In August the all-devouring holdings company known as Embracer Group glommed up multiple Square Enix studios as part of a $300 million deal. It devoured Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal in a single bite, giving it access to the Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and Tomb Raider IPs. Just two months after the acquisition was finalized Square Enix Montréal is being shut down, Bloomberg reports.
The studio responsible for Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go, and Deus Ex Go had only just renamed itself Onoma in anticipation of the acquisition. It was a five-month process you can read about in the studio’s “brand story” if that sounds like the kind of thing you’re interested in.
Though the Go series was well-liked, and we gave Hitman Go: Definitive Edition a respectable score of 72 in our review, the studio’s focus on mobile saw it abandon premium games in favor of free-to-play with its recent releases Hitman Sniper: The Shadows, Tomb Raider Reloaded, and Avatar Generations (as in Avatar: The Last Airbender, not the James Cameron movies). According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Embracer “informed staff at a 2pm ET meeting today that Onoma is shutting down as the company pivots to focus only on PC and console”.
In a statement to Games Industry.biz, Phil Rogers, director of Embracer’s business group CDE Entertainment, said that, “We see the growth opportunities centered around our premier franchises and AAA games. Closing publishing QA and our Onoma studio is a difficult decision and one that we’ve taken with great care and consideration. We greatly thank all those team members for their contributions over the years and hope to find proper placements for as many as possible.”
Bloomberg’s sources suggested that some of Onoma’s staff would be transferred to Eidos-Montréal following the closure, where a new Deus Ex is reported to be in “very early” development.
Embracer’s other recent acquisitions have included the Lord of the Rings adaptation rights, Killing Floor developer Tripwire Interactive, Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs, and Limited Run Games, who release fancy physical editions of indie games.
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