Might & Magic Showdown [official site], Ubisoft’s faux-tabletop wargame where players can paint their own miniature warmen, will shut down without even leaving early access. Fraser Brown said it was a lovely painting tool handcuffed to a rubbo game, so this isn’t much of a surprise. Ubisoft have already pulled the game from sale and will shut down the servers on July 31st, making the game unplayable. They do at least plan to offer full refunds to everyone who wants one, though do be warned that you’ve only got until the 31st to get your £16 back.Showdown hit early access in January 2017 and will never properly launch. Ubisoft’s announcement didn’t say why they’re shutting it down, but I’d guess it’s because the game is not good so too few people were buying it. Ubi said:
“We wish to convey our sincerest gratitude to you, our dedicated players, who have helped us navigate the management of an Early Access campaign – because of you, we have learned a great deal about how best to serve you and we hope to carry these learnings forward into future Ubisoft projects.”
Meanwhile, Fraser Brown said:
“Might & Magic Showdown is a bit of a cypher. It’s attached to a franchise that is has nothing to do with and is inspired by games with mechanics that it entirely rejects. It’s not clear what Ubisoft are really going for here, and right now if feels like a mess of ideas that aren’t really sticking. Yet still I play. I haven’t enjoyed a single battle, but I’m having the time of my life painting my minis.”
I’m not sure what Ubisoft are going for with Might & Magic in general. They bought the fantasy world in 2003 and ever since have treated it like the big, exciting, unique fantasy name it definitely is not. Every time they make a fantasy game without its own strong identity, they rope it into Might & Magic. Ubisoft act is if the mid-tier brand is so wonderful it could elevate any game to glory, but it’s increasingly a warning sign.
Aside from a few rare gooduns like man-kicking Dark Messiah and Clash of Heroes, Might & Magic is full of guff. The main RPG series is lost (though our Alec quite liked M&M X: Legacy), the spin-off strategy series Heroes of Might & Magic has been mediocre for years (and was bested by King’s Bounty before that series also nosedived), and the free-to-play games are duffers.
It is a shame. Might & Magic, along with The Settlers and Anno, is one of the few traditional ’90s PC Gaming lines Ubisoft have left. But M&M is only a brand name, and doesn’t mean anything if good games aren’t coming of it.
Ubisoft actually announced the shutdown of Might & Magic: Showdown one week ago, though I didn’t notice — and many didn’t — until DSOGaming pointed it out. Seems people weren’t paying much attention to this one. That’s part of the problem, yeah?