If one thing is clear, is that Swedish video game company Embracer Group has been buying video game studios for some time now.
One of its most high-profile acquisitions was the buying of two major studios from Square Enix this May: Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics became part of Embracer in a deal that also included Square Enix’s Montreal studio.
Square Enix Montreal had been recently renamed to Onoma, and seemingly Embracer had big plans for the studio, which makes its recent closure by the company all the more surprising.
While part of Square Enix, Onoma was behind games like Hitman Go, a turn-based puzzle game, and a spin-off of IO Interactive’s Hitman series of games. Despite it being quite a bit different from the mainline Hitman games, this is still a fantastically addictive and atmospheric puzzler, and one of the best games in the Hitman franchise no doubt.
It definitely proves the people at Square Enix’s Montreal are a talented bunch, even if the renamed developer is now being shut down by Embracer. All is not doom and gloom for the Onoma (formerly Square Enix Montreal) employees though, as some will be seemingly moved to Eidos Montreal, a developer which is currently in the midst of several big projects.
One of these is an entirely new IP, which according to a tweet by Bloomberg reporter Jason Shreier had its scope reduced, so maybe the people at Eidos were being overambitious with their unannounced game, which hopefully we’ll know about sooner rather than later.
Apparently the Eidos Montreal crew are also working on a new game in the Deus Ex series, something that fans of the series (me included) will cheer about no doubt, even if according to the Bloomberg journalist this is still in the “very early” stages, so its release date is quite a ways off obviously.
Eidos Montreal is also involved in a partnership with Microsoft studio Playground Games to work on a new Fable game, another title which is being kept under wraps…
The good people at Eidos apparently had a game cancelled too – a “kids-on-bikes” game inspired by the Stranger Things TV show which apparently the bigwigs at Embracer Group thought wasn’t that great an idea. This and the closure of Hitman Go studio Onoma is part of a cost-cutting effort by Embracer as mentioned in the Bloomberg report.
Nonetheless, it would be a great thing if most of the people at the former Square Enix Montreal studio can continue their game development careers at Eidos Montreal or perhaps another studio, and that we get to know more about upcoming releases like the new Deus Ex game sooner rather than later too.