Future of Epic’s Paragon looks gloomy as Fortnite Battle Royale prospers

Epic Games have confirmed that updates for Paragon, their free-to-play MOBA, are slowing down, and that they have drafted people from the team to help on the runaway success that is Fortnite Battle Royale. While over 40 million people have downloaded Fortnite Battle Royale in under four months, according to Epic, Paragon has not found nearly the same success. In a candid public post, Epic addressed the gloomy tone of many players, saying, “Here inside Epic, we’re talking about the future of Paragon in pretty much the same terms as you’re talking about it.”

An Epic community coordinator explained in a Reddit post that part of why Paragon updates have been slow lately is because the “the team’s time is split between immediate improvements and longer-term efforts, so there’s less visible progress.” This isn’t helped by how “a number of Paragon team members jumped onto Fortnite to help sustain the game as it has grown far larger than anything in Epic’s past.”

Fornite Battle Royale really is quite big. While Epic arrived late to MOBAs with Paragon, long after the genre and its players had settled, they’ve been quite timely in chasing the Battle Royale trend. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds kicked open the doors to the mainstream, and Epic have followed them in. Though Epic’s game is clearly so heavily based on Plunkbat, it’s found success by giving the game a cheery arcade-y twist, arriving on consoles first, and being free rather than costing £27.

All of that success means that yeah, of course Epic are focusing on Fortnite Battle Royale instead. While it grows, Paragon’s diagnosis seems a little grim.

“The core challenge is that, of new players who try Paragon, only a small number continue to play regularly after a month,” Epic’s post said. “Though Paragon has evolved, no iteration has yet achieved that magical combination of ingredients that make for a sustainable game.”

Unsustainable games do not tend to last long. Epic say they’re confident they could market the game and make money, but none of that will matter if it doesn’t grow first. That’s a pretty big problem.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be figuring out if and how we can evolve Paragon to achieve growth and success, and trying some things internally,” Epic say. “In the meantime, Paragon’s release cadence will be slower.”

I would not be surprised if Paragon soon meets the fate of most other small MOBAs.

24 Comments

  1. shinkshank says:

    Jumping the bandwagon is all fine and good, but doing so at the price of other projects might be seen as a little crummy.

    On the other hand, the other project in this case is Paragon, another attempted bandwagon jump that frankly wasn’t that great, so I guess it’s okay?

    • Tridus says:

      All companies do this with projects. You have limited resources. If you have one project that’s struggling and one that is a huge success, how much value do you get by putting resources into the struggling one in the hope it turns around? As opposed to making more stuff for the successful one, which will probably make you more profit for the same investment?

      If they think they can turn Paragon around, then it might make sense to keep working on it. If not, putting resources into it that could have gone into Fortnite is a waste of money.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Doesn’t come as a surprise really, given what happened to the Unreal Tournament reboot that was in the works. That said, hat’s off to Epic for not wasting thousands of hours of community contributions while they smother Paragon, unlike the new UT.

  2. Freud says:

    Paragon doesn’t seem to offer anything new to the moba genre except perspective and being shiny. That’s not what moba is about. The overhead isometric perspective gives great readability to the players. That in turn enables the developers to introduce a lot of interesting mechanics without them being obscure.

    • Nelyeth says:

      I’d argue that, if that’s all it does new, then it doesn’t do anything new. Smite has been here for years, and has a pretty comfortable playerbase, which shows that apparently, you can make a MOBA in third-person perspective that isn’t innately terrible.

      I have played it for a bit a few years back, and found it pretty nifty, but ultimately went back to League of Legends, because I couldn’t be bothered to learn a new MOBA from scratch.

  3. Banks says:

    Epic has too many fronts open right now and only Fortnite is looking good, they better focus their resources on that.

  4. UnrealClock says:

    Too many fronts? What? How is like three games too many?

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      phuzz says:

      Considering how many games companies have managed to screw up making just one game at a time, why do you have to ask?

  5. skyturnedred says:

    I miss Dawngate.

  6. Pyromanta says:

    I don’t really get the battle Royale thing. I’ve played both PUBG and Fortnite and can’t get on with either of them. I suppose maybe played in a group it’s more fun but I just end up either getting caught by the formers dodginess or the latter’s clunkiness and having no fun.

    • Janichsan says:

      What’s this “PUBG” you are talking about? How do you even pronounce that? “Pube-guh”?

      • Yglorba says:

        They’re talking about plunkbat, I assume.

        • Janichsan says:

          What a weird way to abbreviate that name. There isn’t even a “G” in “Plunkbat”.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      I feel the exact same way about MOBAs. I can’t understand how anyone can find clicking around a single RTS unit with a hotbar is interesting, or why anyone would leave their house to watch someone else play it. I’m sure there’s a lot of skill involved in it, there’s a lot of skill involved in whittling but that doesn’t make it exciting.

    • doodler says:

      I’ve been loving the PUBG games lately but mainly because I like to play them stealthy. They are one of the first games to be a true stealth game in the sense that if someone sees you then they’re not going to forget you exist 30 seconds later like guards in games. Makes for some fantastic hide and seek. I bounced off fortnite as it was very difficult to get groups to work consistently and it isn’t as exciting as a hide and seek game like PUBG solos.
      Surviv.io is arguably the greatest ripoff ever and they just added duos with squads to be added soon. A browser based game has no right to be this fun.

    • OmNomNom says:

      People enjoy the suspense i think. Fine for a few games but the camper playstyle is zzz.
      That said, sniper classes are forever popular in many online shooters too.

  7. drewski says:

    Epic to rename themselves FortniteBR Studios in a year, I suppose.

    I like the genre, but just how it’s managing to basically take over the entirety of gaming is a little baffling to me.

    • fish99 says:

      It isn’t.

      • Janichsan says:

        Just wait a little. Just like with MOBAs some time back, everyone and their mom will release a Plunkbat clone or variant in the next few years.