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Asmodee Digital, Starbreeze partner Lucky Hammers shuts down

Mike Futter

Asmodee Digital, Starbreeze partner Lucky Hammers shuts down

Known for its tabletop-to-digital conversion of Terraforming Mars, Onitama, and the upcoming Mansions of Madness: Mother's embrace, Lucky Hammers has been forced to close its doors and lay off nearly 70 staff members.

Mike Futter,Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:16:00

Lucky Hammers, a studio based in Montreal known for VR projects and tabletop-to-digital conversions, has shut down.

The studio closed its doors last week, laying off approximately 70 staff members. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, company founders Dom Roussey and Marc-Antoine Pinard stated that a big bet on virtual reality didn’t pan out. 

The company self-published a licensed Sour Patch kids game for Samsung’s Gear VR. It also partnered with ailing Swedish developer Starbreeze on the company’s StarVR proprietary platform. StarVR was first revealed at E3 2015, with a 210-degree field of view and 5k display (both greater than any commercially-available VR headset on the market today).

StarVR never took off, struggling with production at scale and a prototype unit far too heavy for any semblance of comfort even during a short play session. Starbreeze eventually abandoned its plans for consumer release, shifting to location-based entertainment (LBE) in a partnership with IMAX that brought StarVR to the public. In December 2018, IMAX announced the closure of its LBE initiative and related locations, as well as the write-off of certain investments related to the project.

Lucky Hammers’ big bet fell apart.

The company has had a number of successful tabletop-to-digital releases in partnership with Asmodee Digital, the interactive entertainment arm of massive tabletop company Asmodee. Asmodee’s holdings include Z-Man Games, Fantasy Flight Interactive, Days of Wonder, and Catan Studios.

One of Lucky Hammer’s projects, Mansions of Madness: Mother’s Embrace, was in development at Lucky Hammers prior to the shutdown. In an email exchange with GameDaily, Asmodee Digital declined to comment specifically on the Lucky Hammers shut-down. However, the company did offer some hope for Mansions of Madness: Mother’s Embrace and future support for Terraforming Mars and other released titles.

“Current or future games’ development won’t be impacted by Lucky Hammers shutting down, as we have implemented adequate dispositions in time with them,” an Asmodee Digital representative said. “Communication on future games, including Mansions of Madness, will go on according to plan, with announcements coming soon.”

As for Lucky Hammers’ employees, the company declined to share information on severance arrangements with GamesIndustry. However, co-founders Roussey and Pinard did say that a job fair has had positive results for some of the affected employees.

Lucky Hammers did not return GameDaily’s request for comment by publication. We’ll update should we receive a reply.

Lucky Hammers appears to be a casualty of Starbreeze’s financial plummet. With no support available from that company as it struggles to stay alive, Lucky Hammers simply didn’t have the runway to keep the lights on.