Paradox chalks up The Lamplighters League as a loss and confirms layoffs at Harebrained Schemes

The Lamplighters League key art

Sales of The Lamplighters League have been “a big disappointment” for Paradox, which has laid off staff at developer Harebrained Schemes.

The Lamplighters League has been a commercial disaster for publisher Paradox Interactive, which has announced in a press release that it doesn’t expect to make back the development costs of the game. The development budget will be marked as a cost for the fourth quarter of 2023, resulting in a loss for Paradox of 248 million Swedish krona (around £18.5 million).

The Lamplighters League is a fun game with many strengths,” said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive, in a statement. “Even though we see cautiously positive player numbers in subscription services, the commercial reception has been too weak, which is frankly a big disappointment. Game projects are by their nature always risky, but at the end of the day we haven’t performed at the level we should. It is painful but makes us more eager to roll up our sleeves and do better.”

The 1930s-set turn-based tactics game launched on 3 October on PC and Xbox in an extremely busy month for new releases. The game was cautiously welcomed by reviewers, earning a score of 75 on Metacritic and a 'mostly positive’ rating on Steam, but players have mostly stayed away. PC Gamer reports that The Lamplighters League's all-time peak concurrent player count is 690, less than half of yesterday’s peak concurrent player count for Harebrained Schemes’s previous game Battletech, which was released in 2018.

A Paradox representative said the company has “no changes to the game’s post-launch plan”, but Paradox did confirm that layoffs had been made at developer Harebrained Schemes. The layoffs apparently took place before the game’s release, although numbers haven’t been confirmed. One person claiming to be a former employee of Harebrained Schemes said in a post on Resetera that “80% or so of the studio was let go in July”.

The news comes amid a wave of layoffs sweeping the games industry: more than 6,000 people are thought to have been laid off so far this year.

Read more: Yes, I’m angry about games industry job cuts – and you should be, too

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