Deus Ex game cancelled, 97 staff cut at developer Eidos Montreal

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A Deus Ex videogame sequel has been cancelled by the Embracer Group, with 97 staff also laid off at developer Eidos Montreal.

At some point in the near future, there ought to be a book written about Swedish media company Embracer Group and its impact on the videogame industry.

For now, we’ll simply focus on the latest sorry episode in an ongoing saga: it’s been announced that Embracer has abruptly cancelled a Deus Ex game in development at Eidos Montreal – a project the studio had been working on for about two years. At the same time, 97 staff have been laid off – a figure later confirmed by Eidos Montreal in a statement.

“The global economic context, the challenges of our industry and the comprehensive restructuring announced by Embracer have finally impacted our studio,” Eidos Montreal wrote, as reported by Eurogamer. “The difficult decision has been made to let go 97 people from development teams, administration, and support services.”

The cancellation and job losses were first brought to life by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, and are but the latest in a growing string of cuts Embracer has made to its vast portfolio of game development studios in recent months.

Embracer’s change in fortunes appeared to begin in May 2023, when it emerged that a deal with an unnamed entity, worth some $2bn, fell through at the eleventh hour. (It was later reported that said deal would have been with Savvy Games, an investment company set up by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman).

The collapse of that deal saw Embracer’s share prices tumble by more than 40 percent, at which point the previously profligate company began looking around to see what cuts it could make.

Among the victims so far are Volition, the Saints Row studio closed down last September and Timesplitters developer Free Radical Design, which was shut down in December. Meanwhile, multiple job losses at studios including Crystal Dynamics, Fishlabs and Black Forest Games were all announced in the later months of 2023.

Eidos Montreal is one of the most respected developers in Canada, with its Deus Ex games – starting with Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 2011 – praised for their immersive sci-fi worlds and blending of action and stealth. It’s reported that, with its unnamed Deus Ex sequel now cancelled, the studio will instead concentrate on an “original franchise” according to Bloomberg.

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