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Cities Skylines 2 publisher says new XCOM-like strategy game is a flop

Cities Skylines 2, Crusader Kings, and Europa Universalis publisher Paradox says its new XCOM-esque strategy game, Lamplighters League, has lost a lot of money.

Lamplighters League sales: An explorer from XCOM-esque strategy game Lamplighters League

Between Cities Skylines 2, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and the upcoming Millennia, Paradox has a lot of reasons to be a happy publisher right now. But it’s not all good news. Lamplighters League, the XCOM-style, turn-based strategy game that recently launched on PC and Game Pass, has made a significant loss, with Paradox’s CEO admitting that response to the game has been “a big disappointment.”

In our own Lamplighters League review, we rated the strategy game highly, praising its visual style and its adaptation of the classic XCOM-esque small-scale strategy. Available on Game Pass as well as Steam, given its publishing pedigree, Lamplighters League seemed a likely hit, but the strategy game has failed to meet Paradox’s expectations, and the company now says that it has created a negative impact on costs.

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“Paradox Interactive has today decided to write down capitalized development costs for the game The Lamplighters League, in addition to the regular degressive amortization done during the game’s first three months,” the publisher says. Also according to Paradox, Lamplighter’s League’ development cost is 320 million Swedish Krona (MSEK), or roughly $22 million / £18 million.

“Overall, this will result in that all of the game’s capitalized development costs of MSEK 320 will be recognized as costs in the fourth quarter of 2023,” Paradox says. “The game’s impact on profit before tax for the fourth quarter is estimated to MSEK -248. The write-down stems from a revised sales forecast, which was established after the game’s release.”

Lamplighters League sales: A statement from Cities Skylines 2 publisher Paradox about sales of its XCOM-style game Lamplighters League

With the Cities Skylines 2 release date inbound, and new grand strategy game Millennia in the works, Paradox still has a lot of great-looking games on the way. Nevertheless, CEO Fredrik Wester says response to Lamplighters League has been “too weak,” and that the publisher wants to “do better.”

“The Lamplighters League is a fun game with many strengths,” Wester says. “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.”

PCGamesN recently spoke exclusively with the creators of Millennia about how they plan to transform the strategy genre.