Skip to main content

Darkwood dev announces "5-10 years" hiatus just months after new game reveal

"We haven't been able to create a work environment that would not be destructive to our personal lives."

A disturbing, stark black and white illustration showing a screaming, emaciated man wearing a cross-like crown made of twigs.
Image credit: Acid Wizard Studios

Acid Wizard Studios - the developer behind 2017's stupendous top-down survival horror Darkwood - has announced an indefinite, years-long hiatus, just months after unveiling its first new game in half a decade, Soccer Kids.

Darkwood initially released into Steam early access back in 2014, quickly becoming a horror favourite with its strange, oppressive atmosphere and strikingly effective presentation, but following its full release in 2017 and a period of patching, Acid Wizard all but vanished.

The Polish studio finally resurfaced earlier this year, explaining in a blog post shared in June that its absence was a result of Darkwood's intense five-year development which, it said, "took a toll on us, both mentally and physically." That necessitated an extended break, after which the studio was ready to think about its next game, and while a Darkwood sequel was considered, "the memory of the inhuman amount of work put into Darkwood was still there".

Darkwood was in development for five years, including three in early access.Watch on YouTube

Ultimately, the team settled on Soccer Kids, a tactical, turn-based sports game that got its unveiling alongside Acid Wizard's return. Unfolding in Poland in the 90s, at a time when the country was transitioning from a socialist republic to a democracy with a free market, it was to chart the adventures of a mathematically minded teenager, guiding his friends on a quest to win the local street soccer tournament.

A playable Soccer Kids alpha was released onto Steam alongside its announcement, and has received several updates since, but now Acid Wizard has called time on the project, revealing it will be "going on hiatus for the forseeable future".

"We haven't been able to create a work environment that would not be destructive to our personal lives," it explained in a statement. "Our families are our top priority and they should not be affected negatively by our work. So ultimately we decided that it would be best if we part ways, with a possibility of returning in 5-10 years when we get our shit together."

Acid Wizard says its hiatus will begin after the release of a new Darkwood update - introducing the likes of improved performance, Steam Cloud support, improved controller support, and more - but insists it isn't "disappearing into thin air and would like [its] games to live on."

"We have been talking to some amazing people who could make a sequel for Darkwood and continue working on Soccer Kids," it explains. "So spread the word - if you're a developer/publisher who's interested in working on those IPs, hit us up!"

Darkwood's 1.4 update doesn't have a release date yet, but it's currently in beta testing.

Read this next