Square Enix sells Tomb Raider, Deus Ex and Thief Studios

Tomb Raider and Deus Ex

Picture: Square-Enix

The Embracer Group, a mass of video game publishers swallowing the planet that already includes Gearbox and THQ Nordicannounced tonight an agreement to buy a number of studios and historic properties from Square Enix.

Although the purchase is not final – it is simply an “agreement to acquire them” until everything is signed later in the year – the press release announces that if approved , it will be a $300 million deal. For the $300 million, Embracer will get:

  • The Crystal Dynamics studios, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal (the latter is likely to change its name), have approximately 1,100 employees worldwide.
  • The “catalog of IP addresses” owned and/or operated by these studios, including Deus Ex, grave robber, Thief, Legacy of Kain and “the continued sales and operations of the more than 50 games in the studios back catalog”. Also of interest: “Crystal Dynamics is actively working on several AAA projects, including the upcoming mainline Tomb Raider game which will deliver next-gen storytelling and gameplay experiences.”

Square Enix bought Eidos (and Crystal Dynamics with it) in 2009, and while initially overseeing a number of well-received reboots of series like grave robber and Deus Exlater games in these properties, as well as licensed efforts like The Avengers and guardians of the galaxybecame something of a meme in recent years, because no matter how high their review ratings or how many copies they sold, Square Enix would always say games had “underperformed”.

Knowing perhaps that the first question most people would ask after a deal like this would be “so what’s going on with these series?” Embracer’s press release reads:

The acquisition brings a compelling pipeline of new installments of beloved franchises and original IPs, including a new grave robber Gaming. The acquisition builds on Embracer’s mission to create a leading independent global gaming and entertainment ecosystem. Embracer has been particularly impressed with the studios’ rich portfolio of original IP, home to brands with proven global potential such as grave robber and Deus Ex, while demonstrating the ability to create AAA games with large and growing fanbases. There are exciting opportunities for studios to grow organically to maximize their business opportunities.

Which is vague, but even more promising for fans of something like Deus Ex than the total silence and neglect of Square Enix in recent years. The purchase is “expected to be completed in the second quarter of Embracer’s fiscal year 22/23 (July-September 2022).

Note that Embracer spent $1.3 billion on Gearbox alone. To get it all thisfrom veteran studios to beloved properties for $1 billion less seems… like a steal.

So why sell? Square Enix’s own press release says:

The Transaction will help the Company adapt to the ongoing changes in the global business environment by establishing a more efficient allocation of resources, which will improve business value by accelerating the growth of the Company’s core digital entertainment businesses. In addition, the Operation enables the launch of new activities in moving forward with investments in areas such as blockchain, AI and cloud.

Imagine having to put on your CV that you have sold grave robber to at least partially finance some blockchain crap.

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