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Volition Games shuts down

Saints Row Developer Volition Games Has Been Shut Down

by Marcus Stewart on Aug 31, 2023 at 12:38 PM

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Update, 9/1/23:

Yesterday, Volition Games, the studio behind the Saints Row and Red Faction franchises, announced it was shutting down, effective immediately. Today, it released a new statement discussing its 30-year history, and thanking the talent that has come through its doors across three decades and its community of fans. 

You can read the statement in full below:

"Thirty years of making games. There are only a handful of studios in the industry that have been around for 30 years, and we took a lot of pride over Volition being one of them. Volition has been around long enough that some folks forget what we made, but they certainly know our games. Refrains such as, "Volition made Descent?!", or "Volition made FreeSpace?!", or "Volition made that Summoner RPG with that hilarious video?!" are not uncommon. Sometimes it's easier to remember the games more than the studio that built them, especially for those that have been around as long as we have. But all good things come to an end, and so it is with Volition. After 30 years, Volition has closed, and we wanted to say a few final words.
To start, we know there wouldn't be a studio without the people in it. While it may sound cliched, as those who have worked at Volition can attest, it truly is a huge family. Volition started with a team that had a vision for how to make the kinds of games others couldn't and infused that confidence throughout the entire company. We assembled an incredibly talented group of artists, storytellers, and creators who together built a culture that attracted top quality people who truly cared for each other. Time progressed, people naturally came and went (and very often returned again!), but the people were always what made Volition truly special. Do all developers feel the same? We know they do, but in this case there truly was a unique culture of people that cared about each other like family, combined with the will to create some of the most unique games every created. Thank you so much every Volitionite who has ever worked here. You are all what made this the magical place it was to work at, and we can never say enough about how much you have meant to us over these 30 years.
Beyond our development family, we also wouldn't have a studio without our extended family – our community! For 30 years now you have played our games – sometimes you've loved them, sometimes you've been disappointed with them, but you've always been there. We can speak for everyone who has worked at Volition when we say all the hard work and sacrifices we've put into these games have been for you. Over these many years we have enjoyed working on an extremely diverse series of games, and so many of you have come along for that ride. We can't thank you enough for sticking with us throughout all this time. We've loved your enthusiasm every step of the way, even those times when you wish we had (or hadn't) gone a certain way with a Saints Row or Red Faction or Descent. You are why we kept making these games, and those of us that have been part of the Volition family will be eternally grateful.

The original story continues below...

Original story, 8/31/23:

Volition Games, the studio behind franchises such as Saints Row and Red Faction, has been shut down effectively immediately. 

The news first broke on, with several employees posting that they had been let go and that the studio was no more. In an official statement on the studio’s website, Volition states that Swedish holdings company Embracer Group, which acquired the studio in 2018, has forced it to cease operations as part of Embracer's company-wide restructuring. Volition’s full farewell post reads as follows:

“The Volition team has proudly created world-class entertainment for fans around the globe for 30 years. We’ve been driven by a passion for our community and always worked to deliver joy, surprise, and delight.
This past June, Embracer Group announced a restructuring program to strengthen Embracer and maintain its position as a leader in the video game industry. As part of that program, they evaluated strategic and operational goals and made the difficult decision to close Volition effective immediately. 
To help our team, we are working to provide job assistance and help smooth the transition for our Volition family members. 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.” 
- Volition Games

Embracer’s restructuring is the result of the disastrous collapse of a proposed $2 billion partnership with Savvy Games Group, a Saudi Arabian-funded organization, who backed out of the deal in May. This caused Embracer’s share value to plummet, forcing the mega-corporation into cost-cutting mode after it spent years acquiring a multitude of game studios and entertainment IPs, such as The Lord of the Rings.

Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors announced in an open letter plans to make the company a “leaner, stronger and a more focused, self-sufficient company,” which included plans to close or sell off some of its game studios, along with halting projects in development and other cost-saving measures. Unfortunately, Volition has become one of the first casualties of this restructuring.

Saints Row: The Third Remastered

Volition's demise comes after the company celebrated its 30th anniversary as a studio in June. Beginning with the Descent series (released under Voliton's original name, Parallax Software) and releasing cult favorites such as Summoner, it found major success with the Red Faction franchise during the 2000s, peaking with the well-received Red Faction: Guerilla in 2009. Volition would kick off the Xbox 360 generation with the release of Saints Row, a GTA-inspired series that would steadily gain popularity and a unique identity before reaching its zenith with the critically acclaimed Saints Row: The Third in 2011. 

However, following the release of Saints Row IV in 2013, the studio entered a rough patch. It took a swing with a new IP in the tepidly received Agents of Mayhem in 2017, which garnered disappointing sales. Its final game, 2022’s Saints Row reboot, also received a mixed reaction from fans and underperformed in sales to the point that Embracer transferred the studio to Gearbox. With the studio’s closure, it’s unclear what will become of Saints Row, Red Faction, and the other franchises under its umbrella.

While the last few years weren’t kind of Volition, there’s no denying the positive impact its games and series had on the industry. What’s your favorite Volition game? Share your memories in the comments below.

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