Earlier this week, Square Enix sold Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal and Square Enix Montreal to the Embracer Group in a deal said to be worth $300 million. In one fell swoop, the previous team gave up close to 50 games in their portfolio, including the rights to some of their biggest hits in Tomb Raider, Deus-Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain.
In the grand scheme of video game company buyouts, this is a big one, with some pretty significant implications going forward. I am not a financial expert, but $300 million to acquire all of that looks like a decent deal for Embracer Group, especially given the fact that it now has the recently revealed development on its hands. Tomb Raider game is being made in Unreal Engine 5. On top of that, Crystal Dynamics has promised to “push the fidelity envelope” and bring us the “high-quality action-adventure cinematic experience that fans deserve from both Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider franchise.” Which is exciting. Now, replace ‘Tomb Raider’ in the last sentence with ‘Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver’, and tell me the butterflies don’t flood your stomach. You can not? I do not blame you
change of world
For the uninitiated, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver released in the summer of 1999 on PSOne (the following January on the Dreamcast) to become the second entry in the dark fantasy vampire series. Preceded by the 2D hack-and-slash action-adventure game Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Soul Reaver was a sequel in just about every way imaginable: it extended its predecessor’s narrative timeline and, more importantly, transitioned to 3D and introduced a host of new, refined, and ahead of its time gameplay mechanics, most notably the ability to switch realms. Video games have given us plenty of jaw-dropping, jaw-dropping eureka moments over the past 23 years from: BioShock’s ‘Would You Kindly’, Braid’s perspective juggling, Breath of the Wild’s first steps into Hyrule, The Last of Us 2. trading, to name just a few, but the first time I moved planes in Soul Reaver remains one of my favorite video game moments.
At only 13 years old, discovering that my actions in one dimension impacted those in another dimension blew me away. I would then spend hours unraveling the puzzles that had me flitting between worlds, in what was, in essence, a broader, more sophisticated perspective on Zelda: A Link to the Past. We’ve seen glimpses of this in other games between times, of course, as a horror fan Silent Hill Otherworld comes to mind, but to me the only games that have balanced intelligence and intuition at this level are Portal of 2007 and its 2011. continuation. And while there are now six games in the broader Legacy of Kain series, Soul Reaver is the one fans remember the most.
Our very own Leon Hurley championed a new version of Soul Reaver earlier this year, introducing him as the perfect way to bring the series back to PS5. I’d be hard-pressed to argue with that, and agree that tapping into the game’s abiding nostalgia would be key to re-imagining protagonist Raziel’s adventure today with eye-catching visuals and modern controls. I appreciate that some Legacy of Kain fans prefer something like a conclusion to the series, but the fact that Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes preceded Resident Evil Village, for example, shows that success can be achieved by reinventing the old. also advancing the new. A quick look at Reddit shows that gamers are still finding ways to play Soul Reaver todayand they are sharp profiling in the form of Raziel in popular modern games, such as Elden Ring.
So what about the Embracer Group itself? according to a Press release Issued shortly after the deal announcement, a spokesperson said the company plans to focus primarily on Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, but specifically checked the name of the Legacy of Kain and Thief series as other areas of future interest. Assuming the deal goes through as planned (it is expected to officially close between July and September), Embracer Group will welcome 1,100 new employees, increasing its total workforce to 14,000, 10,000 of whom are said to be who are “committed game developers”, in 124 internal employees. Studios Again, business is far from my forte, but to put this $300 million, multi-studio deal into perspective, Embracer Group bought Gearbox, developer of Borderlands in February 2021 alone for $1.3 billion.
also having acquired Dark Horse Comics In December of last year, Embracer Group is clearly focused on growing its portfolio, but naturally how this affects the actual development studios and what they choose to work on is an entirely different consideration. In a post-announcement Q&A session, Embracer Group CEO and co-founder Lars Wingefors was specifically asked about the future of Crystal Dynamics’ Guardians of the Galaxy games, to which he replied, “All the games we have been developed by the studios are included in the transaction.However, a number of external approvals from outside parties are needed to close this transaction… we have to wait until closing, unfortunately, to find out more about the IPs and the studies”.
All of which means we shouldn’t hold our breath for news about, well, nothing until this deal closes. And even then, your guess is as good as mine regarding how Embracer Group might influence its newly acquired studios, much less what unannounced projects might follow next. For me, though, a Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver remake is a no-brainer. You know it makes sense. Bringing back that magic. Reimagining what worked. Taking advantage of that nostalgia. Get Amy Hennig back. I mean, if Cory Barlog can come back for God of War, why the hell not?
how many of the best action games They also have vampires?