Once the Kirby of the gaming industry, the all-guzzling Swedish publisher Embracer Group seems to be in a pickle. After shutting down Saints Row publisher Voiltion and laying off hundreds of people earlier this year, the company has announced that it has had another round of layoffs – this time, it has let go around 904 staff from the company to optimize costs.
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During a financial call, Embracer said it had reduced its internal headcount by 713 people and its external developer headcount by 191. As a result, 15 projects (announced and unannounced) were “written down” across developers like Amplifier, Freemode, Gearbox, Plaion, Saber, and THQ Nordic.
“Before we get into the business details of our second quarter, I want to start this conference by saying a personal thank you to the 900 people who left Embracer during the second quarter,” said Lars Wingefors, CEO at Embracer Group, during the financial call.
“As you will hear today, we are determined to transform Embracer into a leaner, stronger company. That said, it’s painful to me that you need to leave the group, and we have been, and are doing, everything we can to preserve jobs without changing what we need to achieve. Our people are what make up the very fabric of Embracer. For me personally, it’s crucial that the programme is carried out with compassion, respect and integrity,” he added.
The company has struggled since the collapse of a potential $2 billion deal with Saudi government-funded company Savvy Games Group. Besides shutting down Voilition, it has also sought to off-load Borderlands developer Gearbox; however, it is reported that they are having trouble finding a buyer for the price they are asking. Embracer acquired Gearbox in 2021, along with several order studios, including Tomb Raider developers Crystal Dynamics.
Unfortunately, these layoffs do not seem to be the end for the company, as they said there will be “further headcount reductions” sometime down the line.
It’s not all gloom and doom for Embracer, however. Its soulslike looter-shooter, Remnant 2, developed by Gunfire Games, has sold more than 2m units, while Dambuster Studios’ Dead Island 2 has sold similarly well. Currently, the company has several projects in the pipeline, including Homeworld 3, South Park: Snow Day!, Alone in the Dark, Outcast – A New Begining, Lightyear Frontier, and more.
Mufaddal Fakhruddin has been writing about games and technology for the past 15 years. He has lost count as to how many reviews he has written over the years, but he is sure headphone reviews make up at least 70% of that.