Paradox Interactive, the developer behind the likes of Crusader Kings 3 and Stellaris, has cancelled "several" unannounced projects so it can focus on its "proven game niches".
"Paradox Interactive was born and raised in strategy and management games," said Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester as part of the announcement. "It is where we have our heart and our mind and we are passionate about making games that our players can enjoy over a long period of time. Therefore we have sharpened our pipeline further to ensure that the projects with the highest potential have the resources necessary for the best possible development."
Paradox says the decision to end development on the unspecified titles was made in order to shift its resources and expertise to its "proven game niches and projects that better meet the company's requirements on returns and risk". It says the cancellations will ultimately amount to around 265 million Swedish krona (£22.3m) in write-offs and will impact its Q3 2021 before-tax profit by approximately 135 million Swedish krona (around £11.3m).
This shake-up to Paradox's development slate follows the departure of former Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud in September, and comes after what's been a challenging period for the studio.
Although the long-awaited announcement of Victoria 3 earlier this year thrilled fans, Paradox has endured a raft of disappointingly received releases in recent times, including last year's Empire of Sin, Europa Universalis 4 expansion Leviathan (which was so disastrous, its director issued an apologise), and other misfires including recent Surviving Mars expansion Below and Beyond, which remains at a Very Negative rating on Steam.
This year also saw it pull the troubled Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 from its original developer Hardsuit Labs, indefinitely delaying its release out of 2021, and, more worrying still, face accusation that it had fostered a culture of bullying and gender discrimination after a union-led employee survey revealed almost half of the 133 participating staff had experienced "mistreatment", with the issues said to be "worst for women".
Although Paradox pledged to conduct a "thorough audit" of its processes following the report, eyebrows were raised a week later when new Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester publicly admitted to an incident of "inappropriate behaviour" towards another employee during a company wide conference in 2018. "This was something I immediately and sincerely apologised for in-person the following Monday in a process reviewed by HR," Wester wrote.
Despite these these concerns and cancellations, Paradox Interactive remains positive, noting it has 15 new projects in development behind-the-scenes, only four of which are currently announced: Victoria 3, Crusader Kings 3 for consoles, the Shadowrun Trilogy for console, and Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. This number doesn't include its various DLC projects, such Crusader Kings 3's upcoming Royal Court expansion.