Paradox and BattleTech developer Harebrained Schemes to part ways in 2024
Harebrained Schemes, developer of such games as tactical sim BattleTech, the Shadowrun Returns trilogy of RPGs, and the recently-released The Lamplighters League will be independent again in 2024. According to an announcement by its soon-to-be-former publisher Paradox Interactive, Harebrained Schemes and Paradox will "part ways" on January 1, 2024. The decision is ostensibly the result of a "mutual agreement." However, the timing of the announcement suggests that the coming split is at least partially related to disappointment over sales of The Lamplighters League, which launched on PC and Xbox Series X|S on October 3, 2023.
In an unusual step, Paradox publicly made its disappointment apparent in a press release published on October 11, 2023. In the release, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester characterized the commercial reception to The Lamplighters League (which released officially on October 3) as "a big disappointment." Paradox officially announced that it would be considering the development costs for the game as a write-down, following revised sales forecasts for the game's first three months on the market.
Following the release, rumors circulated of layoffs at Harebrained Schemes, which were later confirmed to have occurred in July 2023. Neither Paradox nor HBS confirmed specific numbers.
Finally, in a press release issued October 17, Paradox announced the separation. Paradox COO Charlotta Nilsson said that leadership at both companies discussed what would happen following the release of The Lamplighters League, but agreed that a separation would be "the best way forward" in light of Paradox's plans to "refocus" on its core niches "within strategy and management games with endless qualities." Plans for another game in The Lamplighters League's genre - tactical strategy with a focus on characters, evolving narrative and RPG elements - were not in the cards.
According to a statement from Hairbrained Schemes Studio Operations Manager Brian Poel, the studio will support The Lamplighters League through the end of 2023, "while we seek funding and partnerships for an independent future in 2024." Follwing the separation from Paradox, the studio's mission will continue. That mission, said Poel is "to make games that challenge your mind and touch your heart."
The separation between Paradox Interactive and Harebrained Schemes will leave HBS fully independent, but Paradox will retain ownership of The Lamplighters League "and other games developed by the studio". Paradox didn't specify which games those are, but Harebrained Schemes is best known for the Shadowrun RPGs (Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun: Dragonfall, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong) and Battletech.
Read the full press release from Paradox below:
Harebrained Schemes and Paradox Interactive to part ways as the Seattle-based developer seeks new opportunities
Paradox Interactive (Paradox) and Harebrained Schemes (HBS) – developers of the Shadowrun trilogy, BATTLETECH and The Lamplighters League – have decided to part ways on 1 January 2024. The separation is the result of a mutual agreement, stemming from each party’s strategic and creative priorities. Paradox will retain ownership of The Lamplighters League and other games developed by the studio. HBS will seek new publishing, partnership, and investment opportunities.
“ 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.”