Home Wizards Of The Coast President Resigns, leaving legacy of disharmony

Wizards Of The Coast President Resigns, leaving legacy of disharmony

Cynthia Williams, president of Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast, has resigned from her post. The shock news comes from a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from Hasbro, the parent company of Wizards.

The SEC filing reads “On April 15, 2024, Cynthia Williams, President of Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Gaming, informed the Company of her resignation from the Company effective April 26, 2024. The Company is conducting a process to identify her successor, looking at both internal and external candidates.”

WotC’s revenue is up 40% compared to the previous year. This was due to the critical success of the Lord of the Rings Series, which reached $200 million in sales, and the success of Baldur’s Gate 3, last year’s game-of-the-year winner across multiple awards series.

WotC took in $120m more in 2023 compared to 2022, but all was not well in the eyes of fans.

Controversy amid profit for WotC

Williams’ two-year tenure was marked by repeated controversies amongst the fantasy RPG faithful. Most recently, she ordered a round of layoffs in December that wiped out some 1,100 jobs as a cost saving move. Additionally, Hasbro sold film and TV department eOne to Lionsgate for $500m in August. The D&D: Honour Amongst Thieves movie failed to break even at the box office and brought in only $208m million globally.

Baldur’s Gate 3 from Larian Studios won every award possible among games launched in 2023. It was one of the few shining lights for Hasbro amidst record lows across all other arms of the company.

Still, Williams would continue the redundancy trail and set the fate of Faerûn on a different path.

In a recent interview, Sven Wicke, CEO of Larian, said “Wizards of the Coast have seen massive layoffs … there is no one left from the original meeting with them. You share so much knowledge about D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). It’s sad, and I’m not judging anyone, but they are gone, but their knowledge is now out there.”

Larian will not be involved in any new take on Baldur’s Gate, and Wicke stated that being involved with any new plans is “literally the opposite of what Larian is about. We want to do big, new things. We don’t want to rehash the thing that we’ve done already.”

This week Larian has interestingly created mod support and a closed beta test for some developers in the game’s lively community. This news emerged the same week as Williams’ resignation, so the two could be intertwined.

End of a turbulent era

Hasbro’s share price plummeted during Williams’s control of the company. In 2022, Hasbro, Inc.’s stock went from $102 to today’s low of $52, so the move may have been a forced one in an overall shakeup, but the gaming company’s profits across the past two years would suggest otherwise.

WotC is an integral part of the Hasbro puzzle. However, letting the flagship intellectual property Baldur’s Gate 3 and their relationship with Larian fizzle can only be seen as critical business failures. Sadly, Williams’s position and reputation will be synonymous with fan and staff disharmony and a lack of business acumen and foresight.

Image: Ideogram.

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Brian-Damien Morgan
Tech Journalist

Brian-Damien Morgan is an award-winning journalist and features writer. He was lucky enough to work in the print sector for many UK newspapers before embarking on a successful career as a digital broadcaster and specialist. His work has spanned the public and private media sectors of the United Kingdom for almost two decades. Since 2007, Brian has continued to add to a long list of publications and institutions, most notably as Editor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning multiple awards for his writing and digital broadcasting efforts. Brian would then go on to be integral to the Legacy 2014,…

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