July 24, 2019 | 10:17
Defiant Development, the Brisbane-based company behind the Hand of Fate series of games, has announced it is ceasing active development, blaming an inability to keep up with the rapidly-changing gaming market.
Launched in February 2015, Hand of Fate - the first commercial title for Defiant Development, a Brisbane startup founded by former Pandemic, Irrational, THQ, Sega, and Lionhead staff five years earlier - mixed action role-playing game (ARPG) elements with card-based deck-building in a rogue-like environment, overseen by a character known only as the Dealer. While praised for its ingenuity, the game was criticised for rapidly becoming repetitive - something the company largely resolved in its 2017 sequel. Both games enjoyed a considerable fan-base, strong enough to support the crowdfunding of a physical version of the game - but not, apparently, enough to keep the studio afloat.
'It is with sadness that we announce Defiant is ceasing Development,' the company explains in a statement published via Facebook. 'First and foremost, that means that our incredibly talented team are looking for new roles. Every one of them is a champion in their field. If you can hire them, you should.
'When we started this studio, we did so with a clear goal in mind. To hire great people, to create great games and to do that in an ethical manner with respect for our team and our audience. In 2010, Australia desperately needed studios to demonstrate that it was possible to have substantial, Australian owned, IP generating homes for talent. That there could be a studio model in Australia that would thrive without being dependant on international ownership. That Australian studios could make console games again. Nine years later, there is no question that is true, and there are many Australian studios old and new demonstrating that Australian game development is truly world class.
'The Defiant model has always focused on creating games nobody else would,' the company continues. 'Games that reflected the skills and passions of our team. Games that did something new. Our process has always been focused on iteration and exploration. We go into dark places, searching for hidden treasures. We set out without knowing where the journey will take us, and we do so knowing that the unknown is not always safe. That is a risky way to make games, and we knew that. When it succeeds it delivers things you could never have considered possible. When it fails, it leaves you without a safety net. The games market has changed in ways both big and small in the 9 years we've been in business. We have not been able to change quickly enough to continue with them. To everyone who has supported us on this journey, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.'
Defiant has confirmed that it is not closing, but will continue operating in 'caretaker mode' in order to support existing games. It has also shared a look, reproduced above, at an in-development title which, unless something changes for the better in the near future, will now never see the light of day.
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