Square Enix has announced that it will retain publishing rights to the Life is Strange franchise, the Just Cause franchise, and Outriders in the aftermath of a massive Embracer Group acquisition of its subsidiaries and partners.
Yesterday, Embracer Group announced that it would be acquiring several studios including Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal. However, it looks like it won't be getting absolutely all of the games from these studios -- the Western department of Square Enix is going to be holding onto some of its most successful franchises and will continue to publish them in the future.
Square Enix Holdings Retains 3 Major Franchises
As GamesIndustry.biz reports (via Reddit), Square Enix signed a "share transfer agreement" with Embracer Group in order to allow the latter's acquisition to go through. However, Squeenix hasn't given up absolutely everything.
"SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. (the "Company") today signed a share transfer agreement with Sweden-based Embracer Group AB concerning the divestiture of select overseas studios and IP (the "Transaction")," read a press release. "The Company’s primary assets to be divested in the Transaction are group subsidiaries such as CRYSTAL DYNAMICS, INC.; EIDOS INTERACTIVE CORP. and IP such as TOMB RAIDER, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain. At the Company Board of Directors meeting held on 27 April, 2022, the Board resolved to entrust Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda with the right of final decision. All conditions having being met, the share transfer agreement was concluded today."
This was pretty clear given Embracer Group's announcement on early Monday morning. However, what we didn't know is that Squeenix would be holding back a few of its best franchises for itself.
"Going forward, the Company’s development function will comprise its studios in Japan, Square Enix External Studios, and Square Enix Collective," the press release continued. "The Company’s overseas studios will continue to publish franchises such as JUST CAUSE, OUTRIDERS, and Life is Strange."
While Outriders has struggled to retain players in recent months -- it's shed 99% of its playerbase according to SteamDB -- the Life is Strange and Just Cause franchises are popular enough in their own right. Life is Strange, in particular, had a banner year with the release of Life is Strange Remastered and Life is Strange: True Colors.
The press release also notes that it's unclear what kind of aftereffects this deal will have on Square Enix's business in the future. Granted, it's likely gotten a massive one-time cash injection for the sale of its shares in the various companies picked up by Embracer Group, but we won't know how this will effect the overall financial health of the company until it publishs a more robust report sometime in the future.