In yet another massive acquisition, Square Enix has sold a majority of its Western IPs and studios to Embracer Group for the rather paltry sum of $300 million.
As part of the latest act of consolidation in the video game industry, the massive holding group now owns Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, as well as the handful of best-selling IPs that the said studios were and are working on such as Tomb Raider and more.
The price of the deal alone is worthy of making headlines.
Back in September, Microsoft reportedly paid $100 million for exclusive rights to the Tomb Raider Survivor Trilogy. Not to mention, Crystal Dynamics just confirmed that it's working on the next Tomb Raider game. You'd think that Embracer Group would have paid $300 million just for Tomb Raider, but it's getting multiple studios as a result.
According to the press release, Crystal Dynamics will continue working on "several AAA projects, including the next mainline Tomb Raider game." Meanwhile, Eidos Montréal is "working on a host of AAA projects including both new releases from beloved franchises and original IP." Finally, Embracer is putting Square Enix Montréal to work on "memorable mobile games based on AAA IP."
Embracer claims that the transaction will make the company first in the US in terms of game developers and second in Canada and will add to the group's "upcoming content pipeline" that already "includes more than 230 games with more than AAA games."
This is a total win for both video game companies.
The move could reignite interest in long-dormant franchises like Legacy of Kain, Gex, Thief, and more. Square Enix previously labeled Marvel's Avengers and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy as disappointments, giving off the impression that Square Enix didn't know how to handle such projects. On the other hand, Embracer does. Not to mention, Embracer has the finances to develop and market such video games. Plus, Square Enix might just have the better upside from this deal. We're not huge fans of the decision to invest in fields like "blockchain, AI, and the cloud," but the sell-off can give Square Enix a chance to focus on its Japanese studios.
In an ideal scenario, Square Enix can finally return to its roots. After taking years to release Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake while forgetting its iconic IPs, Square Enix has done a better job satisfying long-term fans lately. Case in point, JRPG aficionados got Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers earlier this year with sightings of a potential remaster of Tactics Ogre. Square Enix also revived the iconic Valkyrie Profile series with Valkyrie Elysium and open-world RPG fans can look forward to Forspoken in October.
With Kingdom Hearts 4, Final Fantasy XVI, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 all en route, Square Enix can spend more of its time and resources doubling down on its bread and butter.