Eidos Montreal, developer of the Adam Jensen-centric Deus Ex reboots as well as 2021's Guardians of the Galaxy, announced today that it has laid off 97 employees "from development teams, administration, and support services." According to a Bloomberg report, the layoffs coincide with the cancellation of an unannounced Deus Ex game the studio was working on.
Eidos didn't confirm the existence or cancellation of an unannounced Deus Ex project in its announcement, but Bloomberg describes the game as having been in development for two years, likely starting just before or immediately after the studio's acquisition by the Embracer Group in 2022.
According to the anonymous sources who spoke to Bloomberg, the game was ready to transition out of pre-production into full development this year. This isn't the end for Eidos Montreal as a whole, though: the studio is reportedly still working on a similarly-unannounced game that is not attached to any pre-existing IP.
The Embracer Group picked up Eidos Montreal as part of its ill-fated spending spree in 2021 and '22, also acquiring Square Enix Montreal (which was immediately shuttered) and Crystal Dynamics from the Japanese giant, Square Enix. With Square Enix seeming to have never known what to do with its Western studios, I remember hoping that, despite the alarming speed of Embracer's industry consolidation, it might prove a better steward of these developers.
As the Swedish conglomerate began to decline last year, Eidos Montreal seemed to be unaffected by its closures and layoffs. Rumors emerged of a new entry in this most PC of videogame franchises, and the future of Deus Ex looked slightly brighter than it had since Mankind Divided failed to meet its sales targets in 2016 and a planned Adam Jensen trilogy was put on ice.
Elias Toufexis, the voice actor of reboot series protagonist Adam Jensen, confirmed last summer that he hadn't been approached about a new Deus Ex game. Toufexis weighed in on news of the cancellation and layoffs, simply tweeting "I told you guys it wasn't happening."
"For a while I was telling people I wasn't under any NDA and they never called me," Toufexis told PC Gamer today. "Here's proof they never will. I gotta be honest, I gave up on it a long time ago."
The ongoing industry malaise and Embracer's implosion have hit thousands of developers with layoffs, and the fever doesn't seem set to break anytime soon. While the human cost is always the worst part of news like this, it's also frustrating to see a beloved series like Deus Ex squandered in this way—The Embracer Group seems to be running out of exciting projects for gamers to care about.