Even with Embracer’s acquisition, Crystal Dynamics is still co-developing Perfect Dark

You’ve probably seen the news this morning that Embracer Group has made a major acquisition of Square Enix. In a £240 million (US$300 million) deal, Embracer is set to acquire Crystal Dynamics, which is currently working with The Initiative on Perfect Dark.

Thankfully, this acquisition doesn’t seem set to change that. Although Embracer Group did not mention it in its press release – and Crystal dynamics only referred to the news as “a new chapter in our story” – the Microsoft-owned studio directly addressed it in a Twitter post shortly after.

Telling subscribers it’s “excited to see Crystal Dynamics take these next steps with its studio,” The Initiative was quick to assure Perfect Dark fans that they would continue to work on this game as co-development partners.

This Partnership was first announced in September 2021, when initiative confirmed “The teams couldn’t pass up a chance to work together. We’re still early in development, but incredibly excited to use this unique opportunity to bring Perfect Dark’s vision to life!”

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However, since development began, the Initiative has seen a large number of senior staff departures. As VGC reported, half of Perfect Dark’s core development team reportedly quit in the past year, including game director Dan Neuburger, design director Drew Murray, and lead level designer. Chris O’Neill. That would have left The Initiative with just under 50 staff.

With that in mind, Crystal Dynamics is believed to have played a leading role in the development of the Perfect Dark reboot, so the news that development isn’t about to take another hit is reassuring.

Crystal Dynamics has a few ongoing projects

Right now, that leaves Crystal Dynamics working on three major games that we currently know about. Alongside Perfect Dark, Crystal Dynamics continued to provide post-launch support for Marvel’s Avengers. However, as Forbes reported last month, there is currently significant doubt about what is happening with its 2022 roadmap, which could be linked to this acquisition.

Embracer also confirmed that this deal includes the “next main Tomb Raider game”, which was recently announced at Epic’s recent State of Unreal event and uses Unreal Engine 5. In April, the general manager of the Tomb Raider franchise, Dallas Dickinson, the new engine “translates into next-level storytelling and gameplay experiences.

It’s a welcome return to the series for the team, which recently handled Tomb Raider (2013), Lara Croft and the Temple of Orisis, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. As for the latest entry, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it was instead developed by Eidos-Montreal, which was also acquired by Embracer Group alongside Square Enix Montreal.

Notably, this acquisition also means that Embracer owns the intellectual property rights to another Crystal Dynamics series, Legacy of Kain, and “more than 50 back-catalog games from Square Enix Holdings.” Embracer and Square Enix have yet to specify which games they relate to, but there’s every chance we could see other classic franchises return.

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