Square Enix’s Eidos Montreal sale may have been part of a bigger picture plan for future Sony acquisitions. At least, that’s according to a rumor the Montreal studio founder, Stephane D’Astous, mentions in a new interview.
Speaking to Games Industry.biz, D’Astous — who departed Eidos Montreal in 2013 — speculated on the how and why Square’s $300 million deal with Embracer Group for its three western studios came to be. He paints a rough picture of the relationship between Square Enix Japan and its western studios, too. The Japan branch viewed AAA projects like Tomb Raider, Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy as failures. For years, we’ve seen writing on the walls for the company’s Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal, and Crystal Dynamic deal, but the price tag remained a bit of a shock.
However, one of D’Astous’ more notable quotes is his casual mention of Square Enix vying for Sony acquisition. While he mentions he heard of Sony’s interest in buying, the company may just want Square Enix Tokyo. His full Games Industry quote reads:
“And there are rumours, obviously, that with all these activities of mergers and acquisitions, that Sony would really like to have Square Enix within their wheelhouse. I heard rumours that Sony said they’re really interested in Square Enix Tokyo, but not the rest. So, I think [Square Enix CEO Yosuke] Matsuda-san put it like a garage sale.”
Of course, D’Astous himself acknowledges this is just a rumor. He also does not specify if these rumors were internal, from peers, or just something he picked up online. Any of the scenarios sound plausible for the former Eidos executive, but that surprisingly cheap price tag for three studios makes Square’s quick shedding of its western branches a little more believable.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen chatter about a possible Square Enix sale, either. The same whispers kicked up after the deal with Embracer Group back in May. In 2021, Bloomberg Japan reported there were multiple parties interested in scooping the Final Fantasy maker up. Square Enix later refuted those claims and said they had not received an offer, nor were they considering selling off any part of the business.
If this is all a garage sale, it’s the worst damn garage sale I’ve ever been to. There’s only like three guys here, and they’re buying everything that’s not old-stained Tupperware up. Anyway, a scenario where Sony is scoping out a Square Enix deal seems less shocking in the current industry climate. We’ve seen acquisition, after acquisition, after acquisition in the shrinking media landscape. It’s a little disheartening. And while the Console War folks may celebrate, there’s only a handful of people who will ultimately win as all of these studios are gobbled up.