Harebrained Schemes were acquired by Paradox Interactive back in 2018 and now they're set to part ways, after the disappointing launch of The Lamplighters League.
Harebrained Schemes developed titles like BATTLETECH, Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall and more but it seems like the partnership with Paradox has not gone well overall. Paradox announced earlier this month on October 10th how bad the launch of The Lamplighters League went noting in a press release:
Paradox Interactive has today decided to write down capitalized development costs for the game The Lamplighters League, in addition to the regular degressive amortization done during the game’s first three months. Overall, this will result in that all of the game’s capitalized development costs of MSEK 320 will be recognized as costs in the fourth quarter of 2023. The game’s impact on profit before tax for the fourth quarter is estimated to MSEK -248. The write-down stems from a revised sales forecast, which was established after the game’s release.
“The Lamplighters League is a fun game with many strengths. Even though we see cautiously positive player numbers in subscription services, the commercial reception has been too weak, which is frankly a big disappointment. Game projects are by their nature always risky, but at the end of the day we haven’t performed at the level we should. It is painful but makes us more eager to roll up our sleeves and do better,” says Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive.
On Steam, The Lamplighters League has less than 200 user reviews, which is really bad.
With today's announcement, they're going to entirely part ways on January 1st, 2024. Paradox will keep ownership of The Lamplighters League and other games developed by the studio while Harebrained Schemes look towards "new publishing, partnership, and investment opportunities".
From the press release sent out today:
“Paradox has refocused its strategy towards its core niches within strategy and management games with endless qualities,” said Charlotta Nilsson, COO of Paradox. “We and HBS’ leadership have been discussing what would happen after the release of The Lamplighters League, but a new project or sequel in the same genre was not in line with our portfolio plans. Hence, we believe that a separation would be the best way forward. We’re very happy that this talented, gifted studio has the chance to continue and can’t wait to see what they will make next.”
“Harebrained Schemes will support The Lamplighters League through the end of the year while we seek funding and partnerships for an independent future in 2024," said Brian Poel, Studio Operations Manager of HBS. “Our studio mission remains the same: to make games that challenge your mind and touch your heart.”
There's other news though, which is that Harebrained Schemes had a significant amount of staff let go before the release of The Lamplighters League. This was shared by a former staff member in a forum post on ResetEra, confirmed by PC Gamer.
So tough times ahead for Harebrained Schemes.