Borderlands developer Gearbox is reportedly up for sale by parent company Embracer Group. According to Reuters, the Swedish conglomerate is planning to restructure after a $2 billion (roughly Rs. 16,586 crore) deal with Saudi Arabia’s state-backed Savvy Games Group fell through earlier this year. The fallout led to the former cutting expenses, closing studios and laying off employees. Gearbox was acquired just two and a half years ago and is now the latest victim. Some alleged third parties have expressed interest in acquiring the developer. No names were mentioned, although they were referred to as “international gaming groups.”
Following the original Reuters report, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier pointed out that it was not yet confirmed whether Gearbox would be sold, but that Embracer was certainly considering parting ways with it. In an email to employees, Gearbox CCO Dan Hewitt said: “Fundamentally, Gearbox remains part of Embracer.” However, many options are being considered, including transferring Gearbox, becoming independent of Gearbox, and others. “Ultimately, we will take the path that is best for both Gearbox and Embracer.” Earlier this month, Embracer fired Saints Row studio Volition, essentially shutting it down after 30 years in the game development space – possibly related to the critical one and commercial failure of its latest open-world reboot, as Embracer mentioned in its 2023 financial report.
Embracer has spent the last few years overwhelming game studios through a series of non-stop acquisitions, building an empire by acquiring coveted developers like Tomb Raider’s Crystal Dynamics, Remnant II’s THQ Nordic, Dead Island 2’s Deep Silver and franchise rights to The Lord of brought together The Rings and The Hobbit and more. This obviously cost a lot of money, which was initially covered by a $1 billion investment from the aforementioned Savvy Games Group. But in May he backed out and left Embracer to pay off the debt.
Earlier this year, Embracer Group confirmed that The Lord of the Rings was getting an MMO adaptation being developed by Amazon Games’ Orange County Studio – the same developers that previously worked on New World. The title is in early development and will feature stories from the written material of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by author JRR Tolkien. Shortly before, in February, the conglomerate confirmed that it had five video games based on the Middle-earth franchise in development, including the critically panned game “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum,” the failure of which led to the closure of Daedalic Entertainment Reduce development department.
Amid this restructuring drama, Crystal Dynamics released an open letter assuring fans that Embracer’s restructuring program will have no impact on the development of the upcoming Tomb Raider game. The parent company is also behind the long-running remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which saw the studio switch from Aspyr Media to Saber Interactive in August 2022 after two top employees were laid off.