Wizards of the Coast, the company known for Magic The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, has decided to scale down its video game projects. The news comes from a Bloomberg report, which says at least five games have been axed. A Wizards of the Coast spokesperson relayed this comment on the story:
We remain committed to using digital games as a cornerstone of our strategy for bringing our games to players around the world. We 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.
Slightly over three years ago, Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks announced big plans to make at least seven or eight Dungeons & Dragons games. That figure includes the released Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance and the upcoming Baldur's Gate 3, now scheduled to launch out of early access in August. When figuring out which projects have been canceled, things are a bit muddier. Some hadn't even been announced yet. However, the Bloomberg report specifically mentions Hidden Path Entertainment and OtherSide Entertainment being affected.
The former studio was working on a triple-A open world RPG set in D&D, which would have been a first. The latter was also working on a D&D game at its New England office, as revealed last March by Warren Spector (who is otherwise busy).
Beyond that, we know less than 15 Wizards of the Coast developers lost their jobs due to the internal shift and will be offered new roles within the company. Indeed, industry veteran Jeremy Gaffney (former president of Carbine Studios and Executive Producer of the MMO Wildstar) confirmed on LinkedIn that the new IP he was working on as an Executive Producer had been canceled.
The early-stage game dev project I was working on at Wizards of the Coast was shut down just before break - meaning some great folks are available! If you're looking to hire strong folks (especially in the Seattle area), definitely don't be shy about reaching out and I'd be happy to put you in touch with those for whom I can vouch who might be a fit.
On my end, I'm talking with Wizards about other roles and am also open to looking elsewhere - do reach out! It was unexpected (I relocated to Seattle at the end of November and the project was cancelled a few weeks later), but that's the game biz sometimes.
Wizards of the Coast also owns at least three internal game studios: Invoke Studios (formerly known as Tuque, the makers of Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance), which was working on another D&D title powered by Unreal Engine 5; Archetype Entertainment, founded by ex BioWare veteran James Ohlen, which is developing a narrative driven Sci-Fi RPG; and Skeleton Key Studio, opened just a few months ago in Austin (also the home of Archetype Entertainment). The status of their projects is currently unknown.