EverQuest Next was one of the more interesting MMORPG ideas I’ve seen in a fair while. I dug the idea of introducing a touch of Minecraft with a world built in collaboration with fans, and destructible terrain letting players carve paths and find hidden places sounded more interesting than many MMO worlds. But… it’s off. Developers Daybreak Game Company, the studio formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment, have cancelled the MMORPG. The problem, Daybreak say, is that it simply wasn’t fun. They do plan to finish its world-building Early Access spin-off Landmark [official site] up a bit, though.
Daybreak president Russell Shanks announced the news today “after much review and consideration”:
“For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.
“For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we – and all of you – have for the worlds of Norrath.”
Shanks adds that they still dig EverQuest, and that EverQuest 1 and 2 are still “going strong” (lawks, after 17 years!).
While EQ Next is cancelled, Landmark is not. It started as EverQuest Next Landmark, a spin-off to let folks play with Next’s building tech and maybe get their creations into EQ Next proper, but in 2014 dropped the EverQuest name to become its own thing. It was exciting but barebones and wonky, Craig found. Updates had slowed by 2015, and Daybreak said they were shifting to focus on EQ Next. Well. Obviously not any more. Now the plan is to bosh Landmark a big update this month and aim for a spring launch. Check the launch FAQ for more on that.
Daybreak do seem to be doing okay with their DayZ ’em up H1Z1, which they recently split into separate survival and competitive games. As I write this, the survival game H1Z1: Just Survive has about 6,000 players online and the competitive H1Z1: King of the Kill is around 12,000.