Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, has canceled at least five of the video games it had in development. Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports. The publisher declined to comment on individual games when contacted by PC Gamer with an answer: “We remain committed to using digital games as a cornerstone of our strategy to bring our games to players around the world. We have made some changes made to our long-term portfolio to focus on games that are strategically aligned with the development of our existing brands and games that show promise to expand or engage our audience in new ways.”
In 2019, Wizards of the Coast announced that it had “seven or eight” Dungeons & Dragons video games in the works. That included Baldur’s Gate 3currently 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 release or be formally announced. However, they may not all be in danger. The part of Wizards’ statement about focusing on “existing brands” suggests that D&D-related projects may be safer than others.
We know Hidden Path Entertainment, creator of the Defense Grid series, was working on a big-budget open world D&D game. It still has five vacancies related to the project listed on it website (opens in new tab). Meanwhile, Otherside Entertainment, the developer that counts immersive sim legends Paul Neurath and Warren Spector among its main staff, was working on a game set in the Forgotten Realms that Spector said it was “going well” last year. Although the job postings have been removed, they mentioned “multiplayer gameplay systems” and were accompanied by a picture of a halfling stealing a crime lord’s goldfish, which could be interpreted as a heist game? That may have been wishful thinking on my part.
Wizards of the Coast also has in-house video game studios. Tuque Games, developer of D&D: Dark Alliance, was acquired by Wizards and renamed Invoke Studios. A press release (opens in new tab) stated that it was working on “an AAA game derived from the Dungeons & Dragons universe and developed on the Unreal 5 engine”. There’s also Skeleton Key Studio, which has yet to announce what project it’s working on, and Archetype Entertainment, led by ex-BioWare developers including James Ohlen, who is working on a narrative RPG “set in a new sci-fi universe”. It sure would be a shame to lose a sci-fi RPG with Knights of the Old Republic’s chief designer in charge of the studio.
Bloomberg reports that fewer than 15 Wizards of the Coast employees will lose their jobs as a result of these cancellations, and all will have the opportunity to apply for new roles within the publisher.