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Darkwood developer taking indefinite hiatus to escape "destructive" work environment

Acid Wizard Studio has been working on a new title called Soccer Kids, but says it won't be able to see the project through.

Chris Kerr

August 8, 2023

2 Min Read
Key artwork for Darkwood featuring a eldritch effigy laced onto a tree

Darkwood developer Acid Wizard Studio is taking a lengthy hiatus to escape a "destructive" work environment.

Breaking the news on X, the Polish studio said it intends to finish the 1.4 update for Darkwood before disbanding for the foreseeable future.

The team, which is currently working on turn-based sports title Soccer Kids, said the hiatus might last for up to a decade.

As a result, it's currently exploring the possibility of handing over the development of Soccer Kids and a potential Darkwood sequel to another studio or publisher.

"After we release [the 1.4 update] we're going on hiatus for the forseeable future. We haven't been able to create a work environment that would not be destructive to our personal lives. Our families are our top priority and they should not be affected negatively by our work," wrote the studio.

"So ultimately we decided that it would be best if we part ways, with a possibility of returning in 5 to 10 years when we get our shit together. This doesn't have to be bad news! We aren't disappearing into thin air and would like our games to live on."

Acid Wizard tired of "destructive" work environment

Acid Wizard launched Darkwood, a top-down horror title set in an ever-changing world, back in August 2017.

Shortly after, the studio shared the game on The Pirate Bay to provide access to players who couldn't afford to buy the title at full price and then took a year-long break from development, citing a five-year production schedule that was mentally and physically exhausting as the reason for that first hiatus.

Darkwood eventually went on to sell 1.5 million copies and "wildly exceeded" the studio's expectations. Behind the scenes, Acid Wizard reunited in 2019 and began working on updates for Darkwood and new prototypes, including one that would become Soccer Kids.

The studio shared an alpha version of Soccer Kids on Steam back in June, and provided a lengthy update that explained what it had been working on for the past half-decade.

Yet, despite officially announcing its return to the development trenches less than two months ago, the studio has now decided to take a step back after struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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