracer sees an opportunity to invest in these franchises, as well as the additional acquired IPs such as Legacy of Kain, Thief, and other original franchises. The acquisition also includes the continued sales and operations of the studios’ more than 50 back-catalogue games.”
In its own press release [PDF], Square Enix confirmed that its Western arm will continue to publish Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange. The Square Enix Collective will also continue alongside its External Studios brands.
Marvel’s Avengers, which Crystal Dynamics is still supporting, was not mentioned in today’s announcement, so it will likely continue to be owned by Square Enix – at least for as long as the license agreement with Disney holds.
We know that Crystal Dynamics is working on a new Tomb Raider in Unreal Engine 5, alongside assisting Microsoft’s The Initiative with development of the Perfect Dark reboot. After the so-so launch of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s not clear what Eidos Montreal’s next project is going to be.
Square Enix has long had a tumoultuos relationship with its Western studios. Despite many of their games selling fairly well by industry standards, the publisher routinely considers them financial disappointments. This was true for Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Marvel’s Avengers, and more recently Guardians of the Galaxy.
This will at least ensure that the Japanese publisher won’t be complaining about its Western games underperforming in its earning reports, though there’s still Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange to fill that void.