Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast has canceled at least five unannounced video game projects, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
The publisher, who also does Magic: The Gathering and part of the Hasbro toy conglomerate, has made no secret of its ambition to become a major player in video games in recent years, creating and buying development studios, hiring creatives and signing deals. Now it looks like he’s scaled back those plans somewhat.
In a statement to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast said it was still “committed to using digital games” and had “made some changes to our long-term portfolio to focus on games that are strategically aligned with the development of our existing brands and those that show promise for expanding or engaging our audience in new ways.In other words, only the projects with the best chance of success have survived the showdown.
Fewer than 15 people will lose their jobs at Wizards of the Coast, the company said – but Bloomberg said the cancellations could have a bigger impact on outside studios working on games for the company.
It is not known exactly which projects have been canceled. Bloomberg mentions external studios Otherside Entertainment and Hidden Path Entertainment, both working on games for Wizards of the Coast, as well as two other external projects and one internal game that were in early development. However, Whitney ‘Strix’ Beltrán, Narrative Director of Hidden Path said in a tweet that the studio’s D&D game is still in development and is actively hiring for the project.
Polygon has requested comment from Wizards of the Coast, Otherside, and Hidden Path.
Given the small scale of the layoffs, the cancellations won’t have a major effect on the in-house studios Wizards of the Coast has built to fulfill its ambitions in video games, some of them with top talent. In October 2022, the company announced that Tuque Games, the developer of its 2021 release Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliancerenamed Invoke Studios and worked on a “AAA” D&D game.
Over the past two years, Wizards of the Coast has also announced the founding of two studios in Austin, Texas, both led by former BioWare talent: Skeleton Key and Archetype Entertainment.
Despite the magnitude of its investment in video games, Wizards of the Coast has made few releases and announcements. Apart Dark Alliancewhich met with a mediocre reception, as well as Magic: The Gathering online and Magic: The Gathering Arenathe only other game on the company’s public list is Baldur’s Gate 3 from Larian Studios, developer of the Divinity games. Sequel to a pair of D&D spin-off classics from the late 1990s and early 2000s, Baldur’s Gate 3 was well received in early access and is expected to hit its full release in August this year.
To update: This story now clarifies that both Magic: The Gathering online and Arena are currently active.
Update (January 6): The status of Hidden Path’s Dungeons & Dragons game remains uncertain. Thursday, the developer tweeted from his official account that “our epic D&D project with Wizards is still ongoing!” However, the Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier repliedinsisting his report was accurate and that a spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast had confirmed the project had been cancelled, both before and after the Hidden Path declaration.
This is a very unusual and very unfortunate situation, but we are maintaining our relationship. A source and a spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast told Bloomberg on Tuesday that Hidden Path’s D&D game has been cancelled. https://t.co/5RgFsXUrxU
—Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 6, 2023
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