Murmurings surrounding the continuation of the Deus Ex series have been brought to light by reporter Jeff Grubb, who shared the news on his Game Mess Mornings podcast for Giant Bomb.
Grubb, who is known for his accurate insider sources, talked acquisitions, and specifically Square Enix selling off their western studios to Embracer Group. Grubb, alongside Waypoint reporter Patrick Klepek, discussed the ramifications of and reasons behind the sale. In particular, he had a few tidbits to share about the Canadian developer behind the Deus Ex series, Eidos-Montréal.
During the discussion, Grubb suggested that plans for Deus Ex were in place, highlighting the studio’s collective desire to ‘do what Cyberpunk 2077 couldn’t’. Grubb cites the recent handover for a chance at making the idea a reality, describing the move as something that had ‘no possibility’ under Square Enix.
That said, the accuracy, if not validity of Grubb’s claims remain to be seen. Reporter Jason Schrier of Bloomberg, also known for his accurate insider reporting, wrote a post on gaming forum ResetEra, as spotted by WCCFTech, clarifying that Eidos-Montréal’s current project is an original title, and that a new Deus Ex wouldn’t be coming for ‘a very, very long time’.
The Deus Ex franchise introduced players to a dystopian world set in the once-unfathomable future of 2052 – presided over by numerous secret societies in conflict, the final victor, of which, is ultimately up to player choice – as they navigate their way through the sci-fi immersive sim.
Since its debut in 2000, Deus Ex has been host to a number of developers and publishers. The latest addition to the series, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, was well received following its release in 2016. Since then, Eidos-Montréal have been responsible for releases like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While these games are certainly first-class, they herald a departure from the oeuvre of the studio’s previous work, due, in no small part, to the management of Square Enix.
Eidos-Montréal founder, Stephane D’Astous described Square Enix’s handling of the western studios as a ‘train-wreck in slow-motion’ to GamesIndustry, contrary to his hopes that acquisition would ‘change things’ for the company’s ‘traditional’ way of selling games.
The development studio, along with the rest of Square Enix’s western studios, sold for US $300 million in 2022 – a relatively low figure for the industry. Comparatively, Gearbox Software, company behind the Borderlands series was purchased by Embracer for US $1.3 Billion in 2021.
D’Astous ascribes the deal as relating to rumours surrounding a planned acquisition of Square Enix by Sony – albeit only its Tokyo branch, explaining the price point. Buying into Square Enix could be part of Sony’s response to Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard.
But now, a return to form just might be in the cards for Eidos-Montréal, as we look to Embracer’s direction for the studio. Here’s hoping that tech giants buying studios aren’t the only 21st century cabals we continue to see in gaming.