Embattled gaming company Embracer Group has cancelled an in-development Deus Ex game that Eidos-Montréal was working on, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The untitled and unannounced RPG was reportedly in pre-production for two years and was set to “enter production later this year,” an anonymous source told Bloomberg. The last Deus Ex game was 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The cancellation comes not long after the Swedish conglomerate snatched up a bunch of publishers and studios, failed to secure a $2 billion deal, and subsequently laid off nearly 5 percent of its workforce—and according to Bloomberg, more layoffs could be hitting Eidos in the wake of the Deus Ex game cancellation.
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Embracer Group has spent the last few years gobbling up studios like the fattest hippopotamus in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos—in 2021, it became Europe’s most valuable video game developer after it announced nearly 30 takeovers within a year, growing from a relative unknown into a massive monolith in a short span of time.
It bought Borderlands developer Gearbox in February 2021; Star Wars remaster company Aspyr Media in April 2021; 3D Realms and Ghost Ship Games in August 2021, Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal in May 2022; and the rights to The Lord of the Rings franchise in August 2022. Since then, the studio has been a poster child for what happens when you rapidly grow, buy up and then consolidate other companies, and ultimately fail to secure a $2 billion partnership with Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. In other words: late-stage capitalism.
Square Enix Montréal was briefly rebranded to “Onoma” before being completely shut down in November 2022. Saints Row studio Volition was closed in August 2023. Embracer announced a “restructuring” in November of that same year, confirming that the company laid off about 5% of its workforce since the beginning of 2023 and seemingly cancelled 15 projects, many of which were unannounced.
“For me, personally, it is crucial that the [restructuring program] is carried out with compassion, respect, and integrity,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors wrote in that November 2023 press release. A post from Eidos-Montréal’s official X/Twitter account confirmed 97 people were laid off in the wake of this decision.
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