Embracer Group, the massive Swedish video game giant that bought Dark Horse Comics last December, has announced that it will acquire Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal. The deal struck will give publisher Square Enix a cool 300 million dollars for the three studios.
The acquisition of these studios will apparently include their respective IP catalogs. That means Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and, of course, Tomb Raider, all of which are moderately popular and yes, financially successful franchises, despite Square Enix insistence that they’re all disappointments. The deal is set to close in fall 2022, and will also book them a back catalog of over four dozen games.
Already Square Enix is thrilled to count the cash that they’ll be getting when Embracer acquires Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal. They’ve announced plans to put the money towards research and development into projects involving NFT and blockchain technologies. According to a press release, the deal “enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.”
As for Square’s remaining non-Japanese properties, it still has Square Enix External Studios and Square Enix Collective. They also maintain the rights to franchises such as the Just Cause series, Outriders and the Life is Strange series, all of which have been shepherded for the publisher by third party studios like Dontnod Entertainment, Deck Nine Studios, People Can Fly and Avalanche Studios.
In a separate statement, Square Enix America and Europe CEO Phil Rogers said: “Embracer is the best kept secret in gaming: a massive, decentralized collection of entrepreneurs whom we are thrilled to become a part of today,” adding that the company will allow Square “to forge new partnerships across all media to maximize our franchises’ potential and live our dreams of making extraordinary entertainment.” Whatever that means.
Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors said, “We recognize the fantastic intellectual property, 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.”
There’s been murmurs and whispers in the past that Square Enix was looking to offload its western studios, due to the publisher’s low regard for the performance of releases like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex and Outriders, marking them as underperforming disappointments.
The deal will bolster Embracer Group’s already thick portfolio of developers and publishers. When it closes, the three Square Enix studios will be joining Gearbox Entertainment, Kock Media, Saber Interactive as well as a bevy of partner studios such as Asmodee, Coffee Stain, DECA Games and Easybrain.
There had been some minor speculation that Microsoft could acquire Crystal Dynamics separately, given that the Redwood, California-based developer has taken point on development of the Perfect Dark reboot and has a history of collaboration with Xbox Game Studios. But that was speculation, nothing more.