Ex Dead Cells dev calls decision to end development an “a**hole move”

A former Dead Cells lead designer says Motion Twin's decision to end development was the "worst imaginable" move from the developer.

Dead Cells development ended: A huge skeletal boss from roguelike game Dead Cells

February 12 13:00 PST Sébastien Benard has reached out to PCGamesN to share a new blog post further outlining his thoughts about Motion Twin and the end of development on Dead Cells. You can find a link to this story below.

A former lead designer on Dead Cells says that the decision by studio Motion Twin to end development on the roguelike is “the worst imaginable a**hole move” against its co-developer Evil Empire. Sébastien Benard, who formed independent game-maker Deepnight Games after leaving Motion Twin, has previously said he left the developer when asked, due to his relationship with the team growing “complicated.” Benard now criticizes Motion Twin, and also comments on future projects from the spin-off studio Evil Empire.

Benard’s comments follow the Motion Twin announcement that Dead Cells update 35 will be the roguelike game’s last since it launched in 2018. While the two studios are separate entities, several Motion Twin developers formed Evil Empire in 2019, with Motion Twin handing over the Dead Cells reins to Evil Empire to lead the continual development of the game. Evil Empire says on its website that it works “hand in hand” with Motion Twin, as the latter studio validates “initial designs and important milestones.”

UPDATE: Sébastien Benard’s extended blog post, further outlining his feelings regarding Dead Cells, is available to read right here. Original story continues below.

Following the announcement of the end of the development of Dead Cells, Benard responded to a question in the game’s official Discord about his opinion on the matter. “Since you’re asking me, I’d just say Motion Twin did the worst imaginable a**hole move against Dead Cells and Evil Empire,” Benard says.

Dead Cells development ended: Discord post

“Having seen first hand the actual situation behind the scenes, I can honestly say I’m glad to not be part of this anymore. The official statement is total marketing bulls***, the way this situation happened is on a whole different level. I never imagined my former coop studio would turn out to be such greedy people. I wish the absolute best to Evil Empire for their next things and hope people working there will survive this sudden economic cut.”

In a post to his Deepnight website in February 2020, Benard says he built around a dozen game prototypes after Dead Cells launched, but that “as months passed by, and nothing happened, my relations with the team became more and more complicated. So complicated, actually, that it ultimately led to my forced departure, as I was asked to leave in December 2019.”

Benard’s comments follow Motion Twin’s announcement that “update 35 for Dead Cells marks the end of our creative journey on the game.” The developer adds that it wants to avoid more of the same and “diminishing the unique charm that makes Dead Cells special to us all.”

Evil Empire also released a statement, in which the team said it “will no longer be working on Dead Cells.” Instead, Evil Empire will now work on “a new game (or two),” which likely refers to the two deals signed with third-party IP holders for Evil Empire to work on pre-existing game series.

PCGamesN has contacted Motion Twin and Sébastien Benard, and will update this story with any further comment or statements.

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