Lightforge Games suffers major layoffs and development of D&D-inspired ORCS project is put on hold

Lightforge Games is indefinitely suspending work on its upcoming RPG project ORCS. The team has been reduced to a skeleton crew as the few remaining personnel seek to determine their next course of action.

In a post yesterday on the game’s website and social media, Lightforge cited lack of funding from publishers as the reason it no longer has the means to continue working on the ORCS project. To minimize any prolonged struggle, the team decided to pull the plug immediately. .

“We’re making this call now so we can provide support to our wonderful team of developers: giving them time to stabilize, working together to help people re-enter the workforce, and finding new positions to continue our passion for creating games,” Lightforge said in the release.

In the coming days, the team will close its Discord and social networks. After that, the rest of the staff will “determine what a viable path forward may be for the project and the studio.”

Lightforge was created in 2020 as a remote studio made up of former developers from Blizzard and Epic (primarily Fortnite). According to its LinkedIn page, the company has hired between 11 and 50 staff members with the goal of “changing the way the world plays role-playing games.”

The ORCS project was Lightforge’s first project, first revealed only three months ago in February. This ambitious RPG aimed to combine the world-building and collaborative storytelling of tabletop role-playing games with traditional cooperative gameplay. Players created their fantasy world using an in-app game editor, then embarked on quests. It was more or less a “Build Your Own Dungeons and Dragons”, dice rolls and all, hence why “ORCS” stood for “Online Role Playing Game with Collaborative Storytelling”. With the game all but canceled, it’s unclear if the ORCS project will ever see the light of day.

Unfortunately, Lightforge isn’t the only small studio suffering from the drying up of funding for video game investments. Deliver Us Mars developer Keoken Interactive was recently forced to lay off almost its entire staff for the same reason. The industry has been hurt over the past year and a half, with Microsoft shutting down Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin earlier this week and more than 10,000 layoffs occurring this year alone.