Lara Croft has a new home, as Square-Enix just sold three of its major Western studios to the Embracer Group. (The studios in question are Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montréal and Square-Enix Montréal.) It's a shocking move, especially considering how Square-Enix sold these studios for $300 million because it wanted to free up more money to invest in blockchain technology. But it means that besides Tomb Raider, Embracer Group (formerly known as THQ Nordic) also owns the rights to franchises like Deus Ex, Legacy of Kain and many more.
The questionable reason for the sale aside, this turn of events presents a great opportunity for Embracer Group to resurrect franchises that Square-Enix has let languish. Embracer has already brought back series like Darksiders and Saints Row so we expect it to do the same with some of the new franchises it now owns.
Below is a list of Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montréal games we’d like to see either remastered, remade or turned into new entries. Though Embracer Group said it gained more than 50 titles (opens in new tab) after the buyout, the company hasn’t revealed a list of said titles. As such, we’ve listed the franchises we know for a fact Embracer owns and that we think are prime candidates to receive new entries.
Note that we don’t know the status of games like Sleeping Dogs or Kane & Lynch since neither was developed by Crystal Dynamics or Eidos Montréal. We’ve also left out titles like Gex, Off-World Interceptor or Crash N’ Burn since we aren’t entirely sure if Embracer Group now owns them. And at the moment, Square-Enix will retain the rights to Western-developed games like Outriders, Just Cause and Life is Strange.
Without further ado, here are the Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal titles we want Embracer Group to resurrect.
Legacy of Kain / Soul Reaver
Legacy of Kain / Soul Reaver is easily the biggest franchise most people want Embracer Group to bring back from the dead. Yes, the multiplayer-only Nosgoth was technically a new entry, but it wasn’t what long-time fans wanted — namely a narrative-focused single-player experience. Crystal Dynamics being under new ownership opens the door to a new Legacy of Kain title.
Games like God of War, Control and Spider-Man prove that high-budget, cinematic single-player Action-Adventure titles are still viable. In that sense, a new Legacy of Kain game wouldn’t feel out of place in a landscape dominated by multiplayer titles like Fortnite. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to give this franchise an overhaul similar to what Crystal Dynamics did with Tomb Raider. There is plenty of lore to work with, and it would be good to see iconic characters like Kain and Raziel instead of new protagonists.
A new Legacy of Kain would be an easy win for Embracer Group and Crystal Dynamics and should be a high priority.
Given Cyberpunk 2077’s many failures, now would be a good time to reboot the Deux Ex series to give us the cyberpunk game we deserve.
The Deus Ex series has been around for more than 20 years. It went mainstream with the release of 2011’s excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution. 2016 brought us Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which was a solid title of its own. The games’ RPG mechanics, which allow you to play as a stealthy hacker or gun-totting cyborg, still hold up (as evidenced by Cyberpunk 2077). The central story, which plays on cyberpunk tropes of a dystopian future rife with corruption and decay, is also still relevant given our real-world situation.
Since Deus Ex hasn’t been out of the gaming consciousness nearly as long as Legacy of Kain, a straight-up sequel to Mankind Divided should suffice. A nice remastered collection wouldn’t hurt to catch folks up to speed. We don’t want to delve too deeply into what we want to see in a new Deus Ex, but placing it in an open world wouldn’t hurt, even if it’s just to show Cyberpunk 2077 how to do a large cyberpunk land correctly.
Like Deus Ex, Thief is a franchise that began on PC and subsequently gained more prominence when it came to consoles. Unlike Deus Ex, the revamped Thief only received a single entry before Square-Enix forgot it existed. This is a shame since 2014’s Thief was one of the most unique stealth games of that year. In fact, it’s still unique nowadays, which means it's due for a comeback.
For those who don’t know, Thief is set in a semi-fantasy land that’s heavily inspired by Victorian-era London. Playing as a thief, you skulk around the dark and moody environments stealing whatever you can find. You also try to solve a larger conspiracy that threatens the land. The first-person perspective the series is known for does a great job of drawing you into the world and makes you feel like a genuine cat burglar.
Considering how Hitman is the only major stealth game around due to Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell’s absence, a new Thief could provide a viable competitor. Eidos could pick up where the 2014 game left off or restart the series again. But no matter how the series returns, it would surely be welcome by those who want an engrossing stealth gaming experience.
We’re tossing Tomb Raider on this list even though it’s a bit unfair. After all, it was recently announced that Crystal Dynamics was already working on a new entry and that it would run on Unreal Engine 5.
We have no clue when this game will release, or if it’s a continuation or reboot of the current Crystal Dynamics-produced series. Either way, it’ll be great to see Lara Croft return for another adventure.
What about the Marvel games?
Here’s where things get murky. The Crystal Dynamics-developed Marvel’s Avengers was both a financial and critical disappointment, allegedly costing Square-Enix $200 million in lost revenue (opens in new tab). Eidos Montréal’s Guardians of the Galaxy, despite being well-received and well-reviewed, also failed financially — no doubt thanks to Avengers. So, where does that leave these Marvel properties?
In truth, we can’t say for sure. During a recent livestream, Embracer said that ownership of currently published games would swap over but that new agreements with their licensees would need to be inked for future titles (via Den of Geek (opens in new tab)). It’s possible that Embracer could become the new publisher of these Marvel titles, though it would presumably have to pen a new deal with Marvel. It’s also possible that Square-Enix holds the rights and that those won’t transfer over.
I’m sure I speak for many people when I say I’d love to see another Eidos-developed Guardians of the Galaxy game. As I said in my Guardians of the Galaxy review, it’s one of the best superhero titles in recent memory.
As for Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers, I wouldn’t be against the studio having another go at it, so long as it ditches the live service elements nobody cared for. Other than some wishful thinking, we don’t have much information to reasonably predict what will happen with these Marvel titles.