Once known as Square Enix Montreal, Onoma is being shut down after being acquired by The Embracer Group.
The Embracer Group, a Swedish video game and media holding company is apparently shutting down Onoma just months after its acquisition. Onoma, formerly known as Square Enix Montreal, was previously acquired along with the entirety of Square Enix’s former western holdings back in August this year. The studio subsequently changed its name to Onoma, but it would seem that Embracer had other plans for the studio.
According to IGN, the move is likely a cost-cutting measure, and the company has informed employees that some of the staff would be transferred to a sister studio, Eidos Montreal, which was acquired alongside Onoma, and San Francisco-based Crystal Dynamics. Prior to their acquisition, the trio was known for releasing some of the best hits in gaming history, including some franchises that are completely unknown to younger generations of gamers but represent fond memories for the older gaming population.
Onoma’s shutdown is somewhat unusual due to its timing. The company has previously announced its rebranding and an entirely new game in development, which is now either canceled or transferred to Eidos Montreal along with some of Onoma’s employees. The studio was best known for its work on the well-regarded Gomobile gaming series, which included Hitman Go, Lara Croft Go, and Deus Ex Go — which were originally developed by Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, and Eidos Interactive, respectively, for other gaming platforms.
Additionally, the cost-cutting measures aren’t only limited to the reported Onoma shutdown. Eidos Montreal is reportedly reducing the scope of one of its in-development projects and entirely canceling another while also reportedly helping Microsoft develop an installment in the acclaimed Fable franchise. Will it be a part of the gaming giant’s plan to revolutionize the gaming industry? We don’t know, but it would appear that a similar fate has befallen Crystal Dynamics.
The latter is known for developing Lara Croft and Legacy of Kain series, the latter of which is done in collaboration with Amy Hennig, one of the greatest female writers in gaming — she’s currently working with Marvel on their recently announced game. In fact, it would seem that Embracer has great plans for Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics, mostly focusing on growth opportunities centered around their respective franchises and AAA games. In fact, Crystal Dynamics recently teased a Legacy of Kain with a survey about the game’s revival — we strongly encourage you to take the survey.
Other than the aforementioned Onoma shutdown, Embracer also closed their publishing QA division, and the entire move affected more roughly 200 people — only some of which will be transferred to Eidos Montreal on PC and console projects. It would seem that Embracer has no plans to tackle the mobile market, at least not with Onoma’s offering, which is admittedly lacking compared to other mobile releases in the current mobile gaming market.
Embracer Group’s acquisition of the aforementioned studios revealed some interesting details pertaining to Square Enix’s business. It’s still unknown why the company sold Tomb Raider, a franchise with over 88 million lifetime sales, for peanuts, but it seems eager to shed some of its IPs and receive a cash boost in the process.