Former Dead Cells Designer Speaks Out about Game’s Creative Closure

Former lead designer on Dead Cells, Sébastien Bénard, recently expressed his thoughts on the decision by Motion Twin and Evil Empire to end creative work on the highly popular indie roguelike. Bénard posted on his official website, apologizing for his initial “impulsive” response on the Dead Cells Discord server. Although he regretted his choice of words, his deeper dissatisfaction with Motion Twin’s approach became evident.

Bénard shared his perspective on his long-term association with Motion Twin, spanning 19 years. He revealed that the company’s strategy for their previous games was to release them, provide minimal updates, and then discard them. According to Bénard, this disregard extended even to loyal players who had been with them since the early web-based games, leaving them waiting for years and facing multiple requests before gaining access to the source code of these abandoned titles.

Bénard believed that the essence of the original Dead Cells team had diminished since the game’s launch. He stated that the current Motion Twin team primarily comprised three individuals from the original team, including a recent addition and an administrative employee. He credited Evil Empire with carrying the torch for the game, expressing his initial skepticism but acknowledging their significant contribution to the franchise’s success.

Motion Twin was responsible for the initial success of Dead Cells, with Evil Empire taking over the development and handling the subsequent growth. Bénard stated that while Motion Twin had created the first million units, Evil Empire produced the following nine million. He also pointed out that press outlets increasingly associated Evil Empire with the game, given their supportive role, which might have made Motion Twin uncomfortable.

Bénard perceived the announcement of Dead Cells’ creative closure as part of Motion Twin’s marketing strategy to make room for their upcoming game, Windblown. He believed that this approach disregarded the loyal players and employees involved with Evil Empire. According to Bénard, it was a typical one-way strategy employed by Motion Twin, leaving people feeling left behind and undervalued.

The frustrations of Bénard regarding the conclusion of Dead Cells’ creative development were evident. Although Evil Empire is currently working on a new game, Motion Twin expressed excitement about their future endeavors. However, Bénard’s disappointment with Motion Twin’s actions remained.

There is no denying that Dead Cells has been an immense success over the past five years. The game has reached great milestones and achieved significant recognition. However, all good things must come to an end, and it appears that Dead Cells’ journey is nearing its final chapter. Motion Twin had previously assured fans that the game was here to stay, with a content roadmap extending to at least the end of 2024. While Update 35 is still awaiting a release date, Motion Twin has committed to addressing bug fixes and improving the overall gameplay experience even beyond the final content update.

In the end, Sébastien Bénard’s criticism sheds light on the challenges and complexities behind the scenes of Dead Cells’ development. It is a tale of a company’s evolving priorities and changing dynamics within a thriving indie gaming community. As fans, we can appreciate the hard work and dedication that has gone into creating such a beloved game while acknowledging the need for creators to move on to new ventures.

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