Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider and Deus Ex Studios and IP to Embracer Group

An image from Tomb Raider, on the Square Enix IPs included in the deal.

2022 continues to be a big year for headline-grabbing games industry transactions, with Square Enix and Embracer Group becoming the latest participants in the acquisition craze.

However, unlike Microsoft and Sony, whose deals reflected a desire to increase their presence and power base within the games sphere, the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts publisher seems to be doing the opposite.

Square Enix says it is enabling itself to jump head first into “fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud” by offloading Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal, plus a number of IPs to Embracer, the former THQ Nordic AB.

Square Enix Sells Tomb Raider and Deus Ex Studios

In terms of game IP, the biggest series affected by the news are Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain, although this deal also includes more than 50 of Square Enix’s “back catalogue games”.

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In a press release announcing the deal, which encompasses around 1,100 employees in total and is currently set to close between July and September 2022, Square Enix said that the move is driven by a “policy of business structure optimization” originally stragised in May 2021.

The publisher also clarified that going into the future: “the Company’s development function will comprise its studios in Japan, Square Enix External Studios, and Square Enix Collective. The Company’s overseas studios will continue to publish franchises such as Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange.”

In a statement issued in reaction to the news, Embracer Group CEO and co-founder Lars Wingefors welcomed the studios to the company, saying: “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.”

Square Enix America and Europe CEO Phil Rogers was also quoted in the statement, saying: “Embracer allows us to forge new partnerships across all media to maximize our franchises’ potential and live our dreams of making extraordinary entertainment”.

Immediate social media reaction to the deal was mixed, with many journalists and fans being surprised by the $300 million figure being paid by Embracer, which is significantly lower than the nearly $70 billion paid by Microsoft in the Activision Blizzard deal.

On the other hand, many fans were excited by the possibility of new directions for the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex series, as well as the possibility that the deal could see cult hits like 2012’s Sleeping Dogs finally return to prominence.

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