Lightforge Games Suffers Significant Layoffs, D&D Inspired Project ORCS Development Paused

By admin May10,2024

Lightforge Games is indefinitely pausing work on its upcoming RPG Project O.R.C.S. The team has been reduced to a skeleton crew as the few remaining staff members look to determine their next course of action.

In a message posted to the game’s website and social media channels yesterday, Lightforge cites a lack of publisher funding as the reason it no longer has the means to continue work on Project O.R.C.S. To minimize any prolonged struggle, the team decided to immediately pull the plug. 

“We’re making this call now so that we can provide support to our wonderful team of devs: providing them with time to stabilize, working together to help folks as they re-enter the job market, and finding new positions to continue our passion for making games,” says Lightforge in the statement. 

In the coming days, the team will shut down its Discord and social channels. After that, the remaining staff will “determine what a viable path may be for the project and studio.”

Lightforge was formed in 2020 as a remote-only studio made up of former Blizzard and Epic (mainly Fortnite) developers. According to its LinkedIn page, it hired between 11 and 50 staff members with a goal to “change how the world plays RPGs.”

Project O.R.C.S. was Lightforge’s first project, first revealed only three months ago in February. The ambitious RPG aimed to combine world-building and collaborative storytelling of tabletop role-playing games with traditional co-op gameplay. Players crafted their fantasy world using a built-in game editor and then embarked on quests within it. It was more or less a “build-your-own Dungeons & Dragons”, dice rolls and all, hence why “O.R.C.S.” stood for “Online Roleplaying with Collaborative Storytelling”. With the game all but canceled, it’s unclear if Project O.R.C.S. will ever see the light of day. 

Unfortunately, Lightforge isn’t the only small studio to suffer from the drying well of video game investment funding. Deliver Us Mars developer Keoken Interactive was recently forced to lay off nearly its entire staff for the same reason. The industry has been a wounded state over the past year and a half, with Microsoft shuttering Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin earlier this week and over 10,000 layoffs occurring this year alone. 



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