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Lightforge Games laying off 'majority' of development team

The studio said it has struggled to secure funding for its debut project and is now pausing development.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 9, 2024

1 Min Read
Concept art for Project ORCS
Image via Lightforge

Lightforge Games is laying off the majority of its team and pausing development on Project ORCS.

The fully-remote studio was formed in 2021 by a group of Blizzard and Epic Games veterans and quickly secured $15 million to finance its debut project.

Project ORCS was billed as a cross-platform social experience that would let players "create worlds and tell stories with unprecedented freedom." The studio claimed it would combine the creative elements of Minecraft with the open-ended storytelling of tabletop RPGs.

Although Lightforge is cutting jobs across the board, the studio intends to regroup as a "skeleton team" to carve out a viable future.

Sunsetting Lightforge... for now

"While today is a sad day for Lightforge, I'm very proud of the work we've done and the team we've built over the past four years," said company CEO and co-founder, Matt Schembari, on Linkedin.

"We always knew this was an ambitious long-shot of a project, but we pursued it because of a shared passion in collaborative storytelling and with a fearlessness to do something different both as a project and as a studio."

In another post on the Lightforge website, the studio explained it was unable to find the necessary funding to complete Project ORCS despite regularly meeting with potential investors and publishers.

Lightforge will be sunsetting its social media channels and Discord server while it figures out how to regroup.

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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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