Embracer shuts down former Square Enix Montreal studio

Having only just acquired and rebranded the studio, Embracer has decided to shut down Onoma, which was known as Square Enix Montreal until just a few weeks ago. This decision doesn’t affect Eidos Montreal or Crystal Dynamics, which were the other two studios included in the acquisition of Square Enix’s Western studios.

Onoma will be best remembered for their ‘Go’ series of mobile games under their former name. Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go and Deus Ex Go were all fantastic puzzle game adaptations of their respective game series in the mid-2010s, though the well seemingly dried up rather quickly after that initial flurry.

The decision centres on the overarching strategy that this particular arm of Embracer will pursue – now branded as CDE Entertainment. While Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal both have a leaning toward console and PC gaming, Onoma was focussed more on mobile gaming. Embracer does have a group of mobile-oriented developers, but CDE will be more purely geared toward console and PC gaming going forward. Some Onoma staff will be able to move over to Eidos Montreal, though around 200 employees are affected.

Elsewhere in CDE, Crystal Dynamics’ development efforts seem to be pretty stable right now with work on a new Tomb Raider game and co-development of Perfect Dark for Microsoft. Eidos Montreal has been less settles, though. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reports that a Strange Things-inspired “kids on bikes” game has been cancelled. They are now working on a new IP (though this has recently been rescoped), has very early work on a new Deus Ex game, and is in a co-development partnership on with Xbox, including the upcoming Fable game being made by Playground Games.

Embracer acquired Square Enix’s Western studios earlier this year in a deal worth $300 million. It was a shocking announcement, and for a low price considering the mass transfer of valuable IP that went alongside it, but has given fresh hope that the teams can get back to doing what they do best – namely make Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and other titles, instead of being pushed toward Marvel licenses for Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy (even though the latter game was pretty good).

Source: Bloomberg

Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!