Publishing giant Embracer Group to close studios, cancel games

The Swedish game publishing giant has ballooned over the last few years, but the collapse of a lucrative partnership has caused a shift.
Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors

In the wake of the potential partnership collapse worth US $2 billion, Swedish game publishing giant Embracer has announced a slew of dramatic changes to its business in an investor call.

These wide-reaching changes will have a significant impact on the company’s various subsidiaries, resulting in the cancellation of several unannounced games, and resulting in potential studio closures and layoffs. These decisions have been made to ‘better optimise’ the company’s resources and ‘increase cash conversion, improve efficiency, and reduce capex,’ as reported by GamesIndustry.

Read: Embracer wants to be ‘exploiting’ The Lord of the Rings franchise

CEO Lars Wingefors said restructuring program would include:

  • Studio closures and game cancellations: ‘The closing of studios and termination of projects, that have not yet been announced and with low projected returns.’
    • No other specifics have been provided.
    • Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics has publically stated that it is safe from impact.
  • Layoffs: ‘Embracer currently engages close to 17,000 people and while that number will be lower by the end of the year, it is too early to give an exact forecast on this.’
  • A reduction in external game development, and an increased focus on ‘internal game development, using ‘internal development based on owned or controlled IP’.
  • Consolidation of departments and processes, while building ‘a more comprehensive, centralised process for game investment and progress review, while maintaining creative freedom.’
  • Increased external funding of internally developed, large-budget games

Embracer expects to fully implement all of these steps by 1 October 2023, with different phases of the rollout occurring until March 2024.

Read: Every major video game franchise owned by Embracer Group

The company also announced some changes in its leadership team, with former Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch taking over as the interim Chief Operating Officer for Embracer as a whole, and former Saber COO taking over as Saber CEO.

CEO of Crystal Dynamics / Eidos Phil Rogers will take on an additional role as interim Chief Strategy Officer for Embracer. Embracer acquired the two studios from Square Enix in 2022.

It was previously reported that Embracer had over 200 games in development.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran