Wildermyth developer Worldwalker Games is 'going into hibernation,' not because it has to but because it wants to: 'We did what we set out to do'

Wildermyth key art: Four fantasy characters standing around a campfire
(Image credit: Worldwaker Games)

Wildermyth, a narrative-driven tactical RPG released in 2021, is a game that "deserves to define the next decade," we wrote in our 90% review. Sadly, the studio that made it won't be around that long: Worldwalker Games co-owner Nate Austin has announced that after a "wonderful journey," Wildermyth is finished, and the studio "is going into hibernation."

"It's never fun to bring something to an end, but sadly this is that time," Austin wrote. "Active development on Wildermyth is complete. We will continue to support the game and fix critical bugs, but don't expect new content going forward. We will be saying farewell to many of our team members. Worldwalker Games is going into hibernation for now."

Austin said the suspension of operations will not impact plans to bring Wildermyth to other platforms, nor will it have any effect on the release of the soundtrack, which was successfully Kickstarted earlier this year. French and Spanish translations of the game are still in the works, and social media accounts, support emails, Discord, and the merchandise store will continue to operate.

He also emphasized that Worldwalker is an indie studio, "not answerable to investors," and that "nobody is shutting us down." Instead, he said the team is simply done with the project and moving on to other things.

"Wildermyth has been wonderful, but nothing goes on forever," Austin wrote. "We wanted to ship [Wildermyth DLC] Omenroad, and having done that, we're ready to move on. This was the plan, and it doesn't have anything to do with how well Omenroad is doing. (It's doing well! We're extremely proud of it.)"

Speaking to PC Gamer, Austin said Wildermyth "has been a huge success for us, creatively, critically, and financially," but three years after release it's tailed off to the point where it doesn't need a full team anymore, and Worldwalker doesn't currently have another project to move to.

"We expect we'll find another game eventually, but the only way we know how to do that is by going off into the metaphorical wilderness for a while," Austin said. "We're not excited to make a Wildermyth sequel, which might be disappointing to our fans, but, yeah, I don't know what to say about it. We've been working on Wildermyth for over 11 years and we're not keen to start in again. We're more likely to try something pretty different, but figuring out what that will be is risky and time consuming, and we can't do that with a full studio."

Five Worldwalker employees are being let go, "a majority of our full-time staff," and while that appears to be just another addition to the many, many layoffs and closures that have plagued the videogame industry since the start of 2023, Austin said this situation is different: "The state of the industry is distressing for sure, but those trends have not really affected us much, thankfully. We're fully independent and self funded, and we're not being shut down by anyone. We just don't have an active project to pivot to at this time."

The Worldwalker team has been aware of this plan for "several months," but even so that hasn't made the decision any easier. "It's always wrenching to break up a team, and it's always hard to move on," Austin said. "That sucks, it's never fun. We've tried to do right by our people." When the time comes to start on a new game, he doesn't expect to be able to get the whole team back together—"people move on, and that has to be okay"—but he'd "be very happy to get whoever we could."

(Image credit: Worldwalker Games (Twitter))

Wildermyth programmer Patrick Belanger shared similar sentiments, both about the Worldwalker team and leaving the game behind. "I love a lot of things about this game and this company, and with anything like that, moving on is going to be bittersweet," he said.

"Nate and Annie [Worldwalker co-owner Annie Austin] made the decision to bring the company into hibernation, and I know it was a really hard decision for them to make. It's sad, but in my opinion, things were handled with as much care as I could've asked for, especially with the state of the industry being what it is. As a team, we had been talking for quite a while (probably on and off for the last couple years?) about what we would want in a second game. Wildermyth was great, but we were ready to move on to other things."

Belanger said the team discussed different ideas and did some prototyping, but "we never found anything that we felt strongly enough about to really sink our teeth into. I think all of us wanted to make a second game (Nate and Annie included), but couldn't quite find the spark we were looking for."

The Worldwalker team knew the end was coming "since before the start of 2024," Belanger said: "We were going to finish up the Omenroad DLC, and then go our separate ways." Members of the team are getting severance pay, he added, and a profit-sharing system that's been in place since Wildermyth launched will continue.

"We did what we set out to do," Belanger said. "Wildermyth is a game that you could theoretically pour endless content into—and we sure did pour a lot of content into it—but to me at least, Wildermyth feels finished. We've poured our hearts into it, created a work of art that many have told us has changed their lives, and now we're ready to move on. The tools we use to make campaigns are all in-game, and there's a super incredible modding community that's made some really neat stuff, so I'm personally hoping that players will continue to find joy in that long into the future."

In the end, it sounds not too far off of Larian's decision to leave piles of money on the table by declining to do another Baldur's Gate, simply because they weren't interested in the prospect of more. Of course Larian came through that process intact, which is generally a more desirable outcome, but Austin said having a game studio was never the point.

"We originally set out to make one game. The company came later, because we had to have one, but it was never the main goal. Wildermyth started off as a side project and we were lucky enough to be able to turn it into a business. The business was, really, a side effect of making the game, and not the other way around."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.