Paradox Interactive calls Liter League sales “a big disappointment”

October 13, 2023 by No Comments

The main points of the story

  • Paradox Interactive’s The Lamplighters League is an XCOM-inspired turn-based strategy game with stealth elements developed by Harebrained Schemes.
  • Days after its launch, Paradox Interactive CEO Frederic Wester confirmed that sales of the Literary League were “a big disappointment”.
  • Speaking to PCGamer, a representative from Paradox Interactive also confirmed mass layoffs within Harebrained Schemes, the development studio behind The Lamplighters League.

Recently News for the mediaParadox Interactive CEO Frederic Wester released a statement discussing the commercial status of their new title The Lamplighters League, which is an XCOM-inspired strategy game set in an alternate history of the 1930s. Paradox confirms that sales of The Lamplighters League were a “big disappointment” and that the company expects it “do better” in the future.

The Lamplighters League launched on October 3rd and currently has a mostly positive rating on Steam with 154 reviews, which are admittedly very poor numbers for a relatively high-budget title. According to Paradox, the budget for the game was SEK 320 million, which roughly translates to approx 22 million dollars. The silly details can be found below, as quoted from Paradox’s CEO himself:

Paradox Interactive decided today to capitalize development costs for the game The Hottest League, in addition to the normal drop reduction made during the first three months of the game. In total, this will mean that all capitalized development costs of the game amounting to NIS 320 million will be recognized as costs in the fourth quarter of 2023. The impact of the game on profit before tax in the fourth quarter is estimated at approximately NIS 248 million. The reduction is due to a revised sales forecast, determined after the game’s release.”

The Literary League currently maintains a Metacritic score of 70 on Xbox and 75 on the computer. Reviews praised the game for its exhilarating tactical combat, charming cast of characters, great soundtrack, and fun and immersive fictional setting. Criticism falls on the game’s disappointingly stealthy gameplay, simplistic combat, and frustrating design decisions.

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When we talked about the game’s quality and sales expectations, Paradox had this to say,

The Hottest League It is a fun game with many advantages. Although we are seeing cautiously positive player numbers on subscription services, the commercial reception has been too weak, which is frankly a big disappointment. Games projects are inherently always risky, but at the end of the day we didn’t perform at the level we needed to. It hurts but makes us more eager to roll up our sleeves and get better.”

The Hottest League was developed by Harebrained Schemes who are responsible for the (fantastic) Shadowrun Trilogy and Battle Tech. Unfortunately, the studio is yet another victim of the mass layoff epidemic currently raging in the gaming industry. A former employee of the studio recently published a post ResetEra Claiming that 80% of the studio was fired.

Shadowrun Returns by Harebrained Schemes.

talking to PCGamer, a representative from Paradox confirmed that layoffs have indeed taken place within Harebrained Schemes, but the full extent of these layoffs has yet to be confirmed in any official capacity. They also added that the layoffs occurred when the game reached its final stage of development during the summer, and said that the roster was “significantly reduced” during the summer.

The team at Harebrained Schemes was significantly reduced over the summer, as the game entered the final phase of development and preparations for launch.”

Harebrained Schemes is one of the latest studios to suffer mass layoffs. Last month, Ascendant Studios, the studio behind EA’s Immortals of Aveum Lost almost half of her crew following poor sales of the game. Back in March, the studio behind Forspoken, Luminous Productions, closed down and merged into Square Enix following the game’s poor commercial and critical success.

Paradox Interactive itself is seemingly having a tough time as its next big title, Cities Skylines 2 has been pushed to next year for consoles, however the PC release is still set to launch this month on October 24th.

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