Square Enix sells Tomb Raider and western game studios to Embracer Group in $300 M

Square Enix sells Tomb Raider, all of its Western game studios—and their games—to Embracer
Square Enix to sell Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and more for $300 million to invest in the blockchain
Square Enix Selling Tomb Raider, Deus Ex & Thief (And Their Studios As Well)

On Monday, Japanese game publisher Square-Enix announced it was trading all of three Western video gaming studios together with a number of significant games and IP that are tied to these studios, to European publishing company Embracer.

The deal comprises game development studios Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square-Enix Montreal.

They were all previously entirely owned by Square-Enix and Embracer will take over all of their staff, totaling with around 1,100 employees and include well-known IP like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex as well as Kain’s Legacy Kain and an entire game publishing catalog that includes “over 50 games” for $300 million.

The deals IP is confirmed so but an announcement by Square-Enix confirms that its Western operation “will continue to develop games like the Just Cause, Outriders along with Life Is Strange.”

This indicates that Square-Enix will continue to hold some of its western-specific IP and that possible collaboration with Western game developers will be via publishing agreements with other game makers.

While console makers Microsoft as well as Sony have made news due to their megaton game maker acquisitions over the last couple of decades, Embracer has quietly built its own roster of primarily European studios over the last decade.

It was also known under it’s company’s name THQ Nordic beginning in 2014 following the acquisition of the rights to the former publisher’s name (though it doesn’t own every game it makes).

Its most significant acquisitions over the last 12 months have included video game producer Gearbox Software and board game maker Asmodee Games.

When you look at the balance of the balance sheet, those two deals both exceeded $1 billion, whereas today’s Square-Enix deal is well from that amount. This is a bit odd considering Square-Enix it announced the fact that Tomb Raider games’ lifetime sales had surpassed 85 million in October as part the celebrating its 25th birthday.

In comparison, the sales figure is at par with the most adored series from Square-Enix, Dragon Quest that had sold more than an 83 million game at the end of August the previous year.

As it’s an IP purchase, Embracer will likely also have that rights over Tomb Raider’s legacy as an Hollywood film franchise, even though the company is not yet confirmed whether previously reported Lara Croft-related films, one live-action and one animated are being developed.

Tomb Raider
image credit: news.softpedia.com

Square Enix sells Tomb Raider, Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, Deus Ex and more for $300M in the blockchain

Square Enix sells Tomb Raider: Square-Enix’s recent handling of Western properties has been fraught with issues, notably when it placed many of Western studios’ eggs in the shaky, game-as-a-service-basket in Marvel’s Avengers–only to have the movie’s 2020 debut be far from the expectations of sales and critical reviews.

Then came the critically-acclaimed 2021 sensation Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy directed by Eidos Montreal, falling short of expectations for sales.

Between these disappointing experiences and the total absence of the Deus Ex in the form of a science-fiction adventure series from the year 2016 Perhaps Square-Enix’s estimate of its two Western studios’ value dropped.

In the last few weeks, Crystal Dynamics announced that they are working on a brand new Tomb Raidergame is in the works built on Unreal Engine 5.

The brand is sold to more than 88 millions and the reboot trilogy that starred the young Lara Croft also became a film that starred Alicia Vikander.

Western game studios
image credit: nintendolife.com

The press release from Embracer also mentions the games Deus Ex (more than 12 millions copies have been of the game sold), Legacy of Kain Thief, Legacy of Kain” and other classic franchises.

Following the closing of this transaction the US will be Embracer’s top country in terms of the many game developers, in addition, Canada will be ranked second.

Embracer is expected to have over 14,000 workers with 10,000 active game developers and 124 studios within its internal facilities It also claims that the “upcoming content pipeline contains greater than 230 game titles and over 30 AAA titles.”

Square Enix says that the deal “enables the creation of new companies by investing in areas such as Blockchain, AI as well as cloud computing.” source

However, Embracer wasted no time in promoting its recently acquired IP. The announcement confirmed that work has already started on “the future majorline Tomb Raider game,” complete with “next-generation story telling and gaming experiences” in addition to a variety of different “AAA” initiatives were announced to be in the works by the two studios.

Then, shortly after the announcement was made public, Eidos Montreal confirmed in an Embracer conference call that the new major game would be set within the universe of Deus Ex.

The announcement didn’t provide any specifics about what Crystal Dynamics’ recently announced work on Microsoft’s Perfect Dark sequel will play into this deal.

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