Barely a month after investing in the startup, Nexon today announced its plan for the complete acquisition of Embark Studios AB (“Embark Studios” or “Embark”), founded by Patrick Söderlund. Nexon will increase its existing stake of 66.1% to 72.8%, and will have the option to fully purchase Embark’s remaining shares through Nexon stock over a five-year period. The additional transaction is expected to be ratified at the Nexon extraordinary shareholder meeting in September. It is amazing how things progressed in a short time.
Nexon’s Western development strategy will now be driven by Embark in Stockholm, with Patrick Söderlund, founder of Embark and Nexon board member, at the studio’s helm. Embark’s full integration and its key role within Nexon will ensure a sharp focus on Nexon’s products developed in North America and Europe. This is where it truly worries us.
If you did not know, as pointed out in the Kotaku report, Patrick Söderlund was the one who:
• Forced all studios under EA to use the Frostbite engine, which led to severe development difficulties for games such as Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Anthem.
• The executive who was pleased with the initial Anthem demo, not knowing it was just something pieced together in 6 weeks just to satisfy him.
From other news sources, Patrick Söderlund also oversaw all these events during his time as Executive Vice President in charge of Worldwide Studios at EA:
• Implementing intrusive and anti-gaming loot boxes in fully-paid $60 games such as:
– Star War Battlefront II (including locking key characters behind a huge paywall)
– FIFA 19 (got into trouble with the Belgian laws)
• Played a major role in the closure of Visceral Games (Patrick Söderlund said the last game based on Star Wars was “too linear” and “players wanted something to enjoy for a long time,” marking the start of the “live services” mindset in all studios)
• Trying to build EA’s esports future with a god-awful mobile game known as Command & Conquer: Rivals which no one gives a shit about anymore
We are pretty sure some of these are not directly under his control, but he is still the head honcho after all looking after all of EA’s games, hence the lofty title. And for all his “achievements”, EA gave him USD 20 million when he left. We are truly worried about the future of Nexon (at least in the west), and let’s hope Mr Patrick Söderlund learnt from all the shenanigans during his time at EA and turn over a new leaf. *Chants intense prayer*