Gearbox absorbs Saints Row studio, Risk of Rain IP

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Gearbox Entertainment has acquired the Risk of Rain IP from Hopoo Games as well as absorbed Saints Row developer Volition. The parent company of Gearbox Software, responsible for the creation and oversight of the Borderlands franchise, continues to grow its influence under the Embracer Group.

News mainly comes from the Embracer Group’s quarterly interim report. The folks over at Hopoo Games have concluded that they won’t be making any more Risk of Rain games in the future. But for folks who are very much attached to the series, some security can be had in the news that Risk of Rain still has a future: Hopoo has decided to sell the IP over to Gearbox, allowing them to take the reins and continue developing it as a franchise.

Gearbox released a Tweet acknowledging the acquisition of the IP, in which Hopoo quoted and called it an “excellent news for any Risk of Rain fans”. However, fan reception of the news has just been dreadful and disappointing. Gearbox has an uneven track record in managing IP and franchises it has taken charge of. Risk of Rain fans are painfully aware of what this change may entail in the future for their beloved series.

In the same vein of news, Volition, the very same folks who make Saints Row games, will now transition over to working under Gearbox Entertainment, from Plaion (formerly Koch Media). The change doesn’t necessarily mean that the studio will be closed down or its staff being absorbed by Gearbox. Instead, control of Volition and its franchises are being transferred to Gearbox. 

The change is likely because of the tepid response the last game had over the month of its release, and while it did meet financial expectations, the same couldn’t be said for the critical response. “The reception of Saints Row did not meet the full expectations and left the fanbase partially polarized,” according to the Embracer Group’s interim report, published today. “The game development studio, Volition, has been working hard to improve the player experience.”

“Financially, Saints Row has performed in line with management expectations in the quarter. Going forward, Volition will transition to become part of Gearbox which has all the tools, including an experienced management team in the US, to create future success at Volition.”

“This is the first internal group transfer where we transfer a major studio between operative groups, but it is not necessarily the last,” says on the report.

Gearbox Saints Row
The sun sets on Santo Ileso

The Saints Row reboot has had a rough launch, with graphical problems on the Series S, to some janky gameplay and questionable design choices. It’s no wonder this reboot didn’t hit the mark with fans of the series. Ultimately, the final product felt like a half-hearted attempt to ground the property and “bring it down to earth,” despite its reputation for bombastics.

Nonetheless, Saints Row will be facing an uphill battle in matters of perception and marketing, when the time comes for Gearbox and Volition to reveal new plans for the franchise.