Defiant were really committed to this whole adventure-board-game thing. Striking an ace with card crawler Hand Of Fate, doubling down with a sequel. But after two-and-a-bit games, the studio have canned a brand new game mid-development and closed their doors for good.
Defiant’s darling was mystical card-game-come-brawler Hand Of Fate, a nifty little deck builder with neat ideas and tepid combat. Alec called the 2017 a “bigger, better game than its predecessor in almost every respect” in his Hand Of Fate 2 review, even if it did pull back its trash-talking ace, the Dealer.
There was even a board game at one point. Hand Of Fate: Ordeals brought the series full circle in 2018. I can’t tell you if it’s good, but it’s apt.
The Aussie studio posted the unfortunate news early this morning, announcing their effective shutdown. It sounds like they couldn’t keep up with changes in the industry over the past decade. Sad reacts only.
“The Defiant model has always focused on creating games nobody else would. Games that reflected the skills and passions of our team. Games that did something new. Our process has always been focused on iteration and exploration. We go into dark places, searching for hidden treasures. We set out without knowing where the journey will take us, and we do so knowing that the unknown is not always safe.
“That is a risky way to make games, and we knew that. When it succeeds it delivers things you could never have considered possible. When it fails, it leaves you without a safety net.
“The games market has changed in ways both big and small in the 9 years we’ve been in business. We have not been able to change quickly enough to continue with them.”
Going forward, the company will chug along as a shell “in caretaker mode” to keep their existing games running.
Defiant ended with a parting gift: a brief glimpse of their would-be-next game, A World In My Attic. Following their “wot if tabletop games but deadly” tradition, it would have traded out Hand Of Fate’s cards for Catan-style hexes.
A World In My Attic might’ve been more open than Defiant’s past dungeon-crawler. There are some lovely landscape shots in there, alongside goblins, trolls, and enough hexagons to make Terry Cavanagh blush.
It all looked a bit more twee than Hand Of Fate, too. We’ll sadly never know what the big fantasy loft could have held.