Who Is Embracer Group? Everything You Need To Know About The Massive Game Company
You might not know the name, but you know the games.
You've probably heard of some of the biggest third-party game publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Capcom, but there is another company that has been expanding rapidly through a series of acquisitions: Embracer Group, which just bought a number of studios and IP from Square Enix (including Tomb Raider maker Crystal Dynamics and Deus Ex's Eidos Montreal). The video game company, by market value, is now the largest in all of Europe. But just what is Embracer Group, what studios and franchises does it own, and how did it get to be such a massive company with so little name recognition?
What is Embracer Group?
Let's get this out of the way first: The reason you may not recognize the Embracer Group name is that it operates several other publishers and developers with names you do recognize. At this time, Embracer Group is the parent company of major publishers like Deep Silver, THQ Nordic, and Gearbox, to name a few, as well over 100 game studios. The company was previously known as THQ Nordic but adopted its current name to avoid confusion following its many acquisitions.
Embracer Group, when it was known as Nordic Games, was a very small operation that focused primarily on finding holes in the market it could capitalize on, such as a lack of karaoke games on Nintendo's systems in the late 2000s. After acquiring smaller properties and slowly growing while keeping costs low, it entered something of a "phase 2."
Embracer Group has grown enormously over the last several years, often by purchasing studios and franchise rights from other companies that are either letting them stay dormant or are liquidating because of bankruptcy. This is how the company came to own much of the original THQ's catalog, including the Metro and Darksiders series. It also eventually acquired the THQ name itself, with the Nordic publishing brand becoming THQ Nordic.
Following its most recent transactions, Embracer will have more than 14,000 employees--the majority of whom are game developers--and 124 different studios. Below, we've listed some of the prominent studios from across Embracer, broken down the publisher they're aligned with inside the company.
Embracer Group studios
Embracer Group operates well over 100 different game studios across several publishing brands. Embracer doesn't appear to have an overarching directive for the different brands, seemingly allowing them to operate with relative autonomy after they've been acquired. Additionally, companies with existing relationships with other publishers still maintain them, such as Gearbox continuing to work with Take-Two on the Borderlands series. Crystal Dynamics will also continue co-developing the Perfect Dark reboot for Microsoft, which it began working on while a subsidiary of Square Enix.
- Experiment 101 (Biomutant)
- Piranha Bytes (Elex)
- Gunfire Games (Darksiders, Remnant: From The Ashes)
- Black Forest Games (Destroy All Humans)
- Grimlore Games (Spellforce)
- Rainbow Studios (MX vs. ATV)
- Volition (Saints Row)
- Deep Silver Dambuster Studios (Homefront: The Revolution)
- Free Radical Design (TimeSplitters)
- Deep Silver Fishlabs (Chorus)
- 4A Games (Metro)
- Aspyr (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake)
- 3D Realms (Duke Nukem)
- Slipgate Ironworks (Ghostrunner)
- Snapshot Games (Phoenix Point)
- Zen Studios (Pinball FX)
- Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms)
- Cryptic Studios (Star Trek Online, Neverwinter)
Tentative Embracer Group studios
In addition to the aforementioned group of studios, Embracer Group has also agreed to purchase several other studios and franchises from Square Enix. That deal has yet to officially close, but the below studios will be part of Embracer in the event that it does. The deal will also include several IP, including big-name franchises like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.
- Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider, Marvel's Avengers)
- Eidos-Montreal (Deus Ex, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Square Enix Montreal (Deus Ex, Lara Croft, and Hitman mobile games)
Embracer Group's future
Embracer group shows no signs of slowing its growth, with plans to, well, "embrace" even more companies in the future. The company has said as much, with CEO Lars Wingefords telling the Financial Times (via VGC) that Embracer wants to invest in US-, UK-, and Poland-based companies alongside Chinese and French companies. Not all of its purchases have been strictly video game-related, either, as Asmodee makes tabletop and board games and Dark Horse Media produces comic books, television shows, and films.
The company has already released sequels to series that were once dead, such as Darksiders III and Darksiders Genesis. It has also focused heavily on remastered versions of games it now owns IP rights to, including Red Faction, Destroy All Humans, and Kingdoms of Amalur, with plans for several more of these remastered games in the future. Based on its IP catalog, potential future games could include Second Sight or Deus Ex.