For the past six months, the Embracer Group has been going through a severe cost-cutting push as part of a significant restructuring. As a result, it has closed studios, canceled titles, and laid off employees. The corporation acknowledged that it had cut about 900 positions, or 5% of the workforce, in the three months leading up to September 30. Not only that, but on Tuesday it was revealed that Embracer had let go of almost fifty employees from Fishlabs, the company that developed Chorus.
Free Radical Design, which came back together a few years ago to embark on a TimeSplitters comeback, is also having problems. The studio may close as early as December 11. According to an internal email received by VGC from Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors, such is the case.
Wingefors addressed his staff
As we proceed with the consultation process and prepare for Free Radical Design’s possible closure on December 11, 2023, I want to thank you for your dedication and the outstanding job you have done and continue to accomplish. We are focused on providing you with the best assistance possible throughout this transition since we know that you are going through a difficult period, more so than anybody else.
Nottingham, England serves as the studio’s home base. Plaion, the studio’s publisher owned by Embracer, is not allowed to fire any Free Radical employees without first providing a minimum of thirty days’ notice to the union in accordance with UK legislation. Plaion is obliged to investigate methods of preventing layoffs during the consultation period. Thus, there’s a probability that if a new owner takes over, Free Radical will continue to operate.
A number of Free Radical employees have changed their LinkedIn accounts to reflect that they are seeking employment, according to VGC, which first revealed earlier this month that the studio was in danger of closing. It’s rumored that other studios also extended interviews to Free Radical staff members.
The Breakdown of Embracer Group Started with..
Embracer Group’s disastrous restructuring effort started in May when a huge $2 billion contract fell through. Layoffs have been caused by the cuts thus far at companies including Crystal Dynamics, the creator of Tomb Raider, Zen Studios, the developer of Pinball FX, and Beamdog, the developer of Mythforce. Along with closing Saints Row creator Volition and company Onoma (previously Square Enix Montréal), Embracer is rumored to be considering selling Borderlands company Gearbox. The TimeSplitters series’ original developer, Free Radical, filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Two years ago, under Plaion division Deep Silver, founders Steve Ellis and David Doak brought the company back to life with the goal of creating a new TimeSplitters game. In the event that Free Radical closes, it’s unknown what will happen to the ongoing TimeSplitters project.
It’s unfortunate since many die-hard fans were rubbing their hands together when they realized that TimeSplitters, which had been all but written off back in 2005, would be making a comeback. It was thought to be gone forever until Free Radical made a comeback in 2021. Although it’s improbable, it’s still possible for someone to purchase TimeSplitters and put it back into the public eye, or for another company to acquire Free Radical.
Other firms dissolved by Embracer recently included Volition, the creator of Saints Row. Some, like Gearbox, which Embracer purchased in 2021 in an agreement valued at much to $1.4 billion, are said to be offered for sale.