Embracer Group announces that the Saints Row developer, Volition, is going to operate under the Gearbox Software umbrella, rather than Deep Silver.


Media holding company Embracer has now announced that the developer of Saints Row, Volition, is being moved from Deep Silver over to Gearbox Software in order to continue its operations. Aside from Saints Row itself, Volition had previously worked on the well-regarded Red Faction, and FreeSpace titles over the years, though its latest productions haven’t been quite as successful, generally speaking.


Over the years, Volition has built a portfolio of games that had substantial niche appeal. Its most notable offering was that of Saints Row, specifically, which previously functioned as an all-out parody of Grand Theft Auto itself. The new Saints Row reboot, though apparently financially successful, was subject to critique for its flat narrative and uninteresting characters, which may have had something to do with the developer’s new home.

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While Gearbox Software is best known for Borderlands, the studio has branched out and expanded a bit with a more generalist approach over the past couple of years, going so far as to dabble in indie publishing, as was the case with Risk of Rain 2. Now, Gearbox will also be taking control over Volition itself, as Embracer Group’s latest earnings report states that the new Saints Row didn’t meet its expectations and left the fan base “partially polarized.” The report doesn’t go into much additional depth on this front, though it does state that Gearbox will “create future success” at Volition by leveraging its US-based experienced management team.

It is, of course, worth pointing out that both Gearbox Software and Deep Silver operate as subsidiaries of the Embracer Group. Volition is, therefore, not actually being acquired by a new company, but just being moved to continue its work under different management. Though it seems all but certain that Saints Row‘s lack of critical acclaim is what caused this, the same official report also states that the game is expected to generate a positive return on the publisher’s investment.

Notably, this isn’t the first time that Embracer CEO has commented on Saints Row. Lars Wingefors was disappointed that long-lasting franchise fans weren’t happy with the game, but mentioned that there’d be more information about what was happening at Volition in the November report. This was almost certainly referencing the developer’s new publishing partner, Gearbox.

The fact that Volition is going to continue its productions is good news for studio fans, because Embracer Group doesn’t shy away from scuttling developers when push comes to shove. Specifically, Embracer recently shut down Onoma, previously known as Square Enix Montreal. Allegedly a cost-cutting measure, a number of remaining Onoma staff were moved over to Eidos Montreal to continue working under Embracer.

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Source: Embracer Group

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