Embracer Group is once again doing sterling work to demonstrate the perils of consolidation. Piranha Bytes, who are one of well over a hundred studios that Embracer bought up in recent years, today posted a statement on Xitter saying “Don’t write us off yet!”. The statement goes on to say that they’re “convinced they will succeed”. Succeed at what, you might ask? Not being shut down by Embracer.
The news of the Gothic and Elex dev’s potential shuttering has been flying since last week, when a popular German gaming podcast posted an episode all about the subject, which was then dissected on Reddit – though it should be noted that the Gothic subreddit had already sussed something was up – and confirmed by German gaming website Gamestar.
Embracer announced their huge restructuring project last year, with notable casualties including Volition, the Saints Row studio, and Beamdog. But it seems Piranha Bytes might not be entirely out of options – or at least their statement would like us to believe that. It’s quite the contrast to the Gamestar piece, which suggests that a number of Piranha Bytes staff had already been laid off. They at least still have someone who can knock up a Xitter statement. Still, things look a bit dire. Their official website is now basically just a logo.
This continues a theme, not just of layoffs, but of studios getting not being allowed even one chance to make a game that turns out to be bad or poorly received. Volition ate it after the Saints Row reboot was distinctly mid, and Ascendant (not owned by Embracer) lost half their staff after Immortals Of Aveum undersold. Elex II, Piranha’s sci-fantasy RPG, was a bit rubs. But their track record of good stuff should surely count for something. I’m not a fancy business talkin’ gal, but it seems to me that the current status quo is no way to make a sustainable games industry or good games. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Piranha Bytes, at any rate. But not Embracer.