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Square Enix sells off Tomb Raider, Deus Ex IPs and the studios behind them

Embracer Group to acquire Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal

Lara Croft faces a temple amid jungle vines in artwork from Shadow of the Tomb Raider Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Square Enix is selling off Western studios Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal, as well as the franchises those studios develop, including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief, to Embracer Group, the companies announced Monday. The $300 million deal will give Embracer Group ownership of more than 50 back-catalog games from Square Enix’s library and will affect 1,100 employees across three studios.

Sweden-based Embracer already owns publishing and development studios Gearbox Software, THQ Nordic, Saber Interactive, Koch Media, Deep Silver, and Coffee Stain Studios. Embracer has also expanded beyond video games to acquire comic book publisher Dark Horse and tabletop game publisher Asmodee. Embracer will have more than 14,000 employees, 10,000 game developers, and 124 internal studios, when the deal with Square Enix closes.

Square Enix says the sale of its studios and IP will establish “a more efficient allocation of resources” and enable “the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.”

In a news release announcing the sale, Embracer said it was “impressed by the studios’ rich portfolio of original IP,” namely Tomb Raider and Deus Ex (which have sold a combined 100 million units), and saw “compelling opportunities to organically grow the studios to maximize their commercial opportunities.” Embracer said it sees opportunity to invest in the aforementioned IP, as well as Legacy of Kain, Thief, “and other original franchises.”

Crystal Dynamics announced in March it was working on a new entry in the Tomb Raider franchise, built in Unreal Engine 5, a follow-up to 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics is also assisting on the development of the new Perfect Dark for Xbox Game Studios. Perfect Dark developer The Initiative says it will continue to work with Crystal Dynamics on the game.

Deus Ex and Thief developer Eidos Montreal most recently released Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Crystal Dynamics’ most recently released Marvel’s Avengers. Neither Marvel-owned property was mentioned in Embracer’s announcement of the sale.

Square Enix Montreal, the studio behind the mobile Go spinoffs based on Tomb Raider, Hitman, and Deus Ex, most recently released Hitman Sniper: The Shadows for Android and iOS devices. Embracer said Square Enix Montreal would “continue to develop and operate memorable mobile games based on AAA IP.”

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