Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, has canceled at least five of the videogames it had in development, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports. The publisher declined to comment on individual games when PC Gamer reached out, offering the reply, “We remain committed to using digital games as a cornerstone of our strategy for bringing our games to players around the world. We have made some changes to our long-term portfolio to focus on games which are strategically aligned with developing our existing brands and those which show promise in expanding or engaging our audience in new ways.”
In 2019, Wizards of the Coast announced that it had “seven or eight” Dungeons & Dragons videogames in the works. That included Baldur’s Gate 3, currently in early access, and co-op brawler Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, released to a mixed reception in 2021, but the other games have yet to come out or be formally announced. They may not all be in danger, however. The part of Wizards’ statement about focusing on “existing brands” suggests D&D-related projects might be safer than others.
We know that Hidden Path Entertainment, creator of the Defense Grid series, was working on a big-budget open world D&D game. It still has five job openings related to the project listed on its website (opens in new tab). Meanwhile Otherside Entertainment, the developer that counts immersive sim legends Paul Neurath and Warren Spector among its key staff, was working on a game set in the Forgotten Realms that Spector said was “going well” last year. Though its job listings have been taken down, they mentioned “multiplayer gameplay systems” and were accompanied by a picture of a halfling stealing a crime lord’s goldfish could be interpreted as suggesting a heist game? That might have been wishful thinking on my part.
Wizards of the Coast also has internal videogame studios. Tuque Games, developer of D&D: Dark Alliance, was acquired by Wizards and rebranded as Invoke Studios. A press release (opens in new tab) declared it was working on “a AAA game derived from the Dungeons & Dragons universe and developed on the Unreal 5 engine”. There’s also Skeleton Key Studio, which had yet to announce the project it was working on, and Archetype Entertainment, led by ex-BioWare developers including James Ohlen, working on a narrative RPG “set in a new science fiction universe”. It sure would be a shame to lose a sci-fi RPG with the lead designer of Knights of the Old Republic heading its studio.
Bloomberg reports that fewer than 15 Wizards of the Coast employees will lose their jobs as a result of these cancellations, and all of them will have the opportunity to apply for new roles within the publisher.