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, which also makes Magic: The Gathering and is part of the Hasbro toy conglomerate, has made no secret of its ambition to become a major player in video gaming in recent years, establishing and buying development studios, hiring creatives, and signing deals. It now seems that it’s scaling back on those plans somewhat.
In a statement to Bloomberg, a Wizards of the Coast spokesperson said it was still “committed to using digital games,” and had “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 other words, only those projects with the best chance of success have survived the cull.
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 at external studios working on games for the company.
It’s not clear exactly which projects have been canceled. Bloomberg mentions the external studios Otherside Entertainment and Hidden Path Entertainment, both working on games for Wizards of the Coast, plus two further external projects and one internal game that were early in development. However, Hidden Path narrative director Whitney ‘Strix’ Beltrán said in a tweet that the studio’s D&D game is still in development, and that it 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 internal studios Wizards of the Coast has been building to realize 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 Alliance, was rebranding as Invoke Studios and working on a “AAA” D&D game.
In the last two years, Wizards of the Coast has also announced the foundation of two studios in Austin, Texas, both led by ex-BioWare talent: Skeleton Key and Archetype Entertainment.
Despite the scale of its investment in video games, Wizards of the Coast has made few releases and announcements. Aside from Dark Alliance, which met with a middling reception, and also Magic: The Gathering Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena, the only other game on the company’s public slate is Baldur’s Gate 3 from Larian Studios, developer of the Divinity games. Sequel to a pair of D&D-derived classics from the late 1990s and early 2000s, Baldur’s Gate 3 has been well received in early access, and is due to reach its full release version in August this year.
Update: This story now clarifies that both Magic: The Gathering Online and Arena are currently active.
Update (Jan. 6): The status of Hidden Path’s Dungeons & Dragons game remains unclear. On Thursday, the developer tweeted from its official account that “our epic D&D project with Wizards is still happening!” However, Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier responded, insisting that his reporting was accurate and that a Wizards of the Coast spokesman had confirmed that the project was canceled, both before and after the statement from Hidden Path.