Hello, and welcome to Get Your Game On! My name is December and I have not played anything in two months! I am dying on the inside! But on the bright side, Gamescom was this week and it’s given me enough life to at least make it to the release of Harvestella, Square Enix’s Rune Factory ripoff (I say with all the love in my heart). More on Gamescom after we talk about some other big (probably bad) news.
Swedish Media Giant Embracer Group Completes Acquisition of Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal
Embracer Group AB’s acquisition of these studios from Square Enix was first announced in May and finalized on August 26th. The acquisition gives Embracer more than 50 back catalog games, as well as fan-favorite IPs Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain.
Embracer Group, formerly known as Nordic Games Licensing AB and THQ Nordic, has its fingers in almost every nerd pie possible: their subsidiaries include board game giant Asmodee; Dark Horse Media, the third largest comic publishing company in the US; and Gearbox Software. Just last week, Embracer added rights to Middle-Earth Enterprises to its holdings as part of its Embracer Freehold subsidiary, stating in their release that “the acquisition… is in line with Embracer’s IP-driven transmedia strategy.” Hmmm.
It’s always a little concerning when media conglomerates start to concentrate more power, which Embracer seems to be doing at a very quick pace. On the one hand, old IPs getting purchased means there’s a chance to see them come back—I’d love a remastered Legacy of Kain (or a new one if it means I get to listen to Simon Templeman again), and Square Enix didn’t do much with the IP for the decade they had it.
On the other hand, conglomerates don’t take as many risks. They develop formulas and repackage them with various flavors. We’ve seen it happen with EA’s constant pushing of multiplayer modes on single-player games that have literally no multiplayer appeal (cough, Dragon Age, which they only just backed down on). Maybe this is pessimistic, but I’m not holding my breath for good news to come out of this acquisition.
Rumors Regarding Possible EA Sale to Amazon Denied
Speaking of EA and bad decisions, breathe a sigh of—temporary?—relief because contrary to the rumors spread early last week, Amazon did not buy Electronic Arts.
Rumors have abounded for months that EA CEO Andrew Wilson has been actively seeking to sell since the Microsoft-Activision merger, but so far nothing has seemed to pan out. Maybe he should go talk to Embracer.
A Biased Gamescom Roundup:
This year’s Gamescom ran in-person for the first time since COVID from August 24th to August 28th. Go somewhere else if you want to read about Sonic the Hedgehog, because I am excited about exactly two games:
Pentiment is a “living illustrated world inspired by illuminated manuscripts and printed woodcuts in a time when Europe is at a crossroads of great religious and political change.” I’m in love.
And, of course, Harvestella, with new gameplay showing off a boss fight against a unicorn:
Honorable mention for Lies of P, a… grimdark souls-like Pinocchio game? It looks gorgeous and yet I am no less confused about the base premise:
In other news…
The next Hearthstone update will bring Runestones, a new virtual currency. Blizzard claims that offering this new currency will allow the company “to offer smaller-scale items in the shop… that would previously have had to have been bundled together.” X to doubt.
December Cuccaro (she/her) is an MFA graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno and a member of the 2021 Clarion West cohort. When not rambling about video games, she writes about sapphic werewolves and sad necromancers searching for friendship.