Did Embracer Group’s Selling Spree Affect the Next Tomb Raider Game?


Embracer Group swiftly went from going on a multi-billion spending spree promising studios with beloved IPs the chance to get more backing for their projects to one of the most maligned names in gaming. Throughout 2023 and 2024, the company committed to an extensive program of layoffs across its newly acquired businesses and sold off many of its properties at a significant loss.

Reportedly being some $2 billion in debt at one point in 2023, drastic action was suddenly needed, but what matters to customers is how such moves have impacted their favorite IPs and most highly anticipated games. One of the biggest names under the Embrace Group umbrella is Tomb Raider, and given the prestige of some of the divestments so far, many gamers are worried about Lara Croft’s future.

Entertainment icon should be key to Embracer’s recovery

Assuming that a recovery can be mounted by the Embracer Group, it would be safe to assume that the Tomb Raider project in the works is expected to be key. Lara Croft is simply too much of a draw for Crystal Dynamics’ next game and other media projects not to offer a boon to her IP’s owners. After all, she’s extremely popular and iconic wherever she goes in pop culture.

One of her most prominent and long-standing successful ventures beyond video gaming has, naturally, been in another form of gaming. To showcase her appeal, you can look to the Jackpot City free spins. It’s one of many bonuses available for the casino platform. On their pre-registration landing page for online pokies, they highlight Tomb Raider among the most appealing games on the site.

Elsewhere, while rarely well-received by critics, the Tomb Raider movies have always done quite well. The 2001 and 2003 outings starring Angelina Jolie pulled in a combined $430 million, while Alicia Vikander’s turn as the Tomb Raider in 2018 turned in $273 million worldwide. Next, there’ll be Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft, which is a Netflix animated series. So, a lot is powering up the character’s next big-money video game.

Lara looks to have survived the guillotine  

As of December 2022, the Tomb Raider franchise had already sold 95 million copies, with the glut of that coming from the Survivor Trilogy. According to VG Insights data, some 111,000 units had been sold of Tomb Raider I-III Remastered on Steam alone within its first six weeks of going on sale. Factor in its release on all home console platforms, and it’d be fair to say that the next Tomb Raider release will push the franchise past the 100-million mark.

Still, the previous successes of game series didn’t stop Embracer Group from snagging Crystal Dynamics, committing to a hefty sheet of layoffs, and then selling the studios or groups anyway. Of them all, Saber Interactive was among the first to strike hard, with it being sold for $247 million at around 50 percent of its original purchase price. Gearbox followed suit, going for $460 million just three years after its $1.3 billion purchase.

Between those two alone, you’ve got the developers of Borderlands, Half-Life, Duke Nukem, Homeworld, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (which has a remake in the works), and Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine (and its upcoming sequel). With such big properties cast into the fire for significant losses, it makes sense that fans would be worried about disruption to Crystal Dynamics and its new Tomb Raider game being made on UE5.

Crystal Dynamics did suffer some losses, with Embracer commissioning the sacking of ten members of staff, but following the Gearbox sale, CEO Lars Wingefors, as reported by Ars Technica, stated that the structured divestment process is now finalized. So, it seems that Lara Croft is safe for now, and the game’s development continues.

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Last Updated: Apr 08, 2024