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Lords of the Fallen 2 has been stripped from developer Defiant Studios by publisher CI Games.
As reported by Eurogamer, franchise custodian CI Games claims it was forced to end its development partnership with Defiant after the New York studio failed to meet key milestones and delivered work of subpar quality.
It's news that throws the future of the franchise into doubt, given Defiant was only brought on board last summer to wipe the slate clean and begin working on Lords of the Fallen 2 from scratch.
"The termination of the agreement was submitted due to inadequate execution by Defiant [of] a key work stage (milestone no. 11), a so-called vertical slice," reads a translated press release.
"The quality of the work was lower than expected by the company, as precisely described in the agreement, despite three calls to improve the quality of this stage of work."
Defiant, however, has pushed back against CI Games' version of events, and studio founder and managing director David Grijns claims he "fully stands behind" the work of his team.
"We categorically disagree with the portrayal of Defiant Studios made by CI Games," he told Eurogamer. "The team that was working on CI Games' project was comprised of exceedingly talented developers whose work we fully stand behind.
"Our team knows how to build quality games as is evident by their key roles in Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 5, Devil May Cry and many other top tier projects. As we intend to abide by our contractual confidentiality obligations, at this time we cannot expand further on this matter."
Moving forward, CI Games intends to finish work on Lords of the Fallen 2 internally, but that could present something of a challenge with the studio having last year "significantly downsized" its in-house dev team.