Funding squeeze at DnD videogame studio leads to layoffs

Hidden Path, a studio that was working on a Dungeons and Dragons videogame, has postponed a major RPG project and laid off several staff.

DnD games studio layoffs - Wizards of the Coast art of two adventurers leaping across a chasm

A studio working on an open-world D&D game has confirmed layoffs for 44 staff. In a LinkedIn post from February 7, Hidden Path Entertainment CEO Jeff Pobst confirmed the redundancies, as well as news that development of an “exciting RPG project” has paused due to lack of funding.

While the Dungeons and Dragons videogame is the only title listed as ‘in development’ on Hidden Path’s website, it hasn’t been confirmed whether this is the postponed project in question.

Founded in 2006, Hidden Path has previously worked with Valve on games like Left 4 Dead 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It was revealed in 2021 that the studio was working on a third-person, open-world D&D RPG. In January 2023, reports surfaced that Hidden Path’s game had become one of several cancelled D&D games, but Hidden Path later disputed these claims.

“For over six months, our team at Hidden Path Entertainment has been in numerous active discussions to find replacement funding for an exciting RPG project”, Pobst writes on Wednesday. “In the face of a challenging environment, we now have no choice but to pause development on that project and reduce the company size until we have an opportunity to return to it.”

Pobst’s post links to a spreadsheet of names, detailing who has been affected by the layoffs and how much industry experience they have. Redundancies have affected a wide range of departments, including human resources and finance as well as art, production, design, and engineering. Three artists from Hidden Path even worked on the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop RPG, with one also credited as working on Baldur’s Gate 3.

DnD Games Studio layoffs LinkedIn post

“Those who are impacted have played key roles in the development of a number of awesome projects”, Pobst continues. “Their creativity, passion, and commitment has left an indelible mark on Hidden Path. We are determined to do what we can to support these talented professionals so that they can resume their careers elsewhere, all while hoping we can work with them again soon.”

When asked what happened with the game’s funding, Pobst responds in one LinkedIn comment, saying: “We had a publishing arrangement that was underway for the first four years of the project with more years to go (yes a very big project)”.

“In the middle of the fourth year, the publisher’s finances changed and they couldn’t afford to continue the project.” “We worked with them to bring the project to other publishers, and seemed to get very close multiple times, but the financial challenges of the market definitely impacted the situation”, Pobst adds.

Wargamer has reached out to Jeff Pobst for further clarification. Pobst is unable to confirm the current status of Hidden Path’s Dungeons and Dragons game or whether it is the RPG mentioned in Wednesday’s post.

However, Pobst tells Wargamer: “We think very highly of the folks who were impacted and have put their information out to folks who are hiring to give them the best chance possible to allow them to get new employment”. “That said, I’d personally rather have the funding to keep them at Hidden Path.”

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