David Braben says Frontier Developments has had a ‘turbulent and difficult year’ as Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin flops

Frontier boss David Braben has said the company has experienced a “turbulent and difficult year” after Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin struggled to find an audience.

As reported by IGN, Frontier issued a trading update this morning in the wake of the launch of its of its fantasy RTS, acknowledging the recent difficulties faced by the company, and its plans to improve fortunes going forward.

“We were pleased to see at launch that Realms of Ruin received mostly positive reviews from game critics and from players,” explains the update. “However, sales to date have been lower than expected.”

It certainly seems like Realms of Ruin has struggled to find an audience, with just 187 concurrent players at the time of writing according to SteamDB, and a total of 737 Steam reviews giving the game a “mixed rating”. Regardless, Frontier plans to “evolve and support” the game with “post-release content” and hopes sales might pick up “with the December trading period approaching”.

Nonetheless, following Realms of Ruin’s disappointment, Frontier is adjusting both its prospects and strategy going into next year. Before the launch, Frontier expected to reach revenue of “around £108 million” for this financial year. Now it has amended that figure to “in the range of £80-95 million”, with the company expected to make a “loss of around £9 million”.

Because of this, Frontier is revising its current business strategy. In the last five years, the company has tried to “diversify [our] game portfolio”, but this “has not delivered the anticipated success”. Hence, Frontier aims to refocus the business on its “CMS games”, such as Planet Coaster, Planet Zoo and Jurassic World Evolution. According to Frontier, these games “continue to perform well”, and the company hopes to “at least break even” in the next financial year. CEO Jonny Watts also confirmed “a third creative management simulation game on our development roadmap”, so it sounds like we’ll see another management sim from Frontier in addition to those mentioned above.

The new direction also brings one major change at the top. Chairman David Wilton is stepping down from Frontier’s board, and will be replaced by the current Non-Executive Director Ilse Howling. Frontier’s boss David Braben thanked Wilton “for his contribution during a turbulent and difficult year for Frontier”.

It was clear Frontier was struggling this year long before this trading update. In June, the company ditched its third-party publishing label “Frontier Foundry”, while October brought news of layoffs “following a period of disappointing financial performance.” Realms of Ruin seemed like it would do the business during previews, but our reviewer Noah thought its “clumsy movement and a baffling hands-off approach to combat consign Realms of Ruin to the ever-growing graveyard of mediocre Warhammer games”.

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