Update May 2, 2022: The Initiative has confirmed that Crystal Dynamics will continue to work on Perfect Dark after the acquisition.
We are excited to see Crystal Dynamics taking the next steps with their studio. Our teams have had great success co-development of Perfect Dark as co-development partners and we will continue this work with them in their next chapter. https://t.co/9gG2VGUV8u
Microsoft recently struck a deal with Square Enix for Crystal Dynamics to work with The Initiative to create the upcoming Xbox sci-fi FPS Perfect Dark, which suggests that one day Microsoft will eventually acquire Crystal Dynamics. Looks like they were beaten by another company.
The Embracer Group has been on a wave of acquisitions in recent years, buying many entry-level studios across the spectrum, and today the company has acquired even more from Square Enix.
Embracer has officially acquired Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, as well as a number of well-known Western IPs including Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and “50” catalog titles from the Japanese publisher. The agreement will increase Embracer’s workforce by more than 1,100 people, representing $300 million in cash, to be paid upon full closing of the agreement. Embracer expects the deal to be completed by September 2022.
“Embracer was particularly impressed with the rich portfolio of original IP studios, featuring brands with proven global potential such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, as well as demonstrating the ability to create AAA games with fanbases that matter and grow. organic growth opportunities for studios to maximize their business opportunities.”
The news comes as no surprise as the industry seeks further consolidation in an inflationary market and major tech companies fight for the future of gaming and virtual worlds in general. Square Enix has been neglecting its western teams for a long time, perhaps repeatedly questioning franchises like Tomb Raider and canceling others like Deus Ex and Thief.
The fact that Embracer has vetted these franchises with Legacy of Kain is no doubt a positive sign for fans of these games, but it remains to be seen what will happen to the deal for consumers. At the very least, it offers some hope for new games within these classic franchises, but it will be a loss for Microsoft and Xbox, who were likely looking to at least acquire Crystal Dynamics themselves to help bolster the Initiative.
Microsoft is currently struggling to acquire the much bigger fish in Activision-Blizzard, which will give them a ton of PC and mobile games to go beyond the Xbox consoles.
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Jez Corden is a Windows Central editor focused primarily on Xbox and games. Jez is known for posting exclusive news and insights about the Microsoft ecosystem while fueled by caffeine. Follow @JezCorden on Twitter and listen to his Xbox Two podcast on, you guessed it, Xbox!