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Volition shut down by Embracer after Saints Row disappointment

Volition is the next victim of Embracer’s cost-saving efforts
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Development studio Volition Games, which today is mostly known for creating the Red Faction and Saints Row series, was shut down on August 31, 2023, by parent company Embracer Group. Back in the 90s, the studio was behind the beloved Descent and Freespace series, though it didn’t make any games in those settings after being taken over by THQ in 2000. After THQ’s bankruptcy in 2012, Volition was sold off to Plaion, which in turn came under the wing of Embracer in 2018.

Volition’s last game, a Saints Row reboot, proved mediocre in the critical and public eye and was a financial disappointment as well, which likely made the studio a prime target in the big ongoing restructuring program at Embracer. It probably didn’t help that Agents of Mayhem, the studio’s game before the Saints Row reboot, also bombed.

Saints Row artwork.

The Saints Row reboot's lack of success likely was the last nail in the coffin for Volition Games.

“As part of that program, they evaluated strategic and operational goals and made the difficult decision to close Volition effective immediately,” a statement posted by Volition Games on LinkedIn reads. “We thank our customers and fans around the world for all the love and support over the years. You will always be in our hearts.”

Embracer announced this restructuring program in June 2023. It followed a massive shopping spree by the company over the last two years, which saw it add many studios and IPs to its portfolio, among them Lord of the Rings and Tomb Raider. Reportedly, this was done in anticipation of a deal worth about $2 billion, which fell apart at the last minute. It’s been claimed that Saudi Arabia’s Savvy Gaming Group was the partner in that canned deal, which seems to have necessitated this cost-cutting program, which unfortunately has been hitting many studios under Embracer’s enormous umbrella.

Before Volition, the newly-established studio Campfire Cabal, which was supposed to take over the Expeditions series, was closed as well. It’s unlikely that these will remain the only victims of the restructuring measures and more bad news will come in the following weeks and months.