So, just in case you missed the news yesterday, Square Enix has sold its U.S.-based development studios to Embracer Group, who own publishers such as Deep Silver and THQ Nordic. The deal is worth $300 million, and includes not only Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, but also all of their respective properties. These include Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain, Deus Ex and more.
You read that number correctly — $300 million. This is in contrast to the $3.6 billion Sony is giving for Destiny 2-publisher Bungie. It makes us wonder if Square Enix even appreciated what they had – or, for that matter, what kind of value Embracer gets in return.
Underappreciation For Square Enix’s Former Studios
Square Enix gave a general under appreciated treatment when it came to the studios anyway. Marvel’s Avengers, Crystal Dynamics’ ambitious hero adventure, has seen disappointing financial results. Because of that, Square tried to load it up with micro transactions – which Crystal promised it wouldn’t do. The game still has a steady audience, but it’s hardly the blockbuster the company expected, along the lines of Sony’s Spider-Man games.
Likewise, it expressed disappointment in Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy, another Marvel property. That said, it found a huge following with comic book and action fans. It also saw a huge resurgence recently with its addition on Xbox Game Pass, where players discovered what it was about.
That’s not counting the vocal disappointment for the “direction” in Tomb Raider games – despite the fact that the series has now sold 88 million copies. This includes millions of copies sold of the previous games Crystal Dynamics sold. This just shows that Square Enix has some serious overlooking going on here.
Not that the company’s decisions make sense. It intends to focus more on Japanese game developments and licensing deals with third parties. But, oddly enough, it also wants to get more into blockchain and NFT markets. You know, the first place gamers want them to go, right? (No, wrong!)
Could a New Future Be On the Horizon?
Square Enix dumped off these companies just when they were beginning work on new projects. Eidos Montreal had a yet unnamed game in the works (not Guardians of the Galaxy 2). For good measure, Crystal Dynamics also announced a new Tomb Raider game using Unreal Engine 5 technology.
With Embracer’s backing, these projects are likely to continue on course, given the popular nature of the studios and the franchise at hand. But there could possibly be more here. Embracer, for example, is leaning on THQ Nordic and Deep Silver to do more with classic franchises. These include Saints Row, a rumored Dead Island 2 revival and more.
So what’s that mean for these new studios? Well, we could see the revival of some long lost favorites. One huge game that comes to mind with Eidos Montreal is Deus Ex. We haven’t seen a new game in this series in years, so a newcomer wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Let’s dig a little deeper. There was talk about a potential Gex revival, though its fate isn’t known with these studios moving over. But there’s another franchise that could gain a boost back into the current gaming market – and that’s Legacy of Kain.
We haven’t seen this series in years – since the PlayStation 2 days. But back then, it reached all new heights, thanks to creative touches and amazing visuals. So, imagine if Crystal Dynamics gets the chance to, instead of working on a Marvel franchise, bursting out a terrific Soul Reaver sequel. Imagine one that features a harrowing world on the level of, say, Elden Ring. We’d be playing the hell out of that.
Anything’s Possible, But Square Enix’s Doubt Is Gone
Honestly, it’s truly frustrating that Square Enix didn’t understand what it wanted with these studios. Alas, it is on its new direction, and there’s no stopping that. All we can do is see what Embracer has in mind for its new acquisitions, and hopefully, will give it the support it needs to fully succeed.
And by that, I hope we see new projects. But it doesn’t hurt to look back at great franchises that deserve a revival. Deus Ex, Gex, Legacy of Kain…the sky’s the limit. And, fortunately, there’s no mega-titan holding them back.