Renton, Wash.-based Wizards of the Coast has canceled at least five unnamed video game projects, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The cancellations are said to affect fewer than 15 people on Wizards’ internal teams, all of whom are eligible to be rehired elsewhere in the company.
“We remain committed to using digital games as a cornerstone of our strategy for bringing our games to players around the world,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to GeekWire. “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.”
Wizards has spent much of the last three years branching out into the video game industry as both a developer and publisher, beginning with 2021’s Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. In October, it announced the foundation of its sixth and latest internal development studio, Invoke, in Montreal.
“Video games are the biggest, fastest-growing form of entertainment on the planet,” Wizards CEO Cynthia Williams told GeekWire last month. “I think it is a critical way to give fans a different way to enjoy a brand and game that they love. I do view it as critical for reaching more of the players around the world.”
The canceled projects reportedly include the unnamed Dungeons & Dragons game that was underway at Bellevue, Wash.-based Hidden Path Entertainment (Defense Grid), and another unspecified game being developed at Boston’s Otherside Entertainment (Underworld Ascendant). At time of writing, Hidden Path’s website still lists its D&D game as its current project.
The remaining cancellations affect a number of projects that had yet to be officially announced. Upcoming releases such as the D&D-based RPG Baldur’s Gate 3, coming in August, are still on schedule. There’s also no evidence that the cancellations have affected ongoing video game projects at Wizards such as its Magic: The Gathering – Arena.
The sudden cancellations come at a point in time when Wizards of the Coast’s parent company, Hasbro, is having a tumultuous period. Last year stockholders accused Hasbro’s board of mismanaging Wizards, which quietly rose to make up nearly half of Hasbro’s overall revenue by early 2022.
Hasbro’s other departments, such as its various toylines, suffered a loss of revenue in 2022 due to inflation and fears of an imminent recession.