The Ambitious Future of 'Dead Cells' Is Ditching Co-Ops For Capitalism

Dead Cells entered early access more than two years ago, and it’s still being updated with new weapons, enemies, areas. This wasn’t the plan. Dead Cells was not supposed to go on for years. But the massive success o f Dead Cells caught developer Motion Twin by surprise, and so this past August, they made a big change. Dead Cells would live on, but no longer be developed by Motion Twin. Instead, the future of Dead Cells—future game updates, potential sequels, whatever—would be handled by a new studio called Evil Empire.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Instead, the future of Dead Cells —future game updates, potential sequels, whatever—would be handled by a new studio called Evil Empire.

Well, at least they are self-aware.


Maybe I’m just uneducated, but god those guys Patrick interviewed just sound like a mealy mouth buzzword soup. Though I guess “no we actually do deserve to make more money and have more power than others” is harder to say and still keep thinking that you are morally trending in the right direction still.


Sounds to me like some people broke off from the main group because they disagreed with the model.

I hate it.

Anarcho-syndicalism works. It seems to me that the constraints here seem to be within the French state. Requiring the co-op to pay more taxes than a capitalist business is an obvious move to limit worker-owned businesses and to push people back into acceptable neoliberal economic practices.

I don’t blame those who left and formed Evil Empire, but I do think it sucks that they felt like they had to.


I can understand struggling with organization in a flat environment, but why does adopting a hierarchical structure involve unequal pay in this case? From my experience in research I see a benefit in having some loose hierarchy in terms of someone or a group of people leading a team in order to focus ideas, but I don’t see why they should be paid more than anyone else. The leaders of a project don’t necessarily work harder than anyone else, they just have a different set of responsibilities.


I don’t think rejecting a co-op model in favour of a hierarchical structure is necessarily detrimental to a progressive business but arguably the very first clause that any company doing so should be putting in place is a maximum wage relative to the minimum.


It’s funnier when you read that he was the former head of marketing. Aka a useless, nothing job that can only exist under capitalism. Complaining about having to defend your ideas from everyone instead of having your ideas criticized and overruled by an overbearing boss with a massive ego (which will be him).


Not the worst idea imaginable, hierarchy has advantages, but uneven pay and the fucking quote of “the french wellfare state” really gives away the game. Guy is trying to cash in hard and he’s probably going to screw over his workers. It’s so transparent.


Anarcho-syndicalism works.

It does, but we also have to remember that Co-ops aren’t all there is to Anarcho-syndicalism. I don’t know why, but I’ve become more and more pessimistic towards the success of individual Co-ops under capitalism. Being your own, collective boss doesn’t really protect you from the broader forces of the capitalist mode of production. Exploiting yourself might be better than being exploited by someone else with no control at all (as you are unlikely to exploit yourself as hard), but in the end it’s not an end to capitalism and all the s*it (materially, as well as ideologically) that comes with it, just a different form of managing it.

That being said, there is no doubt that the situation you described,

Requiring the co-op to pay more taxes than a capitalist business is an obvious move to limit worker-owned businesses and to push people back into acceptable neoliberal economic practices.

can only worsen the situation and is probably ultimately responsible for the quarrels in this particular case.


I think this is a better way to practice a co-op work-structure and avoids what seems to be bothering Evil Empire about the flat hierarchy.
Quotes from EE in this article make it hard not to be cynical of their direction, scaling up to them means hierarchy and pay inequity, senior pay bias, profit motive etc. Just following the same-old capitalistic company model.


People need to read Rudolf Rocker tbh


Oh no I just realized…

Me, like the people I tell myself I won’t become because it isn’t helpful: “you should read more theory”


From my experience the people at the top who make decisions often lack the necessary context and perspective to make decisions that aren’t just procrastination. A top-down system just breeds inefficentacies where regardless of what the top decides the bottom is going to do the work necessary get the job done in the best way they can. Often just plain ignoring the decisions they were given.

While I do think that positions like marketing and team management are important, they’re not more important than the people making the product. Most management is just admin work anyway. Good manager can help focus a team, but they do not deserve more pay because of it.


Okay so I am responding to this as a former publicist/marketer who desperately wants to feel like he didn’t squander five years of his life marketing books: I do not think the job is entirely useless and exists only under capitalism. Even in a non-capitalist alternative, people will want to distinguish their creative works and expose them to a larger audience–right? Removing the necessity or desire for profits/sales does not suddenly mean that folks will make creative works and simply let them exist in semi-obscurity. Perhaps some will, but I do not think that is representative of the whole.

My apologies if I misunderstood your comment.

Having said all of that, Filby does not inspire a lot of confidence in this piece.


I’m not a marketer and I’ve got no opinions one way or another of the profession’s role in a given economic system. But I will say that I’m super uncomfortable with language that calls an entire class of people “useless”. It feels like a lot of right wing rhetoric against careers that aren’t STEM or trades.


As someone currently working in marketing: while I think that what we would define as a marketing department is probably something that might not exist without capitalism, the skills employed in marketing are broad and useful even without profit motive. I think good visual / mass communication will always probably be useful.

Edit: I will say however that the guy in this piece seems like a real shithead and I’m confused why he was even interested in working in a co-op in the first place. It’s 11 people, my guy. Most of us have to work on getting consensus approval from larger groups of people in our corporate jobs already.


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Believe you me, I sometimes sorely wish I had done this instead of going to law school.


In case my eyes and brain fail me again. Patrik didn’t talk to anyone who remained at Motion Twin, right? If yes this seems like an oversight?


If this dude thinks the standard corporate structure is going to fix the problem of having to defend your decisions to someone who doesn’t understand your job, I got some real bad news for him.


But i think the guy Patrick interviewed is the boss. So it’s more “I want to be the guy who every has to defend their decisions to and not have any of my ideas challenged”