Ex Dead Cells developer says Motion Twin's decision to stop development on the game was 'a rather logical marketing stunt'

Dead Cells
(Image credit: Motion Twin)

A former Dead Cells developer has commented on developer Motion Twin's decision to stop making updates for the game, saying it was "a rather logical marketing stunt".

On February 9, it was announced that, after five years of post-launch content for the popular roguelike game, developers Motion Twin and Evil Empire are halting any further development on Dead Cells.

In a blog post, Motion Twin said that update 35, which is set to release later this year, will be the final major patch for the game confirming that Evil Empire will be going on to pursue "new adventures". 

"Our commitment to avoiding the 'more of the same' trap and keeping Dead Cells fresh and original has led us to this point; as we've seen with other long-running series, it's crucial not to overextend and risk diminishing the unique charm that makes Dead Cells special to us all," Motion Twin explained.

Following the news, lead designer Sébastien Benard responded by calling the move by Motion Twin "the worst imaginable a**hole move against Dead Cells and EE [Evil Empire" in a Discord post (via PCGamesN), however, has now offered a further explanation on his reaction to the decision.

"To put it shortly, Evil Empire did a tremendous job at keeping the game fresh and alive, while taking great care of their players," Benard said in a blog post

Dead Cells

(Image credit: Motion Twin)

"On the other side, 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.

"Seeing a similar abrupt termination decision from MT about Dead Cells, I can all but extrapolate on what happened behind the scene."

Benard, who left the studio and went on to found Deepnight Games, continued by saying that the Motion Twin team is "more or less 3 people from the former Dead Cells team" and that most of the original team is now gone, including the founders. 

“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," he continued. "Even I didn’t [trust 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)."

Benard added that he believes the move is to leave room for Windblown - Motion Twin's next major title which was announced during The Game Awards 2023 - saying "press slowly started to realize that the Dead Cells true architects were now EE" and he can "easily see how the panic happened at MT."

The developer says that he understands the strategy saying 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."

Looking for some chill experiences with friends and family? Be sure to check out our recommendations for the best co-op games, as well as the best multiplayer PC games.