Gearbox may soon follow suit.
Screenshot of Crash Bandicoot surfing on a vine in a jungle.

In a sea of games industry layoff news, there is finally a little shining light to share. Today, two studios announced that they have separated from their parent companies.

First, Saber Interactive broke free of Embracer Group's deadly embrace in a $500 million deal. Saber Interactive is now a privately owned company. According to the initial report from Bloomberg, Saber Interactive retains its near 3,500 employees. Furthermore, Saber Interactive will continue developing the remake of Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic.

Saber Interactive was purchased by Embracer Group in 2020 in a deal worth $525 million. In addition to developing their own titles, such as SnowRunner and World War Z, the studio owns a number of subsidiaries. Some of those subsidiary studios include Tripwire Interactive, Slipgate Ironworks, New World Interactive, Aspyr Media, 4A Games, and 3D Realms.

Toys for Bob also found newfound freedom today. Crash Bandicoot developer Toys for Bob is now an independent studio and is no longer owned by Activision, nor Activision's parent company, Microsoft. Toys for Bob announced this split earlier today in a blog post on their website.

Over the years, we've inspired love, joy, and laughter for the inner child in all gamers. We pioneered new IP and hardware technologies in Skylanders. We raised the bar for best-in-class remasters in Spyro Reignited Trilogy. We’ve taken Crash Bandicoot to innovative, critically acclaimed new heights.

With the same enthusiasm and passion, we believe that now is the time to take the studio and our future games to the next level. This opportunity allows us to return to our roots of being a small and nimble studio.

To make this news even more exciting, we’re exploring a possible partnership between our new studio and Microsoft. And while we’re in the early days of developing our next new game and a ways away from making any announcements, our team is excited to develop new stories, new characters, and new gameplay experiences.​
Toys for Bob says that both Activision and Microsoft have been "extremely supportive of our new direction." They continue to say, "we're confident that we will continue to work closely together as part of our future."

A third studio is also close to earning their own independence. According to a report from Kotaku, Gearbox is very close to joining Saber Interactive in escaping from Embracer Group's umbrella.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford held a company town hall earlier this week. At this town hall meeting, he told employees that a decision was made regarding the studio's future. More information on the future of Gearbox is said to be shared next month.

Kotaku says that there were three possibilities on what happens to Gearbox in the future. The studio would stay with Embracer, be sold to someone else, or finance a buyout and go back to being independently run. Kotaku says that of these three, the decision was made to sell the studio and that a deal is in the late stages of being finalized.

Randy Pitchford did issue a bit of a long-winded "no comment" statement to Kotaku about this report:

I’m delighted that what we might be up to is interesting enough to people that you want to make a story about us for your readers. I’m honored and humbled that our company is a topic of rumor, speculation, and discussion. As always, we will be thrilled to share whenever we have projects to announce or news to share as we work hard towards our mission to entertain the world.
Once more concrete information is know about this potential split between Gearbox and Embracer, we will be sure to pass it along.