Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

Embracer Group acquires Square Enix's Western studios and IPs (Deus Ex, Thief, Tomb Raider, etc)

Echo Mirage

Arcane
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
1,575
Location
Tirra Lirra by the River
Stupid question I know. But how has this Embracer group treated the IP's they've purchased so far? or is it just to early to say?
 

Alphons

Cipher
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
2,579
But how has this Embracer group treated the IP's they've purchased so far? or is it just to early to say?

On one hand you've got Destroy all Humans! remake which revived dead franchise and brought it to PCs, generating enough money and interest for them to greenlight the remake of the second game.

On the other there's the Gothic remake- teaser they have released is terrible. "They've noted the feedback" but who knows how it's gonna end up.
 

RobotSquirrel

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
1,960
Location
Adelaide
Jagged Alliance 3 looks a bit on the meh side, But Outcast 2 looks interesting. Really comes down to what studio gets the IP.
My worst-case scenario is Gearbox gets Deus Ex. I didn't mind the Homeworld remaster but the last thing I want to see is some mutant of Deus Ex and Borderlands, that's why I hated Cyberpunk 2077.

I'm actually kinda hoping that they just keep Eidos Montreal open and continue the Jensen story. A remake of the original game would be incredibly ambitious unless they pulled a Final Fantasy and released the game in separate parts, I wouldn't be opposed to it as at least it'd get made.
 

deuxhero

Arcane
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
11,401
Location
Flowery Land
Deus Ex doesn't need and wouldn't benifit from a remake, it just needs its the ancient engine updated and source released to ensure it will run on computers forever.
 

RobotSquirrel

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
1,960
Location
Adelaide
it just needs its the ancient engine updated and source released to ensure it will run on computers forever.

I agree that is something that needs to happen. The community has proven more capable of updating the game over long periods of time so naturally, it'd be preferable. But when companies acquire new IPs a remake is most definitely on the agenda.

The source is an issue because Epic won't officially allow it, you would need both the IP holder and the Engine developer to agree to it. Tim Sweeny had mentioned doing it but since Tencent now owns Epic I doubt it'll ever happen now.
 

J1M

Arcane
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
14,628
it just needs its the ancient engine updated and source released to ensure it will run on computers forever.

I agree that is something that needs to happen. The community has proven more capable of updating the game over long periods of time so naturally, it'd be preferable. But when companies acquire new IPs a remake is most definitely on the agenda.

The source is an issue because Epic won't officially allow it, you would need both the IP holder and the Engine developer to agree to it. Tim Sweeny had mentioned doing it but since Tencent now owns Epic I doubt it'll ever happen now.
The source code to Unreal Engine 5 is open source. The only things holding back open sourcing Unreal Engine 1 are likely:
a) No profit motive for the company to assign resources to the project, meaning it would have to be a passion project of an employee.
b) Potential licensing problems if any licensed code/middleware was used in the engine.
 

RobotSquirrel

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
1,960
Location
Adelaide
b) Potential licensing problems if any licensed code/middleware was used in the engine.
This is the problem though, Deus Ex 1's Engine uses proprietary code specifically the conversation system and there are some modifications to how unrealscript works.
So it's not as simple as just making Unreal 1 Open Sourced, you need the specific version that Deus Ex used.

Source: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/desig...he-tools-that-built-deus-ex-with-chris-norden

Interesting, the smell property actually does do something lol. I never understood why that was a thing, it's for the animal AI.

For my own games, I was able to replicate the mouth movement tech. It works really well but I needed to build the same editor Deus Ex had to control it. Mine doesn't use audio files but rather parses the dialogue in and associates it to a phoneme. there's no reason to use audio at this point since no VA.
 
Last edited:

deuxhero

Arcane
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
11,401
Location
Flowery Land
b) Potential licensing problems if any licensed code/middleware was used in the engine.
This is the problem though, Deus Ex 1's Engine uses proprietary code specifically the conversation system and there are some modifications to how unrealscript works.

Yes, but it's basicly impossible for that code to be released without the UE1 source being released first. If the code is preserved, it's comparatively easy to get it released if/when UE1 was. I really hope the DNF leak with UE1 source spurs Epic into releasing it.
 

flyingjohn

Arcane
Joined
May 14, 2012
Messages
2,966
Stupid question I know. But how has this Embracer group treated the IP's they've purchased so far? or is it just to early to say?
Great compared to the rest of the industry.
They actually use the IP'S to make games(questionable quality aside).And their focus on lower budgets means you are getting an AA experience with all the faults and strengths that has.
 

Riskbreaker

Guest
I'm actually kinda hoping that they just keep Eidos Montreal open and continue the Jensen story. A remake of the original game would be incredibly ambitious unless they pulled a Final Fantasy and released the game in separate parts, I wouldn't be opposed to it as at least it'd get made.
A remake of the first Deus Ex would be a tricky undertaking for other reasons viz., its subject matter and the status of conspiracy theory in general - at the time of the first game's appearance this could still be treated as something light-hearted and, where it didn't have some apolitical veneer, the politics could just as well be of the Left. Needless to say, things are very different today and a remake of Deus Ex true to the original writing would be courting controversy that few if any in this industry would dare court and from which they couldn't defend themselves by some claims of the game's writing being meta, being self-aware etc.

So a continuation of the Jensen story focusing on the transhumanism in the sense of the place and plight of transhumans or AI would be infinitely safer and more attractive route to take. The transhuman question could be taken straight as this is increasingly becoming a matter of mainstream discussion instead of being relegated to speculative fiction and fringes of academic philosophy, as well as a metaphor for the ethnic minorities, transgender etc today.
 

J1M

Arcane
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
14,628

Ghulgothas

Arcane
Joined
Feb 22, 2020
Messages
1,598
Location
So Below
There's no way in hell they're going to settle for 'mere' ports or polish jobs with these IPs. They're big into ground-up remakes because it allows them to:
A. Sell higher.
B. Market them more effectively to a general consumer-base instead of autistic enthusiasts and crusty outcasts (like here!).
C. Facilitate their wishes for brand revival and potential for future profit.

But how has this Embracer group treated the IP's they've purchased so far? or is it just to early to say?

On one hand you've got Destroy all Humans! remake which revived dead franchise and brought it to PCs, generating enough money and interest for them to greenlight the remake of the second game.

On the other there's the Gothic remake- teaser they have released is terrible. "They've noted the feedback" but who knows how it's gonna end up.
They're also the ones who gave out the Desperados license to MiMiMi which resulted in Desperados III IIRC, which turned out to be a well-enough hit. I think they're also involved in with the KOTOR remake by way of Aspyr but that's still an enduring mystery as to what it's going to look like.

Hits and misses, it's just a matter of giving it to the right people. But who the fuck are the right people for Thief and Deus Ex? I'd have said Arkane in lieu of anyone better, maybe they're going to hit-up Raphael Colantonio and WolfEye Studios once they're all done hanging around Weird West.

My worst-case scenario is Gearbox gets Deus Ex.
Simple, give Gex to GearBox. I can think of no more fitting studio to do the lizard justice than the one behind Borderlands.
 
Last edited:

Bad Sector

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
2,226
Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
All open source code has a license attached to it explaining rights and responsibilities.

Rusty meant that this isn't what open source is, from the open source definition:

Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria: *criteria follows*

The UE4/UE5 license fails several of these criteria with the most obvious being the first one since it requires royalties.

Some people think that "open source" means "having access to code" but that was the result of a FUD compaign by Microsoft back in the late 90s/early 2000s when they considered GPL as "cancer" that threatened their business model. It spread since it sounds correct despite practically nobody using that term before it was coined up back in the late 90s to provide an alternative name for Free software that was easier for businesses to accept as it came without the ethical implications about user freedom. Which is also why "open source" spread farther than "free software" (and also because many confused it with "freeware" thinking free meant zero price instead of freedom, which is also something that Microsoft's FUD campaign took advantage of).

UE4/UE5 is generally considered as Source-available software.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Messages
999
300 million for all these IPs seems to be dirt cheap. S-E must have been really jonesing to get rid of them.
they don't need those IPs and studios anymore, because...

Square Enix says Embracer sales will help it invest in blockchain

I swear, those guys at Square Enix just hate gaming.
Cool they now hold nothing I care about to ransom. Whilst the chance of a new Legacy of Kain game is at a liquid 10%, that is still better than the 0% chance under Square-Enix.

Now the chance of a good Legacy of Kain game that actually continues on from the cliffhanger from Defiance, respects the franchise and expands it in a meaningful way is at best 5%. And a Deus Ex game that is proper redpilling conspiracy stuff and not woke analogies to aparthied is 0%

Frankly we should count our lucky stars if the next Thief is even a first person game.
 

toughasnails

Guest
A remake of the first Deus Ex would be a tricky undertaking for other reasons viz., its subject matter and the status of conspiracy theory in general - at the time of the first game's appearance this could still be treated as something light-hearted and, where it didn't have some apolitical veneer, the politics could just as well be of the Left. Needless to say, things are very different today and a remake of Deus Ex true to the original writing would be courting controversy that few if any in this industry would dare court and from which they couldn't defend themselves by some claims of the game's writing being meta, being self-aware etc.
The one thing that could be a problem if the game was remade from scratch today would be that some tards might see a commentary on the whole pandemic and vaccines situation in there, which is something that is still fresh in people's minds. I don't think that there is much else in the game that could be accused of being right wing.
 

toughasnails

Guest
There remains a possibility for the remasters of early TR games and a lower budget spin-off made in their vein, but I don't see why they'd move away from the current formula for mainline games given how successful the recent entries were.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
300 million for all these IPs seems to be dirt cheap. S-E must have been really jonesing to get rid of them.
they don't need those IPs and studios anymore, because...

Square Enix says Embracer sales will help it invest in blockchain

I swear, those guys at Square Enix just hate gaming.

"What, did I say something?" https://www.gamedeveloper.com/busin...00-million-studio-sale-on-blockchain-projects

Square Enix won't spend cash from $300 million studio sale on blockchain projects
The company recently sold major studios and franchises including Tomb Raider and Deus Ex to Embracer.

Square Enix has explained that cash from the sale of key studios and franchises won't be used to fund blockchain initiatives.

The Japanese company recently sold three key studios including Crystal Dynamics and Eidos-Montreal to Embracer for $300 million and suggested the proceeds would be used, in part, to move forward with investments in fields "including blockchain, AI, and the cloud."

Now, however, the company has dialled back those sentiments and instead says it will use the funds to bolster its development capabilities, echoing remarks it made last month.

"Rather than using the proceeds from the divestiture in new investment domains such as NFT and blockchain, we intend to use them primarily to fund our efforts to foster solid IP and to enhance our development capabilities in our core Digital Entertainment segment," explained the company in a financial briefing.

Further outlining the rationale behind the Embracer deal, Square Enix said the primary purpose of the transaction was to reorient its portfolio with a view to "stepping up our offering of online titles that we develop for the North American and the European market."

"We want to focus on creating new titles that align with our strategy, including ones that leverage new IP," added the company. "In addition to reorienting our portfolio, we will also enhance our publishing function."
 

RaggleFraggle

Ask me about VTM
Joined
Mar 23, 2022
Messages
1,054
After the market crash Square realizes they screwed up and now have no idea where to spend their new funding. Who could have foreseen such an outcome? /s

Welp, they weren't going anywhere with these IPs anyway so let's hope that Embracer does a better job.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
Interview with Lars Wingefors: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/artic...r-and-transmedia-what-next-for-embracer-group

"I've been growing up with these IPs. I remember shipping the first Tomb Raider when running my mail-order business back in Sweden in 1996, I guess, on Sega Saturn, and importing it from the UK. It was fantastic, and the same goes with other IPs. And so, for me, it's just bringing something to people that love it. We will take good care of the people, the IPs, and if we set reasonable expectations, I think we will also be happy with the financial performance on this. Could you do things that are more lucrative in this industry? For sure. But that doesn't mean to me that you need to always maximise, and only do things that have the highest potential for the highest margins. If you do that, your business will become quite boring after some time."

Expectations have certainly been a deciding factor in the evolution of Tomb Raider. Despite the critical acclaim and millions of sales for the series' 2013 reboot, Square Enix famously said the game missed expectations -- something it has since said about Crystal Dynamics' Avengers title and Eidos Montreal's Guardians of the Galaxy. Every company has a different process, so how does Embracer Group set realistic expectations for its releases?

"For me, it's about the business risk you're taking, the financial return you're getting out of that. And obviously, when you have an IP such as Tomb Raider, you can look a lot at the historical outcomes. I run my business on absolute numbers, not to percentages. And if you invest whatever, not talking necessarily about Tomb Raider, but a big AAA -- let's say you're investing $150 million and you bring in $300 million, or $250 million. That might be okay. You don't have to do 10X over some period of time. And you can always work with platform holders, you can do collaborations, you can do some de-risking on the financing. Obviously with iconic IPs, you can bring that IP to other media and companies where you can have some more profits coming through."
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
97,479
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
https://www.gamesindustry.biz/artic...ern-studios-were-a-train-wreck-in-slow-motion

Square Enix's Western studios were a "train wreck in slow motion"​

Eidos Montreal founder Stephane D'Astous reflects on the issues he believes led to the studio's sale​


On May 2, 2022, Stephane D'Astous began receiving emails and phone calls from former employees. The shared tone was a request for advice and perspective: What's happening? Is it a good sign, or should we be worried?

These messages, of course, referred to the shock news that Square Enix had sold Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal, plus all the IP the trio of studios collectively held, to Embracer Group for a bewilderingly low $300 million.

Even though D'Astous was surprised by the price tag, the Eidos Montreal founder wasn't terribly surprised at how the studios' relationship with Square Enix turned out, saying the roots of its demise were evident even before he left the company in 2013.

"It was a trajectory that could be predicted," he tells GamesIndustry.biz. "I left because things were missing at head office. [Pre-Square Enix] Eidos has a great tradition of development teams, but they don't have superior knowledge of how to sell their games. And that was quite clear.

"You could look at all the great games that Eidos did, and -- apart from Tomb Raider back then, that was a whole different era -- the Hitmans and all those could have been a six, seven, eight-million unit projects. Deus Ex could have been that also. We hit good numbers, don't get me wrong, but I always felt that the way to sell games that Eidos used were so traditional and conventional. That it wasn't innovative. And it was always underselling the quality of the games.

stephane
Stephane D'Astous

"I hoped when Square Enix purchased Eidos in 2009 that that would change things."

Eidos Montreal was founded two years before Square Enix acquired the UK publisher, and at the time was only the fourth major studio in Montreal, alongside Behaviour Interactive and teams from Ubisoft and Electronic Arts.

The studio was structured to have three production pipelines, kicking off with revivals of the Deus Ex and Thief series while helping Crystal Dynamics reboot Tomb Raider by handling the multiplayer component as its third project.

"It was clear that the main purpose of Eidos Montreal was to increase capacity of production, or development capacity, within the group, because Crystal Dynamics was branded like a mono-project studio, as was IO Interactive," D'Astous explains. "Montreal was there to save the back catalogue. It was clear that we had great IPs that were sleeping on the shelf. Legacy of Kain that was discussed, but wasn't as strong as Deus Ex and Thief."

2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the studio's first release, garnered critical acclaim and put Eidos Montreal on the map. The 2014 return of Thief was less well received -- although D'Astous says that game "remains one of my favourite projects" and maintains an extra nine months could have produced a much better product.

"We did our best, and we struggled, and that's life in development in games," he says. "You don't hit it off all the time. And we were close, but just missing some finishing touches."

He continues: "The Deus Ex development team was one of the strongest that I've assembled, and they were really united. They knew the challenges. With Thief, I didn't have that luxury to have a core group of people that had worked together previously, so I went to recruit strong people, very strong people, but they didn't have the opportunity to work together on previous games. And that maybe could be one of the reasons why it wasn't as smooth as Deus Ex."

D'Astous was also present as Square Enix and sister studio Crystal Dynamics signed a multi-project deal with Marvel, which eventually led to the beleaguered Marvel's Avengers and last year's Guardians of the Galaxy -- which, despite being well received by critics, "undershot initial expectations," according to the publisher.

"Maybe at the time [the deal was signed] the superhero thing was a big thing. It still is, but there is some fatigue with superheroes. And especially in games -- very few manage to be successful with superheroes. There's always Batman [from] the guys at Rocksteady. There was Spider-Man. But out of the people that have done it, the success rate of superhero games is not good.

"Maybe it was the easy way out. They might have thought that selling a superhero game is easier than a conventional game."

Square Enix has become notorious for declaring multi-million-selling games to be disappointments, and D'Astous reports this extended behind the scenes as well. He recalls a meeting regarding the company's financial performance for 2012, where the Eidos group of studios was expected to generate $65 million in profit. Instead, he was told the developers had lost $65 million that year.

"We were dumbfounded," he says. "Especially because my studio didn't have any deliverables for that year."

D'Astous says he began receiving messages from the team, worrying about the fate of the studio, and repeatedly called on management in London to discuss a solution - only to receive silence.

"The pressure was starting to build, and my employees towards me, me towards my superiors," he says. "I think when people are in a crisis situation where there's a lot of situations, you do see their core behaviour or values. And I didn't like what I saw. There was really a lack of leadership, courage, and communication. And when you don't have those basic things, no employee can do their job correctly -- especially when you're heading a studio.

"I was losing hope that Square Enix Japan would bring great things to Eidos. I was losing confidence in my headquarters in London. In their annual fiscal reports, Japan always added one or two phrases saying, 'We were disappointed with certain games. They didn't reach expectations.' And they did that strictly for certain games that were done outside of Japan."

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a superb debut for Eidos Montreal, but subsequent projects struggled to match or surpass its success
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a superb debut for Eidos Montreal, but subsequent projects struggled to match or surpass its success

D'Astous left Eidos Montreal in summer 2013. Crystal Dynamics' studio head Darrell Gallagher left at the end of 2015. In 2017, IO Interactive successfully negotiated a management buyout, including the Hitman IP, after Square Enix began looking for a buyer to take the studio off its hands.

Even the group's biggest success, the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy, was in decline with 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider receiving lower review scores than its two forebears. And then 2020's long-awaited Marvel's Avengers was poorly received.

"It's a train that is slowing down and needs some injection of energy or money or something, but the train is slowing down," says D'Astous. "And it's unfortunate because there are a lot of good people in those studios."

He continues: "If I read between the lines, Square Enix Japan was not as committed as we hoped initially. And there are rumours, obviously, that with all these activities of mergers and acquisitions, that Sony would really like to have Square Enix within their wheelhouse. I heard rumours that Sony said they're really interested in Square Enix Tokyo, but not the rest. So, I think [Square Enix CEO Yosuke] Matsuda-san put it like a garage sale."

That, D'Astous suggests, may explain the $300 million price tag for three AAA studios and a host of long-running IP, including the blockbuster Tomb Raider franchise. By comparison, Embracer purchased Gearbox in a deal worth $1.3 billion.

"They have about 1,000 staff. Eidos has about 1,000," D'Astous says. "They have basically Borderlands and others, and Eidos has five times the IPs. So why four times less? I guess there weren't a lot of key people interested. And it shows the health of the value of the potential of Eidos, unfortunately.

"It was a train wreck in slow motion, to my eyes, anyway. It was predictable that the train was not going in a good direction. And maybe that justified $300 million. That's really not a lot. That doesn't make sense."

D'Astous is unsure how much of the Eidos studios' underperformance can be attributed to Square Enix's management in Japan, but he does maintain that "some of the bad decisions came from London."

"They were there since the start, and some decisions I question. There have been no changes at the head office now for more than a decade. So, I think it's more of the same, to a certain point."

The hope is that Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal may see a new lease of life under Embracer, which tends to allow its subsidiaries to operate autonomously. IO Interactive has certainly thrived since gaining independence, with Hitman 3 becoming the studio's biggest hit to date and the acquisition of the James Bond license represents an opportunity to grow further still.

D'Astous, however, is reining in his expectations given the unwieldy size of Embracer.

"[CEO Lars] Wingefors, I don't know how he's managing it up to now," he says. "I mean, yes, leave autonomy [to the studios] to a certain point, but you leave autonomy when there's a strong vision. IO knew what they wanted to do. I think they weren't able to do it when they were within the group of Eidos because of head office, so that changed their lives for them. But I would leave certain groups autonomous when they have demonstrated that they have a clear vision, knowhow, and leadership. And again, I've mentioned all the heads of studios that left the three studios of Eidos. There's a reason why I wasn't the only one who left.

"I hope that Lars really evaluated, spoke in deep conversation to see what they have as a plan, because the plan has not been successful in the last decade. I don't know why it would be successful for the next ten years, because they're the same people, the same actors are there. The same players are there.

"If no changes are done, the train will continue to slow down."
 

NaturallyCarnivorousSheep

Albanian Deliberator Kang
Patron
Possibly Retarded
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
1,835
Location
EGT Tower 14th floor, Tirana
Iirc there was always the meme up in the air that square wanted them to sell CoD numbers to bail out their failures in Japan, how true that was I dunno but it's interesting that this dude confirms parts of it.
 

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Back
Top Bottom