Dead Cells is calling it quits 7 years after its meteoric early access release

Key art for Dead Cells' Bad Seed DLC, showing the Beheaded stalking through a room full of monstrous plants..
(Image credit: Motion Twin / Evil Empire)

Seven years after its early access release and five years after Evil Empire took the reins from the original devs at Motion Twin, Dead Cells is hanging up its spurs. In a statement earlier today, Evil Empire announced it "will no longer be working on Dead Cells" following a half-decade of work on the game. A corollary statement from Motion Twin declares Dead Cells' upcoming update 35 "the end of our creative journey on the game".

Evil Empire is handing in its notice after "4 DLCs, 18 updates, some epic crossovers and a mobile release with Playdigious," but says it's freeing up its Dead Cells devs to "pump their talent into our secret projects." Unsavoury phrasing aside, the studio says we can expect to see what they've got cooking next very soon. The devs also apologise for "any broken controllers caused by the Derelict Distillery." I, for one, do not and will never forgive them.

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With Evil Empire packing its bags, oversight of Dead Cells is once again entirely the domain of original developers Motion Twin, but that studio is content to leave the game as-is after update 35 gets out the door. After all, a key reason Evil Empire spun up in the first place was because Motion Twin wanted to move onto non-Dead Cells things. It doesn't look like that's changed.

"Our commitment to avoiding the 'more of the same' trap and keeping Dead Cells fresh and original has led us to this point," wrote Motion Twin, "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."

Honestly? I think that's 100% correct. Dead Cells is excellent, but there is already a lot of it, and I don't think either Evil Empire or Motion Twin should feel that they're leaving anything undone by walking away now. Plus, Motion Twin promises it'll "of course continue to find solutions to make sure that all quality of life issues and bugs are properly fixed across all platforms," so no worries there.

Motion Twin announced its next game, a high-speed roguelike battler called Windblown, back in December, and we'll hopefully hear more soon. The studio also has plans to keep Dead Cells going in content outside of the game itself, including an animated series, a board game, and "the Beheaded appearing in another world?!" Evil Empire's next project is a beautiful mystery, but I don't doubt we'll hear more soon.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.