Square Enix started May off with a bang by announcing that the company sold Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive, as well as those studios’ respective franchises, to Embracer Group. That umbrella organization already has its fingers in many game studios and franchises (such as THQ Nordic’s Darksiders and Deep Silver’s Saints Row), and this recent sale has only added more potentially valuable franchises to Embrace Group’s already sizable library.
Of course, this transaction raises obvious questions about what games Embracer Group actually gets out of the deal. As is often the case with these kinds of deals, the answers to those questions aren’t as straightforward as you might think.
Obviously, Square Enix franchises such as Final Fantasy were never on the table, and the announcement also states that Square Enix will retain ownership of Western-developed games such as Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange. Of course, those games weren’t developed by Crystal or Eidos, so it’s no surprise Square Enix still owns them. The same also probably applies to other, unlisted Western-developed Square Enix titles such as Sleeping Dogs.
However, the majority of the games developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive are included in this deal. Why the majority? We’ll explain in a bit. For now, here are all the games we know (or are fairly certain) now belong to Embracer Group:
- Akuji the Heartless
- Crash N’ Burn
- Deus Ex
- Legacy of Kain
- Mad Dash Racing
- Project Snowblind
- Solar Eclipse
- The Horde
- The Unholy War
- Tomb Raider
- Total Eclipse Turbo
- Off-World Interceptor
Embracer Group’s and Square Enix’s announcements explicitly state that Embracer Group will gain control of over 50 back-catalog games associated with Eidos and Crystal Dynamics, but two hot topic series are strangely absent from those statements: Marvel’s Avengers and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Avengers turned out to be a disappointment, both in terms of sales and reviews, but Square Enix turned their Marvel adaptation fortunes around somewhat thanks to the surprisingly good Guardians of the Galaxy. Admittedly, much of that surprise originated from Eidos-Montréal developing both titles and accidentally poisoning the Guardians of the Galaxy hype with Avengers’ poor performance. Square Enix hasn’t talked much about those titles, which might lead many to assume the company is disappointed by Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy and ready to move on from both. Nobody would have been surprised if Square Enix stated in bold letters that Embracer Group has just taken ownership of those games, but neither company has directly mentioned them so far.
So is the conglomerate taking over Square Enix’s beleaguered Marvel catalog? The answer is a big fat “maybe.” Embracer Group held a livestream video and stated that currently published games would swap ownership after the deal, but future titles would require new agreements with their licensees. In other words, Embracer Group might become the new publisher of those games, but it will likely have to work out a new deal with Marvel (and Disney) if it wants to greenlight sequels.
All in all, Square Enix is primarily selling Embracer Group the keys to older franchises that have been collecting dust. Embracer Group could very well revitalize any one of those legacy series (fingers crossed for a Legacy of Kain reboot), and it will also own most of the games currently being developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive (including the upcoming Tomb Raider title). However, this deal won’t include the Perfect Dark title that Crystal Dynamics is currently co-developing as that franchise still belongs to Microsoft.