Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs lays off employees and cancels in-development projects, says it’s ‘the last resort to ensure Phoenix Labs can survive’

Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs is laying off “many” employees and cancelling in-development projects as part of a major restructuring plan aimed at creating “a path for a strong future,” according to its leadership.

“We are reorganizing Phoenix Labs to focus on our best-in-class live service titles, Dauntless and Fae Farm, and serving their communities,” the studio said in a message posted to LinkedIn. “This unfortunately means cancelling work on all other projects at the studio, which will impact many of our colleagues immediately. We are giving notices to everyone whose roles are affected.

“This restructure has not come easily, and truly has been the last resort to ensure Phoenix Labs can survive, and thrive in the long term.”

Dauntless made a good first impression: When we got our hands on it in 2017, we called it “the PC Monster Hunter game we've all been waiting for.” But it ran into a problem not long after, when the actual Monster Hunter: World was announced for PC. Dauntless has a lot to offer, but senior editor Wes Fenlon opined in 2019 that “Monster Hunter: World is simply the deeper, bigger, richer game.” It's on Steam, too, while Dauntless on PC remains exclusive to the Epic Games Store.

Fae Farm, which launched in 2023, is on Steam, but its player numbers are anemic: We liked it a lot, but after achieving an average concurrent player count of just over 2,000 through its first month of release on Steam it hasn't surpassed an average of 200 concurrent players since January 2024. 

(Image credit: Phoenix Labs (LinkedIn))

Phoenix Labs principal engineer Kris Morness said on LinkedIn that Phoenix Labs was acquired by blockchain company Forte in 2023, and that the decision to restructure came from Forte: “Forte just cancelled all projects in development including the game we were announcing in one month.” 

Former UX lead Noah Watkins, one of the employees being laid off, echoed that statement, writing, “The most frustrating part is how close we were to announcing our new game that many have spent 5+ years on.”

It's not currently known how many employees are being let go, but Morness said the number is “over 200.” I've reached out to Phoenix Labs and Forte for comment and will update if I receive a reply.


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