MMOh, Awww: EverQuest Next Cancelled, “Wasn’t Fun”

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.

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  1. Sakkura says:

    Had a feeling this was coming, after the changes behind the scenes as well as the radio silence on the project. Too bad, now what will we hang our hat on as the “WoW-killer” other than father time (and other genres).

    • AngoraFish says:

      The next genuine WoW killer will be in VR. You heard it here first.

      • ChefSquid says:

        Perhaps, but only when VR becomes incredibly affordable, as well as the hardware required to run VR becoming affordable. One of the main reasons WoW is on top is that it runs on basically anything.

        You cant make a community if there aren’t enough people willing to spend thousands on hardware.

      • brucethemoose says:

        Breaking news: Blizzard announces VR support for WoW.

      • Arkayjiya says:

        There will never be a WoW killer because it’s too late to kill WoW. WoW is ageing and dying on its own and it’s too late to be overthrown by anything. Any WoW killer should have came 2 to 3 years earlier.

        • DThor says:

          Pretty much. It’s a rich old man finding that cough is getting more persistent, but there’s still a crapload of people coming to his door. There’s nothing to kill – it’s it’s own thing, and MMO as a genre entity already consists of plenty of successful variants. I’m doubting there will be another singular top of the heap. I get the VR possibilities, but that’s going to go bust because it’s cost keeps it firmly in the enthusiast camp. To lead the pack you need serious crossover.

  2. Asurmen says:

    It’ll be PS2 for the chopping block next.

    • brucethemoose says:

      I certainly hope not.

      They’ve recently put alot of work into the construction system, which means they’re partially interested in keeping it alive.

      • Asurmen says:

        That a lot of work has been put into something can be just as much as sign of an imminent pulling of the plug than no work at all. Work was done in EQ Next as well.

  3. Freud says:

    My first cynical thought was that of course it wasn’t fun, it’s a MMORPG.

  4. ScubaMonster says:

    SOE/Daybreak killing an MMO? Shocker!

    • Pogs says:

      Yes, the game was dead when Daybreak took over. Asset strippers don’t create they only destroy.

  5. Distec says:

    What could they possibly do with Landmark to make it “complete” when it was supposed to feed into the main game.

    It’s been a long time since I tried the alpha. The tools were cool, but there definitely wasn’t any game to make it meaningful.

    I’d revisit it, but I don’t feel like downloading the installer again.

    • AngoraFish says:

      It’s a crafting-based creative sandbox. And now its raison d’être is excactly that, rather than as a nebulous mod editor for making stuff that you might, or might not, be able to speculatively sell for real money in a future MMORPG. And although it has plenty of competition in that space, it’s more than enough.

      Reminds me in some ways of the creature editor from Spore, which was similarly more fun that the actual game itself.

  6. Chalky says:

    To be honest, I respect them for making this decision. Look at other games, this isn’t the first time someone’s made something that’s not very fun. The standard process is to hype it up, hide it from reviewers and try to cash in on presales before the reviewers start panning it.

    Here they’ve stood up and said “you know what, this is a crap product and we don’t want to sell it to people”.

    I’d prefer that attitude any day when compared to relentless hype and cynical preorder pushing.

    • brucethemoose says:

      They probably just ran out of resources. Daybreak is a much smaller company that SOE.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      “To be honest, I respect them for making this decision. “

      Then you’re a little naive. “It wasn’t fun” is grade-a bullshit face-saving.

      • falconne says:

        How is that face saving? The core element that separates good games from bad games is whether they are “fun” or not. They straight up admitted that it’s not turning out to be a good game. Face saving is when a company says the game is coming along great but “due to uncontrollable external circumstances we have to cancel”.

        • suramoto says:

          True, but that’s not the point nor the real reason (well, imho at least). If they said something like “we don’t want to risk our money in a non-money-grab project”, which in my opinion is the real reason, they could have lost their face wrt the community of people that was following the project.

  7. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    The cynic in me says they’ve known this for ages and just decided to sit on it for a while to let the dust clear from the takeover etc. Looks bad when you buy out a company and immediately cancel games.
    Also read “It wasn’t any fun” (A line DIRECTLY taken from Blizzards decision to cancel Project Titan), as “We didn’t want to spend the money required to make a good game”.

    None of this comes as much of a surprise though sadly.

  8. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    That’s some good quality golem right there.

    Somebody needs to make a golem game where you makes golems to out golem all the other golems to be golemed the golem of golems.

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      What about a game that has actual golems from jewish folklore?

      • SomeDuder says:

        We must go deeper – what about a game where you fight as a golem versus Gollum?

  9. Shuck says:

    I’m not surprised, given the problems they seemed to be having, but I’m disappointed that they couldn’t make the interesting elements actually work. Too bad. Maybe someone with a big budget will make another go of making an MMO with those elements.

  10. Butts says:

    Why would they cancel it for not being fun? Everquest was NEVER fun. Not even for a single second. The potential for joy was surgically excised from every possible interaction the game allowed. There could not conceivably be a game that was MORE Everquest-y than a game completely and utterly lacking fun.

    For my money, I’d say it’s the opposite of what they’re claiming. What really happened is that they attempted to create a game of such utter, miserable monotony, the likes of which had never been seen, much less imagined by decent people. And when they weren’t able to realize their grim, apocalyptic vision they decided to just abandon the thing like a girl who gives birth in a school bathroom on prom night.

    • malkav11 says:

      The people responsible for Everquest’s anti-fun stance left long before the buyout and not that long after the launch of EQII, even. So while EQ itself couldn’t really be salvaged without turning off the hardcore masochists of its core demographic, EQII ended up being a really solid, cool game after a few expansions. I’d still be playing it if the people I played it with were still around.

  11. Palindrome says:

    I have bought Landmark and H1Z1 from what is now Daybreak. Not buying anything else from them until at least 6 months after a full retail release (if ever). I don’t think that Daybreak is long for the world given how their EA games are faring.

    • aircool says:

      I was a fan of Landmark, even going so far as to watch the weekly Twitch broadcast.

      However, along came Daybreak and asset stripping ensued.

  12. Premium User Badge

    zapatapon says:

    If wasn’t fun, but was it art?

  13. malkav11 says:

    They were making claims there was almost zero chance they could deliver on, so I’m not surprised they failed.

  14. Chillicothe says:

    This has been a Bloody March, hasn’t it?

    • Sakkura says:

      Nearly half the staff working on Wildstar just got fired too, with the release in China dropped. Bloody indeed. And now that game looks well on its way to final cancellation within the coming months.

  15. fish99 says:

    Based on the slow development of Planetside 2 and H1Z1, it never seemed likely the current Daybreak could make an MMO to me. It takes them 3 months to add a gun to H1Z1 and another 3 months to get it (nearly) working. Honestly I think EQ:Next died the day they were sold.

  16. Banks says:

    Of course it wasn’t fun, it’s an MMO.

  17. Simbosan says:

    Surprise surprise, asshole investment corporation in “unable to make game” shocker.

    They release Landmark because it’s almost finished and shutter a game that would require being a game making company. They are just grabbing the low hanging fruit while they plunder the corpse of SOE.

    They are just sticking to what they do best, sacking people.

  18. Perjoss says:

    I don’t play MMO games anymore but I do think there is still room for a few good ones. It just feels like everyone is trying to make the same game.

    Part of me wishes that World of Warcraft wasn’t so successful as I feel this has steered the design of almost all of these games down the same path.

    Wildstar was kind of interesting with its scifi setting and interesting dodge mechanics, but I think I’m just tired of the questing systems in these types of games. I think quests should be able to be a fun thing all on its own, each quest should have something memorable about it, I just cant do the ‘kill 10 of these and come back’ quests anymore.

  19. Zephro says:

    Awwww that’s a pity. It was a cool idea and it showed promise in alpha but I was also sort of expecting this with the lack of news.

  20. Wuulfebear says:

    I and a lot of people are very angry with Daybreak. We’ve been ripped off from the company and since you have zero customer support or feedback options, there’s basically no way to actually contact the company.
    I myself, have been ripped off by Landmark (only played 2 hours – 2 hours of crashing on top of that), and have had it for almost or for two years now. They’d abandoned the game for the most part in favor for DCUO and H1Z1. So there’s $75 down the drain.
    (Read Landmark Reviews on Steam and you’ll note literally every post for the past 5-6 months are negative reviews on how customers feel scammed and ripped off by this company).
    Then there’s H1z1. I purchased the game pretty much on Alpha release, have about 300 odd hours on it and recently they just split the product into two halves. I automatically have the ‘Just Survive’ part of the product, however the King of the Kill is asking me for more money to get the second half.
    Huge scam there. Again last 6+ months customers are furious as Daybreak is nothing but a money-hoarding blackhole pulling the dollars off the consumer at the consumer’s expense.
    I’ve read up reviews since the past year after the company change how ex-employees are all saying that Daybreak’s internal structure is based on a Heirachy and Clique circles. How the company’s turned into a complete Pay to Win orientated company and to be honest, that is absolutely true.
    DCUO – Buy episodes to actually get to the end game content and episodes vary from $7-$15 per (at least 20-22 episodes presently)
    Or the other method is to pay per month to play to get full access. However even if you purchase all the episodes, you can never have access to more that $2000 from your bank.

    H1Z1 – Pre-split the company was (and still is) more focused on cosmetics sellers for an income, players purchasing crate keys and crates from their online store, as well as the Battle Royales than actually dealing with what many players have repeatedly stuggled playing with regarding hackers and cheaters.
    Hacks and Cheats have literally made the game unplayable because days of weeks of work are wiped out by hackers. The company claims to have an anti-hack in play, but sadly, this is not true. I was in game and saw a broadcast that some name had been banned for cheating. Within that hour, the same name popped up again with the same name. Fake scripted appearance that players were being banned? or more likely, the hackers found a work around?
    Either way, making a buck is more important than customer requests.

    LANDMARK – Wow.. where to start. For over a year on Steam, there were no moderators, no updates, no posts from June last year pretty much till near the end of March this year. I’m still not sure what updates were done on the March time frame however, too little too late. $75 for the Trailblazer pack and money down the toilet.
    Personally, I’d avoid any product from this company. Customer satisfaction is the last thing on their mind. Making money off you is priority. If I see any further products on Steam from Daybreak, its an auto “non-interested” and Block on my profile.
    I refuse to be lied to by this company again.