Former Dead Cells dev opens up on Motion Twin and final update

After previously criticizing the planned end to Dead Cells updates, a former lead designer on the roguelike game has expanded his thoughts.

Former Dead Cells dev clarifies statement on development halt.

Earlier today, PCGamesN reported on comments from Sébastien Benard, a former lead designer on Dead Cells, calling the decision to halt development on further game updates “the worst imaginable a**hole move” to make toward co-developer Evil Empire. Benard has since responded to PCGamesN’s request for comment and directed us to a blog post he wrote to further elaborate on his disappointment with his former co-workers at Dead Cells’ other co-developer, Motion Twin.

Benard, who went on to found Deepnight Games after leaving Motion Twin, details in his studio’s blog exactly why he’s so critical of the move to end work on new Dead Cells updates, and the roguelike game as a whole. Previously, PCGamesN reported on original comments from Benard. Now, the developer has reached out to share a new blog post in which he details his thoughts on Motion Twin further.

‘To put it shortly,’ Benard writes, “Evil Empire did a tremendous job at keeping the game fresh and alive, while taking great care of their players.

Former Dead Cells dev elaborates on disappointment with Dead Cells' halted development.

“On the other side,’ he continues, “I’ve seen first-hand how we, Motion Twin, considered our player base, years before Dead Cells even existed. Back when we were making dozens of Browser/Flash games. Our short term strategy was: release, update a bit, drop. It’s not some confidential information, it’s basically what our old player base, from the pre-Dead Cells era, know. I have obviously been part of that, but as a cooperative company, decisions were taken together, and I had my share of disillusion on that topic.”

Benard goes on to explain that the roguelike game’s success inspired Motion Twin to ‘ignore all of its past web-era player base’ and that the ‘similar abrupt termination decision from MT about Dead Cells’ makes him believe he ‘can all but extrapolate on what happened behind the scene.’

“The current Motion Twin team is more or less 3 people from the former Dead Cells team, including one employee that joined lately, and one who took care of the administrative stuff. Most of the true original team members are now gone,” Benard writes.

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The remainder of his post is worth reading in full:

“To be honest, the only true Dead Cells team is now basically Evil Empire that managed to carry the flame for so long, with a true love for the franchise.

“Even I didn’t trusted them, when we decided to give them our baby. I seriously doubted that anything cool would happen from this deal. Oh I was so wrong. Five years later, Motion Twin was responsible for the 1st million units, while Evil Empire made the 9 following millions (public data).

“The kind of obvious reason for all this fuzz is certainly to leave room for Windblown, the upcoming dash-dash-dash rogue from MT. As the press slowly started to realize that the Dead Cells true architects were now EE, I can easily see how the panic happened at MT. If you check the recent articles about Dead Cells, EE was mentioned more and more as the actual authors, which was honestly quite fair, given their supportive pedigree. But I can imagine MT didn’t like the fact that people started to realize that.

“I kind of understand the MT strategy: it’s a rather logical marketing stunt. Get rid of Dead Cells to leave room for Windblown. But as Motion Twin always did, it’s a one-way strategy that leaves people behind: both loyal players and employees at EE. Nothing really new, unfortunately.

“I’d close that topic by simply quoting someone still part of the current MT team (I hope he won’t mind, I kept him anonymous). He had some interesting take, as we debated about how we should, or should not, take care of our past communities and our former player base: ‘Why bother? What do we owe them?’ Everything. Absolutely everything man.”

If you’d like to check out other games like Dead Cells, swing by our lists of the best single-player games and best Metroidvania games.

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