Yesterday, Square Enix announced that it was selling its Western studios, like Crystal Dynamics—and much of the intellectual property (IP) connected to those studios, like the Tomb Raider franchise—to Swedish holding company Embracer Group for $300 million. But while this move seems to signal Square Enix shifting away from Western-developed games, that isn’t quite the case, with the publisher confirming that it will specifically retain the rights to a few franchises after the sale is complete.
In a press release published yesterday about the Square Enix assets and shares that will be transferred to Embracer, the Final Fantasy publisher also mentioned a few properties that aren’t going to be sold. While the ever-growing global-super-blob-of-game-publishers-and-IP that is the Embracer Group will (if the sale is approved) get franchises like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, Square Enix will be holding on to some key IP, specifically Life is Strange, Just Cause, and looter-shooter Outriders.
It will also continue to control and operate its indie game-focused Square Enix Collective, which since 2016 has published 12 games, including Battalion 1944 and The Turing Test.
“Going forward, the company’s development function will comprise its studios in Japan, Square Enix External Studios, and Square Enix Collective,” Square Enix explained in the press release. “The company’s overseas studios will continue to publish franchises such as Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange.”
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Kotaku contacted Square Enix to ask if there are other Western IP it will continue to publish in the future beyond these confirmed franchises, but the publisher declined to comment.
Square Enix continuing to publish Outriders and Life is Strange isn’t too surprising to hear, as the publisher doesn’t own the studios behind these games and so wasn’t selling any connected IP to Embracer. This news is more Square Enix clarifying that although this sale seems to indicate the publisher is divesting itself of many of its Western holdings, it still has plans and interest in publishing some select titles developed by Western studios.