Saber Interactive has reportedly found a strategy to escape the death grip of its parent company Embracer Group AB. Bloomberg reported On Thursday, a “group of private investors” will buy the studio in a deal valued at roughly $500 million. Saber will then become a privately held company with about 3,500 employees.

Engadget emailed a Saber spokesperson for confirmation on the alleged buyout. The studio declined to comment.

The proposed deal would be one of Embracer’s most significant cost-cutting moves since the collapse of a reported $2 billion deal with a group backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Some criticized the threatened deal as the gaming equivalent of “sportswashing”, using popular sports acquisitions and partnerships to boost the global image of beleaguered governments. This followed US intelligence conclusion that the Saudi regime killed The Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018.

Other cost-cutting moves at Embracer include cutting about 900 jobs in September, cutting about 50 more jobs in Chorus developer Fishlabs and implementing more cuts in The developer of Tiny Tina’s Wonderland Lost Boys Interactive, Beamdog, Crystal Dynamics and Saber subsidiary New World Interactive. Embracer also closed Saints Row studio Volition Games and Campfire Cabal.

A still from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  Two people and a droid stand outside on a bridge in a Star Wars-like setting.  Buildings, ships, towers.

LucasArts / Aspyr

According to Bloombergthe sale of Saber will not affect the studio’s role in the development of upcoming Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) remake. This game has already changed hands once: One of Saber’s Eastern European studios took over from Aspyr Media in the summer of 2022.

Aspyr has reportedly already been working on the game for years before providing a demo to Lucasfilm and Sony in June 2022; a week later, Aspyr fired its design director and art director. (Reports of KOTOR demo costing a disproportionate amount of time and money may indicate a possible reason for the failure.) By the end of that summer, Saber had taken over development of the long-awaited—and indefinitely delayed—remake.

Embracer bought Saber for $525 million in 2020 while snapping up game studios left and right. During this period, it acquired at least 27 companies, folding some of them (Demiurge Studios and New World Interactive) into Sabre. Bloomberg reports that the deal to sell Saber to private investors includes an option to “acquire multiple subsidiaries of Embracer.”

One studio too big to be included in this deal is Borderlands developer Gearbox Entertainment. However, Kotaku reported On Thursday, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told employees this week that a decision had been made about the future of the studio. He is said to have said he would be able to share more details with them next month.

Meanwhile, a cloud of uncertainty surrounds Gearbox — and the other remaining Embracer studios. “I personally have looked elsewhere for roles not only because of concerns about layoffs at Embracer, but also because of the pay,” said an anonymous developer on Kotaku. “Unclear and in a holding pattern is definitely par for the course right now and has been for most of 2023.”