Embattled gaming company Embracer Group has cancelled an in-development Deus Ex game that Eidos-Montréal was working on, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The untitled and unannounced RPG was reportedly in pre-production for two years and was set to “enter production later this year,” an anonymous source told Bloomberg. The last Deus Ex game was 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The cancellation comes not long after the Swedish conglomerate snatched up a bunch of publishers and studios, failed to secure a $2 billion deal, and subsequently laid off nearly 5 percent of its workforce—and according to Bloomberg, more layoffs could be hitting Eidos in the wake of the Deus Ex game cancellation.
Embracer Group has spent the last few years gobbling up studios like the fattest hippopotamus in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos—in 2021, it became Europe’s most valuable video game developer after it announced nearly 30 takeovers within a year, growing from a relative unknown into a massive monolith in a short span of time.
It bought Borderlands developer Gearbox in February 2021; Star Wars remaster company Aspyr Media in April 2021; 3D Realms and Ghost Ship Games in August 2021, Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal in May 2022; and the rights to The Lord of the Rings franchise in August 2022. Since then, the studio has been a poster child for what happens when you rapidly grow, buy up and then consolidate other companies, and ultimately fail to secure a $2 billion partnership with Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund. In other words: late-stage capitalism.
Square Enix Montréal was briefly rebranded to “Onoma” before being completely shut down in November 2022. Saints Row studio Volition was closed in August 2023. Embracer announced a “restructuring” in November of that same year, confirming that the company laid off about 5% of its workforce since the beginning of 2023 and seemingly cancelled 15 projects, many of which were unannounced.
“For me, personally, it is crucial that the [restructuring program] is carried out with compassion, respect, and integrity,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors wrote in that November 2023 press release. A post from Eidos-Montréal’s official X/Twitter account confirmed 97 people were laid off in the wake of this decision.