Embracer Group officially sells Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 developer Saber Interactive — and the sale might include even more

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 hero image
(Image credit: Focus Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • Embracer Group is selling developer and publisher Saber Interactive for a listed price of $247 million. 
  • The sale includes multiple subsidiaries, including New World Interactive, Nimble Giant, and Slipgate. 
  • The sale also grants Saber Interactive the option to bring Metro developer 4A Games and Pinball FX developer Zen Studios. 
  • According to emails seen by Bloomberg, Saber Interactive has already decided to bring 4A Games and Zen Studios. 

Update, March 14, 2024:

Saber Interactive chief operating officer Tim Willits has confirmed that the company is continuing to work on "a number of titles," including Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2, John Carpenter's Toxic Commando, and Jurassic Park: Survival.

Original story:

Embracer Group is shedding its largest acquisition yet. 

Saber Interactive is being sold by Embracer Group, as previously reported. The sale encompasses around 3,000 employees in numerous Saber Interactive studios around the world, and will see Embracer Group fully exit any operations in Russia. The transaction is officially listed at $247 million (more on that below) and includes select subsidiaries Nimble Giant, DIGIC, Fractured Byte, Sandbox Strategies, Mad Head Games, Slipgate, New World Interactive, and 3D Realms, which will all be included in a newly created, privately-held company, Beacon. 

Embracer Group acquired Saber Interactive for $150 million back in 2020. Saber Interactive is leading development on multiple upcoming games, including Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 and the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake. 

In a press release, Matthew Karch, co-founder of Saber Interactive and Beacon, noted that Saber Interactive and Embracer Group will "...continue to remain a large, long-term shareholder of Embracer and we will remain partners on several ongoing and future projects."

"This transaction also safeguards the livelihoods of hundreds of professionals, many of whom I have worked with for over two decades," Karch added. 

"This is the first transaction of the previously mentioned structured processes and marks a small but important step in our journey to transform Embracer into the future for the benefit of all employees, gamers, and shareholders," said Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors.

Embracer Group has focused on slashing costs over the last year, cancelling numerous games, laying off hundreds of employees, and closing down studios like Volition.

What about 4A Games and other Saber Interactive studios?

Officially, Embracer Group is retaining the other Saber Interactive subsidiaries, such as Aspyr, Demiurge, and Tripwire Interactive, while Saber Interactive retains the right to bring along 4A Games and Zen Studios for a limited amount of time. 

In practice, an email to Saber Interactive staff seen by Bloomberg indicates that Saber Interactive has already decided to take 4A Games and Zen Studios, bringing the price of the sale closer in line with the originally reported figure of $500 million.

 Regardless of whether or not the two studios are taken with Saber Interactive, Embracer Group is keeping the rights to 4A Games' back catalogue and immediate upcoming games, which includes the Metro franchise. 

Analysis: The best option possible

While it's disappointing that games like the Metro franchise will still be held by Embracer Group, this option seems like the best thing for everyone. Saber Interactive instantly becomes one of the largest privately-held companies in the gaming industry, and the need for support work as well as upcoming games like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 ensures that the company will have steady work. 

Embracer Group, meanwhile, is removing thousands of staff from its payroll and getting an immediate cash infusion. I'm not convinced that changes the company's long-term survival much, but in the immediate here and now, it can hopefully prevent further layoffs. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

  • fjtorres5591
    It is generally good to see the Embracer house of cards getting dismantled but...

    Don't be so sure the liberated studios will survive indefinitely off support contracts to bigger companies. That assumes the development *process* will remain unchanged for the next generation of AAA games. As they say in courtroom dramas: "Assumes facts not in evidence."

    First, we can expect a move to smaller games that don't make or break a quarter, among the big studios (more PENTIMENT sized shorter, more focused games, and less SKULL AND BONES or GOTHAM KNIGHT sizers) and those games don't require outside support to avoid CRUNCH TIME because their release can comfortably slip until they are truly ready.

    Second, to be crass: AI code generators. Support is to a large extent debugging, filler quests, and other kinds of derivative grunt work. Well, again, AI tools can multiply the productivity of a couple inhouse developers to obviate the need for support. Derivative is the wheelhouse for AI tools.

    Given the current length of development pipelines, the old ways will persist for a while, but eventually the need to cut costs and reduce development cycle times will reduce, if not end most of the need for external support. Support will come from Inside with new tools and processes.

    Finally, now more than ever, IP is king.
    Note that embracer sold tbe studio but *kept* the IP. Likewise, TOYS FOR BOB was set free but the IP almost certainly stayed behind.

    The path to long term survival is from these newly independent studios depends on they themselves adopting the new tools and processes, developing their own IP, and releasing smaller games themselves to maintain cash flow.

    So, Saber and all? Short term: YAY! Good luck!
    Longer term? GULP. They'll ned it.

    Lean years are in sight. Worse things are coming.