Just a week after calling sales of its latest game "a big disappointment," Paradox says it's parting ways with Shadowrun dev

Harebrained Schemes
(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Though Harebrained Schemes' The Lamplighters League was just released and found solid critical success, publisher Paradox Interactive plans to cut ties with developer Harebrained Schemes following plans to write down development costs after slower-than-expected sales of the game.

In a recently released press release, publisher Paradox Interactive announced that a "mutual agreement" was made between both parties and that Harebrained Schemes would separate from the publisher and return as an independent studio on January 1, 2024.

This sudden news comes less than a month after the game's release. First acquired by Paradox Interactive in 2018, The Lamplighters League tactics strategy game was the developer's first project as an internal studio. Before The Lamplighters League, Harebrained Schemes worked on the recent Shadowrun and BattleTech role-playing games, which found great success among the rush of crowdfunding games during the 2010s.

In a press release following news of the game's lackluster success, Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester stated: "The Lamplighters League is a fun game with many strengths. Even though we see cautiously positive player numbers in subscription services, the commercial reception has been too weak, which is frankly a big disappointment. Game projects are by their nature always risky, but at the end of the day we haven't performed at the level we should. It is painful but makes us more eager to roll up our sleeves and do better."

For now, Harebrained Schemes will still be supporting The Lamplighters League with post-launch updates and patches. In early 2024, the developer will move on from Paradox Interactive and return to being an independent studio. For Paradox Interactive, this marks the second major developer shift in recent years following the reboot of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, which The Chinese Room is now developing.

In our own full review, editor Ali Jones gave the game a positive review and stated: "The Lamplighters League might not stand fully toe-to-toe with the strategy juggernauts of recent years, but it's a plucky competitor - just as long as you don't get bogged down in its attempt to set itself apart from the games it's trying to emulate."

For more on Harebrained Schemes' previous work, check out our roundup of the best strategy games, which includes Battletech.

Alessandro Fillari

Alessandro is a freelance writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area who has covered the games, tech, and entertainment industries for more than 13 years. Having previously worked at GameSpot, CNET, and various other outlets writing features and coordinating event coverage, Alessandro enjoys playing games on PC, but also gives plenty of time to his Nintendo Switch. You can find him on various socials at @afillari.