Swedish gaming conglomerate Embracer Group, which has been rapidly gobbling up game studios and popular IP over the past few years, will undergo a major restructuring that will require the publisher to close multiple studios and cancel several games. The news comes weeks after it reported that a deal worth $2 billion in income to the company had unexpectedly fallen through.
CEO Lars Wingefors announced the restructure in an open letter alongside an investor webcast and a news release. He said the restructure is split into three phases and is expected to continue until March 2024. The nature of these phases is unclear, and under the general guise of cost savings and consolidation to reduce debt below 10 billion Swedish Krona, which equals roughly $930 million.
Matthew Karch, the now former Saber Interactive CEO and current interim chief operating officer, said, however, that the first phase of cost-saving will be “immediate and noticeable.” This means that an unknown number of Embracer Group’s 17,000 staff will be laid off as part of the process. Neither Wingefors nor Embracer Group have detailed when specific closures or layoffs will happen.
Embracer Group owns the rights to both Tomb Raider and Lord of the Rings; it acquired Tomb Raider when it purchased Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, and Square Enix Montreal from Square Enix in 2022. That year, Embracer Group bought the licensing rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by buying rights holder Middle-earth Enterprises. Early this year, Embracer announced that it has five mystery Lord of the Rings games in development by external partners.
Following the announcement, Crystal Dynamics put out a statement on Twitter to confirm that neither its upcoming Tomb Raider game nor Perfect Dark will be impacted by the restructuring.
Prince of Persia’s unexpected return to its side-scrolling, platforming roots continues to impress. Following its announcement at Summer Game Fest, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown got an extensive gameplay reveal that could even make it the sleeper hit of the Ubisoft Forward showcase.
The combos, juggles, wall-jumping, and jump-dashing all have their traditions in gameplay more than 30 years old now, and the “semi-open world” built here properly honors them, rather than trying to interpret that in a new playing space.
Following an indefinite delay in 2021, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’s remake has since been palmed off on Ubisoft Montreal, which literally went back to the drawing board on the idea. So maybe The Lost Crown stealing the show is a good thing. This doesn’t have to be overthought; sometimes what seems like the simplest execution is actually the most correct.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown launches Jan. 18, 2024 on Amazon Luna, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft, and Lucasfilm Games pulled back the curtain today on the first-ever open world Star Wars game, Star Wars Outlaws, releasing in 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. Set between the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, players will step into the role of Kay Vess, a clever scoundrel in the galactic underworld. In Star Wars Outlaws, Kay is looking to attempt one of the biggest heists the Outer Rim has ever seen, all in an effort to start a new life.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to collaborate with the team at Lucasfilm Games to create Star Wars Outlaws, the first open-world Star Wars game," Julian Gerighty, creative director at Massive Entertainment, tells StarWars.com. "Our team at Massive Entertainment has a great deal of experience in open-world games backed by strong technology, and it’s the perfect time to tell an original scoundrel story that will resonate with fans. With the Galactic Empire on the heels of the Rebel Alliance, and the criminal underworld thriving, an outlaw like Kay Vess has a whole galaxy of opportunity in front of her."
We at Obsidian Entertainment know players have been anticipating an updated look at Avowed and we’re excited to show off what we’ve been working on with a first-ever gameplay trailer at Xbox Games Showcase 2023.
Expanding the universe that we created for the original Pillars of Eternity games, Avowed brings a new perspective, a new way to fight, and a new land to explore in the world of Eora. The Pillars games are near and dear to us and we can’t wait to share Avowed with everyone next year.
In Avowed, you’ll explore the Living Lands, a plagued, wild island set in the world of Eora. The Living Lands are full of mysteries and secrets, danger and adventure, and choice and consequences.
First-person combat has been a huge focus for us. We’ve incorporated a host of ways for players to fight the flora and fauna of the Living Lands. You will have swords, shields, pistols, magical spells, and more at your disposal, including the ability to dual wield, creating a vast number of combinations to choose from.
Avowed will be released in 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10/11, and Steam. It will also be available on day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
Development of "realistic first-person tactical shooter" Six Days in Fallujah began all the way back in 2005, less than a year after the actual Iraq War battle it's based on. On June 22, it will finally release in early access on Steam.
Six Days in Fallujah was originally going to be published by Konami, but in 2009, the company abandoned the game following outcry over its subject matter. Call of Duty was also being criticized at the time for turning contemporary military adventurism into entertainment, but got by with its over-the-top fictional thriller plots. For many, basing a videogame directly on a recent battle in which thousands were killed or wounded went too far: Six Days was seen by critics as tasteless at best, grotesque propaganda at worst.
The initial early access version of Six Days will include four co-op missions (up to four players) on maps that are procedurally generated "to recreate the uncertainty of combat." In the future, Highwire plans to add more cooperative missions, "as well as story campaign missions recreating real stories from the Second Battle of Fallujah from the perspective of both coalition forces and Iraqi civilians."
In the making of Six Days, which was "conceived by a Marine who was wounded during the battle," the developer says that "more than 100 Marines and Soldiers" were consulted, as well as "28 Iraqis, 24 of whom are from Fallujah." In an FAQ, the studio also says that Six Days will address the "controversial aspects" of the Second Battle of Fallujah, although it doesn't specify which. Among those aspects are the US military's use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium, the hundreds of civilian deaths, and the disputed legality of the Iraq War itself.
Over the past few years, Capcom has steadily been sending their beloved Ace Attorney series to modern consoles. Today, it announced it is completing the collection with Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy, out in early 2024.
The collection includes Apollo Justice Ace Attorney, originally released on the DS, as well as the series' two 3DS games, Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice. While the games can be played in isolation, they're collectively understood to be entries four, five, and six in the Ace Attorney series, following the events of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy on the DS. The collection will include remastered HD visuals of each of the games while preserving their original styles.
The Ace Attorney series follows defense lawyers Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice as they're tasked to defend people accused of murder. The Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy was brought to modern consoles in 2019, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (a prequel series set during the industrial revolution) came to modern consoles in 2021. Today's newest collection means all of the series' mainline games will be available to play on modern consoles.
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy will be available early next year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
As spotted by ResetEra, on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, the Los Angeles City Tourism Board of Commissioners held its regularly scheduled meeting and announced updates on tourism-related business and the like. Not usually the kind of thing that gets reported on Kotaku, sure. But in the meeting packet sent out a few days before on June 16, a small footnote on page 21 mentioned some big news: E3 2024 and E3 2025 are seemingly canceled.
Kotaku has reached out to E3 organizer ReedPop for comment and confirmation.
If the next two years of E3 are officially canceled, it’s highly unlikely that the once-popular video game tradeshow will ever return. Earlier this year, after canceling E3 2023, ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis, when pushed to confirm if an E3 2024 was still happening, wouldn’t say, and only answered that the ESA would “have more news to share.” Looks like that’s true, but it’s not good news for folks looking forward to a return of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
During the big Xbox vs Federal Trade Commission court hearing, Pete Hines of Bethesda confirmed that the upcoming Indiana Jones game from MachineGames was originally planned to be a multiplatform release, meaning available to more people. But after Xbox bought up Bethesda, things changed and the game will be an Xbox console exclusive.
We don’t really know much about this upcoming Indiana Jones game. It was first announced in 2021 and is being developed by MachineGames, the same studio behind the fantastic WW2 shooters Wolfenstein: The New Order and its sequel, The New Colossus.
Halo Infinite season four— launched, bringing a long list of changes to the online first-person shooter as well as the return of the fan-favorite “Infection” mode and some new maps. But on June 19, right before the launch of the season, 343 community director Brian Jarrard announced on Twitter that the game’s latest season wouldn’t feature new cutscenes.
PSA: As we’ve refined our top priorities and shifted resources internally this year, we had to make the decision to forego seasonal narrative cutscenes to make room for the team to continue focusing on highly requested features, content, and improvements for Halo Infinite.
In a new interview, Xbox game studio chief Matt Booty confirmed that the company is done developing first-party games for the older Xbox One consoles, explaining that Microsoft has “moved on” from the prior-generation machine and is now focused on Xbox Series X/S. It’s yet another sign that the old consoles are being left behind after a longer-than-usual transitional period.
Released nearly a decade ago in November 2013, the Xbox One had a bit of a rocky launch with jokes about its size, lack of games, high price, always-online requirements, Kinect motion controls, and a misplaced focus on watching TV dominating most conversations about the then-new console. In the longer term, thanks to Xbox’s Game Pass subscription service and the launch of the more powerful Xbox One X, the console stuck around and found fans. But it never was really much of a competitor with Sony’s PlayStation 4, with Sony’s console selling twice as well as the Xbox One. Now, nearly 10 years after its debut, Microsoft is letting the console retire and moving on to focus entirely on its current-gen machines.