Following the acquisition of several of Square Enix’s western assets earlier this year, Swedish conglomerate Embracer Group has shuttered Studio Onoma, formerly Square Enix Montreal, reports gamesindustry.biz.
Embracer will instead focus on two of the other studios included in the acquisition: Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.
Around 200 people will be affected by the shutdown, although CDE Entertainment, the Embracer owned business group which manages the assets acquired from Square Enix, has stated it will try to place some former Onoma employees within PC and console projects elsewhere in the company.
CDE has stated that the closures are due to a focus on production within Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal. As part of the deal, these studios maintained the rights to their core franchises, such as Tomb Raider and Legacy of Kain.
Time to Embrace change?
Onoma was founded in 2011 to increase Square Enix’s development capacity for AAA projects, but soon pivoted to mobile development. The studio is best known for the development of mobile games based on games elsewhere in the Square Enix family. As the only mobile focused studio among those included in the acquisition, it’s clear that Embracer Group are focused on AAA titles, and by shuttering Onoma so soon after it’s acquisition and rebrand this could be an attempt to retain established talent wherever possible while still focusing on Embracer’s long-term business strategy.
"We see the growth opportunities centered around our premier franchises and AAA games,” said CDE director Phil Rogers. “Closing publishing QA and our Onoma studio is a difficult decision and one that we've taken with great care and consideration. We greatly thank all those team members for their contributions over the years and hope to find proper placements for as many as possible."
It's currently unknown what will happen to the games currently under development within the studio, although it’s likely that some which are being co-developed with other studios and Game Makers, such as Avatar Generations, will see the development focus elsewhere.
Earlier this year, we listed Embracer Group as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.