Embracer Acquires Tolkien-Related IP Rights and Shows New LOTR Movies

Embracer Acquires Tolkien-Related IP Rights and Shows New LOTR Movies

A classic photo of famed author JRR Tolkien, altered to reflect the new manager of his most famous intellectual property as of this week's megaton acquisition announcement.
Enlarge / A classic photo of famed author JRR Tolkien, altered to reflect the new manager of his most famous intellectual property as of this week’s megaton acquisition announcement.

Getty Images/Sam Machkovech

Swedish game publisher Embracer Group has racked up headlines in recent years thanks to its acquisitions of megatons of video game studios, and on Thursday morning, the company announced that it has grown even more. His latest wave of acquisitions includes a surprising company outside his usual business arena: Middle-earth Enterprises.

This company is better known as the exclusive one in charge of all Lord of the Rings Y Hobbit novels, along with all the intellectual property derived directly from those JRR Tolkien fantasy masterpieces. The financial terms of this deal with the previous controller, Saul Zaentz Company, were not disclosed, but Embracer is already eager to show new movies featuring the characters from the aforementioned novels.

Production plans for new films have not yet been set; rather, Embracer says in a press release that it wants to “explore additional films based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn, and other characters from JRR Tolkien’s literary works.” The deal has a logical connection to Embracer’s existing business in the form of LOTRThematic board games are already being produced by its subsidiary, Asmodee, while it’s hard to imagine Embracer not immediately assigning one of its many wholly-owned video game studios to the franchise in one way or another. However, Embracer has yet to suggest plans to produce a Tolkien-themed video game. Instead, its Thursday announcement hinted at “new opportunities for fans to explore this fictional world through merchandising and other experiences.”

It is important to note that this agreement does not No materially affect Amazon’s upcoming and highly budgeted power rings T.V. series. The storyline for that series was led directly by the Tolkien estate and pitched to various platforms before Amazon emerged with a winning bid, and the deal cleverly circumvented Middle-earth Enterprises’ rights, because it involved text and materials that weren’t covered. for the long-standing agreement. SZC arrangement. Embracer suggests that it “has a financial interest” in the Amazon series, but it’s unclear if Embracer will see any part of the profits from that production, or if they’ll simply benefit from more publicity and attention to all things Tolkien.

That’s a lot of hugs

Embracer named six other companies as acquisition targets, four of which resemble traditional game development houses: Tripwire Interactive, the US studio responsible for killing floor Y Man eater Serie; Tuxedo Labs, a Swedish studio best known for PC-exclusive destruction simulation game. Demolish; Tatsujin, a Japanese developer made up of arcade-era developers with plans to work on series from the esteemed Toaplan game library (particularly the classic “shmup” truxton and the beloved meme machine that is zero wing); and Bitwave Games, another Swedish studio with plans to collaborate with Tatsujin and also create versions of NES-era classics like Sunsoft’s 8-bit Lost Gem. Trick. This latest announcement appears to spoil at least one news item from a Sunsoft-related event scheduled for Thursday.

Outside of formal game studios, Embracer’s other three named acquisitions appear designed to diversify the company’s portfolio of gaming businesses. The best known of these, Limited Run Games, has risen to prominence among gaming fans over the past five years thanks to its focus on physical game releases. Limited Run typically opens pre-orders for game cartridges and discs that were previously released as digital download exclusives; once the pre-order period is complete, the publisher typically cancels pre-orders for the game in question, especially since the games in question are often cult classics or niche favorites (although they do occasionally publish games from larger game studios, particularly certain versions of games in Condemn Serie). Embracer did not suggest in its acquisition announcement that it plans to change Limited Run’s business model.

Embracer is also acquiring Singtrix, a maker of karaoke systems launched by patent holders previously involved in the Guitar Hero Serie. The announcement of that acquisition does little to clarify what consumers can expect from an Embracer-led Singtrix, aside from suggesting that the company is working on “the next pop culture music experience,” which may or may not involve a future project. similar to a video game. . There’s a chance that Embracer’s third acquisition outside the studio, European peripheral maker Gioteck, could help Embracer build some sort of physical music peripheral to go along with whatever Singtrix is ​​cooking up, but that’s just speculation at this point. moment.

In addition to all these announcements, Embracer buried news of other Acquisition of a game studio that is not prepared to announce “due to commercial reasons”. Instead, Embracer suggested that this unnamed studio counts as “the third or fourth largest game studio” it plans to acquire today, suggesting it’s not necessarily a massive studio. (If this were the third or fourth largest acquisition in the company’s entire history, on the other hand, it would be worth no less than $525 million, which is what it paid for the entirety of Saber Interactive in early 2020.)

Thursday’s news follows the shocking announcement in May that Embracer had acquired all of Square-Enix’s western operations, and those studios’ lucrative intellectual property (including the Tomb Raider, Legacy of Kain and Deus Ex series), for just $ 300 million. That announcement included confirmation that the studios were moving forward with games in the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex series, though neither Embracer nor its new studios have revealed anything more about such games since the news broke in May. That followed its acquisitions of well-known game studios like Gearbox Entertainment (borderlands), 4A sets (metropolitan exodus) and Deep Silver Volition (row of saints, red faction).

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