Saints Row studio Volition has been closed 'immediately' as part of Embracer's restructuring plan

Saints Row screen
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

A year after the underwhelming release of the Saints Row reboot, and just two months after celebrating 30 years of operation, Volition has been closed.

Word of the shutdown initially emerged from employees reporting their layoffs on Twitter, and was later confirmed in a statement released by Volition.

"This past June, Embracer Group announced a restructuring program to strengthen Embracer and maintain its position as a leader in the videogame indsutry," Volition said. "As part of that program, they evaluated strategic and operational goals and made the difficult decision to close Volition immediately.

"To help our team, we are working to provide job assistance and help smooth the transition for our Volition family members. We thank our customers and fans around the world for all the love and support over the years. You will always be in our hearts."

Volition was founded in 1993 as Parallax Software, and made an immediate splash with the 6DOF shooter Descent. Renamed to Volition a few years later, it followed up with the brilliant Freespace space combat sims and the famously destructible Red Faction FPS games, and the Saints Row series. It was acquired by THQ in 2000, and then after THQ went under it ended up with Deep Silver.

(Image credit: Volition)

Saints Row was Volition's biggest and best-known series, but the most recent entry in the series, a reboot that came out last year, did not do well. Parent company Embracer vowed to stick with it, but shifted responsibility for Saints Row to Gearbox; Volition's fate was sealed in June when Embracer announced major layoffs and studio closures following the collapse of a $2 billion deal with an unknown partner.

"The closure of Volition is a part of the restructuring program we announced on the 13th of June," an Embracer rep said in an email sent to PC Gamer. "We are thankful for Volition's 30 years of creating world-class entertainment for fans around the globe. Naturally, It is a challenging time for everyone impacted and we are working with those team members with compassion, respect, and integrity.

"The financial effects related to Volition’s closing will not be specified separately, but rather as part of our overall communication on the progress of the program. This will be shared on a regular basis, in connection with Embracer quarterly reports or otherwise, as required by applicable legislation. Our next quarterly report will be published on the 16th of November. Ownership of both the Saints Row and Red Faction IP remains with our operative group PLAION, which will continue to develop and manage our long-term plans for these much-loved franchises."

In a longer message posted the day after the studio's closure was announced, Volition paid tribute to both its former employees and its fans. "Thank you so much to every Volitionite who has ever worked here," it says. "You are all what made this the magical place it was to work at, and we can never say enough about how much you have meant to us over these 30 years."

To the fans, the message continues, "We can't thank you enough for sticking with us throughout all this time. We've loved your enthusiasm every step of the way, even those times when you wish we had (or hadn't!) gone a certain way with a Saints Row or a Red Faction or Descent. You are why we kept making these games, and those of us that have been part of the Volition family will be eternally grateful."

(Image credit: Volition)
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.