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Bulletstorm studio’s mysterious Project Dagger is officially dead

Project Dagger, a “new action-adventure IP” that had been in development at People Can Fly since 2020, has been officially cancelled. The studio said in a report released earlier this month that the decision to halt development was made following an “unsatisfactory” evaluation of the current state of the game.

Trouble with Project Dagger first came to light in 2022, when Take-Two Interactive terminated its publishing deal for the game and did not exercise its option to buy out the rights to the project. “We strongly believe in Project Dagger’s potential and are now committed to continue its development within our self-publishing pipeline,” the studio said at the time. It acknowledged that the change would place added costs on the studio, but added that “self-publishing is part of our strategy,” although it remained open to working with a different publisher.

Despite that positive spin, People Can Fly continued to struggle with Project Dagger. In November 2023 a small team set about “redefining the direction of the game’s development and preparing a preproduction version of a game” in order to address feedback provided by an external evaluation of what they had so far. Because of that, a planned release in 2025-26 was put on hold.

Whatever happened between then and now, it clearly didn’t go well. People Can Fly said in an April 5 report that work on Project Dagger has been discontinued following “unsatisfactory results of the evaluation of the scope and commercial potential of the project after redefining the direction of the game’s development.” More simply put, they couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

People Can Fly burst on the scene in 2004 with the cult classic (and, frankly, brilliant) FPS Painkiller, and then followed up with Bulletstorm, an underrated, hilariously profane (and yes, incredibly juvenile) shooter. But it’s struggled to find its footing since then. It co-developed Gears of War: Judgment with Epic Games in 2013, after which it was acquired by Epic and worked on Fortnite: Save the World; it went independent again in 2015 in order to focus on its own original games, but despite showing early promise the 2021 co-op shooter Outriders failed to catch fire.

The studio ran into further trouble earlier this year, laying off a number of employees working on a different game, currently codenamed Project Gemini. Despite the cuts, that game is still in development; People Can Fly’s Q3 2023 financial report indicates the studio is also working on Project Maverick, a game based on an unnamed Microsoft property—a new Gears of War, maybe?—and has at least two more in development intended to be self-published, Project Bifrost and Project Victoria. Another game, codenamed Project Red, is also in the concept phase.

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