Lightforge Games Suffers Significant Layoffs, Pauses Development of D&D Inspired Project ORCS

Lightforge Games is pausing work on its upcoming RPG project ORCS indefinitely, with the team reduced to a skeleton crew as the few remaining staff look to decide their next course of action.

A message Posted to the game’s website and social media channels yesterday, Lightforge cites the publisher’s lack of funding, no longer having the means to continue work on Project ORCS, and to cut any lingering struggle, the team decided to pull the plug immediately.

“We’re making this call now so we can support our amazing team of devs: giving them time to settle in, working together to help people re-enter the job market, and finding new positions to continue our passion for making games,” Lightforge says in a statement.

In the coming days, the team will shut down its discord and social channels. After that, the rest of the crew “decides what’s a viable path for the project and the studio.”

Lightforge was formed in 2020 as a remote-only studio made up of former Blizzard and Epic (primarily Fortnite) developers. Accordingly LinkedIn pageIt employs 11 to 50 staff members with the goal of “changing how the world plays RPGs”.

Project ORCS was Lightforge’s first project, revealed only three months ago in February. The ambitious RPG aims to combine the world-building and collaborative storytelling of tabletop role-playing games with traditional co-op gameplay. Using the built-in game editor, players created their own fantasy world and embarked on quests within it. It’s more or less “build your own dungeons and dragons”, dice rolls and all, hence why “ORCS” stands for “online roleplaying with cooperative storytelling”. Although the game has been cancelled, it is unclear what Project ORCS is. Ever see the light of day.

Unfortunately, Lightforge isn’t the only small studio suffering from a drying well of video game investment funding. Deliver to Mars developer Keoken Interactive was recently forced to lay off its entire staff for the same reason. The industry has been in a wounded state over the past year and a half, with Microsoft closing Tango Gameworks and Arcane Austin earlier this week, and 10,000 layoffs this year alone.

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