Embracer shuts down Square Enix Montréal two months after buying it

The polygonal Lara of Lara Croft Go
(Image credit: Square Enix)
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In August the all-devouring holdings company known as Embracer Group glommed up multiple Square Enix studios as part of a $300 million deal. It devoured Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal, and Square Enix Montréal in a single bite, giving it access to the Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and Tomb Raider IPs. Just two months after the acquisition was finalized Square Enix Montréal is being shut down, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports.

The studio responsible for Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go, and Deus Ex Go had only just renamed itself Onoma in anticipation of the acquisition. It was a five-month process you can read about in the studio's "brand story (opens in new tab)" if that sounds like the kind of thing you're interested in.

Though the Go series was well-liked, and we gave Hitman Go: Definitive Edition a respectable score of 72 in our review, the studio's focus on mobile saw it abandon premium games in favor of free-to-play with its recent releases Hitman Sniper: The Shadows, Tomb Raider Reloaded, and Avatar Generations (as in Avatar: The Last Airbender, not the James Cameron movies). According to Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, Embracer "informed staff at a 2pm ET meeting today that Onoma is shutting down as the company pivots to focus only on PC and console".

In a statement to Games Industry.biz (opens in new tab), Phil Rogers, director of Embracer's business group CDE Entertainment, said that, "We see the growth opportunities centered around our premier franchises and AAA games. Closing publishing QA and our Onoma studio is a difficult decision and one that we've taken with great care and consideration. We greatly thank all those team members for their contributions over the years and hope to find proper placements for as many as possible."

Bloomberg's sources suggested that some of Onoma's staff would be transferred to Eidos-Montréal following the closure, where a new Deus Ex is reported to be in "very early" development.

Embracer's other recent acquisitions have included the Lord of the Rings adaptation rights, Killing Floor developer Tripwire Interactive, Teardown developer Tuxedo Labs, and Limited Run Games, who release fancy physical editions of indie games.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.