Dungeon Defenders Dev Trendy Entertainment Lays Off Staff

by Mike Futter on Feb 15, 2016 at 08:42 AM

Dungeon Defenders II was announced in late 2013, and has been playable on PC and PlayStation 4 in a pre-release state for more than a year. There’s no specific release date in sight, which might be the reason behind recently announced layoffs at developer Trendy Entertainment.

The company says that it is slimming its team in order to deliver the final version of the game. Early Access has been ongoing since December 2014. The PlayStation 4 paid alpha began in September 2015. 

An announcement on the company’s site on Friday doesn’t speak to the magnitude of the layoffs.

It’s with great sadness today that we announce some layoffs at our Gainesville studio. These people are not only our co-workers, but our family and our friends. We made the hard decision that a smaller more focused team would be better able to deliver on our overall goals.

This move will reinforce our plans to deliver Dungeon Defenders II out of Early Access as the experience that you deserve. So, stick with us as we update all of our game systems, release new heroes, and continue to defend Etheria.

In a follow-up statement, a Trendy representative told us that it is providing assistance to the employees no longer with the company. We’ve inquired about when the game is targeted to leave early access on both PC and PlayStation 4, as the company has only indicated that it will happen in 2016.

“We can confirm that Trendy Entertainment recently enacted a reduction in our workforce,” a representative told us via email. “While restructuring is never pleasant, we are deeply committed to our community, and these moves will reinforce our plans to deliver Dungeon Defenders II out of early access as the experience that fans deserve. We have made the full resources of our organization available for our departing friends and colleagues to help ease them swiftly through this difficult period of transition.”

Trendy also recently discussed that a new creative director had joined the team to lead the project. Elliot Cannon was a designer on Unreal and Unreal Tournament and worked on the Crysis games at Crytek. Under his leadership so far, the developer has re-oriented its vision. Hindsight hints that this might have been the wind-up for the downsizing.

“So what’s the refocused vision for Dungeon Defenders II? Focusing on what makes our game great: Tower Defense and Heroes,” writes community manager Josh Isom. “Let’s use that foundation and build upon it. Let’s improve the systems that aren’t up to par. Let’s get the PS4 and PC versions on the same update cycle. Overall, let’s finish the damn game, and then continue to build on it.”

[Source: Trendy Entertainment (1), (2) via Kotaku]


Our Take
Our thoughts are with those affected by the layoffs at Trendy. There is something incongruous with a game that is ramping up to full release that downsizes. Especially given that Dungeon Defenders II is a free-to-play game, it seems like the need for new heroes, items, enemies, and maps would require people at all parts of the chain from concept artists on down. With a loose release window of some time this year and a new creative director, Trendy needs to start pushing hard toward release.