Lords of the Fallen 2 appears to be back on the ropes again.
No sooner had the game attached a new developer, Defiant Studios in New York, than we now hear the partnership has ended and the Polish company in charge, CI Games, has decided to finish the game in-house with outsourcing help.
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The break doesn't sound amicable. Here's how CI Games announced it in a Polish press release on Wednesday, 15th May (translated for Eurogamer by Daniel Kłosiński - thank you).
"The termination of the agreement was submitted due to inadequate execution by Defiant [of] a key work stage (milestone no. 11), a so-called vertical slice. The quality of the work was lower than expected by the company, as precisely described in the agreement, despite three calls to improve the quality of this stage of work."
Defiant Studios, however, doesn't agree, and was less than thrilled by the portrayal.
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"We categorically disagree with the portrayal of Defiant Studios made by CI Games," founder and managing director David Grijns told me.
"The team that was working on CI Games' project was comprised of exceedingly talented developers whose work we fully stand behind. Our team knows how to build quality games as is evident by their key roles in Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 5, Devil May Cry (DmC) and many other top tier projects."
However, he added: "As we intend to abide by our contractual confidentiality obligations, at this time we cannot expand further on this matter."
Defiant's role on Lords of the Fallen 2 was announced last summer, ending a period of development limbo for the game. The plan, when I spoke to Defiant about Lords of the Fallen 2, was to start over, leaving behind all of the pre-production work previous game-runner Tomasz Gop and team had done.
CI Games finishing the game internally, with outsourcing help, will be tricky. The company fired its development team in 2017, and then People Can Fly hired them [this article previously and incorrectly said CI Games had sold its development team to PCF] - restructuring which was a consequence of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 betting the bank and failing, initially, to pay off.
But sales apparently picked up, and in early 2018, CI Games said Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 had sold 1 million copies and an internal development team was being grown to work on a new tactical shooter, which would later be announced as Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts. That game is due at some point this year. Can CI Games handle both? I am unsure.