Square Enix is selling off its three major Western game studios along with the associated video game properties — which includes big names like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief. The studios and properties are set to be acquired by Embracer Group for an estimated $300 million; following regulatory approvals, the acquisition is set to be finalized between July and September of this year.
In total, Embracer is acquiring Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, which amounts to “1,100 employees across three studios and eight global locations.” In terms of game properties, the company will be the steward of brands including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain, “along with continued sales and operations of the studios’ more than 50 back-catalogue games,” according to Embracer. Among other games already in development, Crystal Dynamics recently announced that it’s working on a new Tomb Raider title.
Embracer is a quietly huge publishing group, which operates more than 100 studios including the likes of Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. It also owns comics and entertainment brand Dark Horse. Embracer says that, when the deal with Square Enix closes, it will have a total of 124 internal studios and 14,000 employees.
”We are thrilled to welcome these studios into the Embracer Group,” co-founder and CEO Lars Wingefors said in a statement. “We recognize the fantastic IP, 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.”
Square Enix originally began its move into Western game development in 2009 with its acquisition of Eidos Interactive, during which time it oversaw new Hitman, Tomb Raider, and Deus Ex releases along with an expansion into original Marvel games. In 2017, Hitman developer IO Interactive split from Square Enix to become an independent studio. Despite the deal, Square Enix isn’t completely out of the Western scene; the company noted it will still publish Just Cause, Life is Strange and Outriders games.
The news comes during a particularly busy time for video game acquisitions. Sony is buying Destiny developer Bungie for $3.6 billion, Take-Two spent $12.7 billion for FarmVille maker Zynga, and, in the biggest deal yet, Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion.