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For the first time, gamers have learned about the scale of the impact of Embracer Group’s restructuring program. Lars Wingefors, the company’s co-founder and CEO disclosed this in his opening remark at the company’s second-quarter earnings presentation on Thursday, November 16, 2023.

Embracer Group Confirms Layoff Of 900 Employees In Q2 In Earnings Presentation
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

“Before we get into the business details of our second quarter, I want to start this conference by saying a personal thank you to the 900 who left Embracer during the second quarter,” Wingefors said. “As you will hear today, we are determined to transform Embracer into a leaner, stronger company.”

Several Embracer-owned studios have announced layoffs in the last few months including Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider), Beamdog (Knights of the Old Republic), Zen Studios (Pinball FX), Gearbox Publishing, and others. Volition Games (Saints Row) was shut down back in August. Campfire Cabal was also shuttered by Embracer.

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“It’s painful to me that you need to leave the group, and we have been, and are doing, everything we can to preserve jobs without changing what we need to achieve. Our people are what make up the very fabric of Embracer. For me personally, it’s crucial that the program is carried out with compassion, respect, and integrity.”

Lars Wingefors, co-founder and CEO

Several Embracer-owned studios are running the risk of layoffs or closures as the company’s restructuring program continues. Others have been put up for sale including Gearbox, the studio behind Borderlands.

Embracer’s woes began after it lost a $2 billion Saudi deal. The restructuring became inevitable to ensure the company maintains a healthy debt profile.

Embracer Group’s Free Radical Design faces closure

Embracer Group Confirms Layoff Of 900 Employees In Q2 In Earnings Presentation

One of the Embracer-owned studios that now runs the risk of closure is Free Radical Design, the Nottingham, UK-based developer behind the classic FPS series TimeSplitters. This sad development is coming barely two years after the studio was re-established, according to a VGC source.

The source told VGC that employees have been notified of the possible closure of the studio. According to UK employment law, Embracer Group’s Plaion, which runs Free Radical, is mandated to consult with employees 30 days before layoffs—including looking for ways to avert layoffs.

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The studio could be spared from the closure if Embracer receives an acquisition offer from third parties. VGC also carried out a scan and found out that 15 employees at Free Radical have already published posts declaring their availability for new roles.

VGC sent a comment request to Plaion, Embracer, and Free Radical but received none. It’s unclear how the studio’s closure will impact TimeSplitters or other projects that the studio may be working on at the moment.

Embracer Group Confirms Layoff Of 900 Employees In Q2 In Earnings Presentation

The foremost iteration of Free Radical Designs was created in 1999. Afterward, they created the TimeSplitters series and Second Sight. Their next game, Haze, was poorly received. With the cancelation of Star Wars: Battlefront project, the studio went bankrupt in 2008.

Crytek later salvaged what was left of the company and rebranded it, leading to the production of the Crysis series, Warface, and Ryse: Son of Rome. The studio was acquired by Deep Silver in 2014 and became Dambuster Studios. They released Dead Island 2 earlier this year.

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Embracer announced in May 2021 that a new Free Radical Design was created by the original founders David Doak and Steve Ellis to continue working on the TimeSplitters IP.

“To finally be able to confirm that the studio has been formed and that we have a plan for the next TimeSplitters game is incredible,” Ellis said at that time. “While we cannot tell you anything more at the moment, we look forward to sharing information in the future.”

This year has witnessed widespread job losses with Epic Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Crystal Dynamics, BioWare, Riot Games, Team17, CD Projekt Red, Telltale Games, and many others announcing layoffs.

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