Hyper Light Drifter designer Teddy Dief was snapped up by Square Enix Montreal soon after the indie RPG released in 2016. As a creative director at the Hitman Go developer he was leading a team designing a new game, but that project has now been canned by the studio, and as a result Dief has decided to leave the company.
"The business strategy of the studio shifted, and our project was sadly no longer compatible," he wrote on his blog. "Because of this shift and the loss of our project, I no longer feel this is the place for me to pursue the type of work I aspire to make—the avenues of storytelling in game design I’ve been trying to explore in my career."
I have decided to leave my position as Creative Director at Square Enix Montreal.Because this was a dream role for me, I feel it bears explaining why I’ve given it up, especially to those who have supported and encouraged me. Here is that explanation: https://t.co/utnEtpZBPiJanuary 29, 2018
The now-cancelled project was co-started by Fez designer Renaud Bédard. He, and the rest of the team, will remain at Square Enix Montreal to work on other projects, Dief said.
He doesn't go into any more details on the project he was working on, so we may never know what he had in mind. Or perhaps some of his plans will make it into whatever he works on next—Dief said he's "resuming full-time indie development, with new collaborations coalescing".
"We’re certainly not the first team to lose a project. I’m a thousand times more privileged than most, and grateful for every beat of this games life. I’m eager to move forward."
As Andy wrote in his review, Hyper Lift Drifter was a beautiful RPG (if a tad frustrating at times), so it'll be worth keeping an eye on Dief's next project.