Wizard with a Gun developer Galvanic Games is closing: 'Sales are not strong enough to sustain our studio'

 Wizard with a Gun.
Credit: Galvanic Games

Wizard with a Gun is a top-down co-op roguelite about wizards who, as the title makes clear, are packing heat. It's really good—"a lean roguelite that never feels like it's wasting your time, even if it's got some rough edges," we said in our 80% review—but will be the last game from developer Galvanic Games, which announced today that it is closing.

"Despite the promising start of Wizard with a Gun, sales are not strong enough to sustain our studio," Galvanic Games founder and president Patrick Morgan wrote on LinkedIn. "This last year has been particularly tough for games. While we had numerous encouraging conversations at DICE and GDC, the process of signing new projects, even in a good year, takes longer than the runway we had left."

Morgan said he's "incredibly proud" of Wizard with a Gun, and that working with publisher Devolver Digital was "a dream come true." But he added that "knowing that we accomplished all the things we set out to do when we founded Galvanic" is bittersweet because despite so much that went right, the studio is gone anyway.

"I may never get over the irony of spending a decade building my ideal team, only for it to end after our most productive year," Morgan wrote.

"Bittersweet" is putting it a lot more gently than I would have, but this is unfortunately representative of the state of the videogame industry today: As indie developer Maisie Ó Dorchaidhe said in May, it seems like there is simply no safety or security to be found in the business, regardless of your team, your game, or how much blood, sweat, tears, and unclocked overtime you pour into your work.

Every layoff and closure is different—Ó Dorchaidhe tweet's came in the wake of Microsoft's decision to close Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks—and sometimes, as in this case, games just don't catch fire no matter how good they are, and studios don't have the resources to go on. It's not as infuriating as successful studios being shut down by corporate parents in the never-ending pursuit of "growth," but it still reflects the fragility of the overall state of the business right now: Apart from a tiny selection of live service commodities and solo devs who capture lightning in a bottle, there's just no security for anyone.

In February we took a deep dive into the impact of 16,000 games industry layoffs that had occurred over the course of 2023, a frankly astonishing number. And yet so far 2024 is shaping up to be even worse: June, which isn't quite half over at this point, has already seen layoffs at Behaviour Interactive and Sumo Group, and the closure of Timbre Games; in May, Avalanche Studios Group, Intercept Games, Phoenix Labs, and Square Enix all either laid off employees or closed studios. May also saw the end of Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, along with Alpha Dog Games and Roundhouse Games.