Epic to shut down struggling MOBA Paragon in April

Paragon

I’d always gotten the impression that Paragon – Epic’s hybrid third-person shooter/MOBA hybrid – was maintaining a decently sized playerbase, even if it wasn’t keeping up with the likes of Smite, so this comes as a bit of a surprise.

Epic Games have announced their plans to close down the game on April 26th, and are offering full and direct refunds to anyone who put money down on it.

While no official reason is given for their plans to wrap the game up early, return whatever money was taken and move on, if you’ll allow me a little speculation, I could hazard an educated guess: Epic’s increasingly successful Fortnite with its Battle Royale mode is one of the few games competing with Bluehole’s smash hit Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.

Public numbers show Plunkbat is being played more actively than the next top ten games on Steam combined, while Epic themselves have boasted that Fortnite (presumably mostly its free-to-play Battle Royale side) has seen more than 45 million players across all platforms. Paragon launched into a crowded and already-cooling MOBA market but with Fortnite they struck while the iron is hot and found their niche. Still, the studio have only a finite amount of manpower to go around and only one mega-successful game to dedicate that manpower to. As such, it’s almost certainly a safer bet for the studio to consolidate manpower on Fortnite than continue pouring time and money into a less popular game.

This wouldn’t be the only case of Epic reshuffling staff, either. Their community-led Unreal Tournament reboot seems to have slowed its development to a crawl, and a developer post to the official Unreal Tournament Discord (as repeated here on Epic’s forums) in August confirmed that most UT staff were assigned to other games.

Old-school arena shooters just aren’t pulling the crowds like they used to, and while on a purely pragmatic level I can understand Epic’s decision (assuming my conjecture is on the mark), but I can’t help but wish they’d give their other, less-hyper-profitable games a little love, too. Capitalism, eh? A fool’s game.

At least they’re not taking the money and running. As mentioned, Epic are offering full refunds on Paragon across all platforms, and give instructions for claiming your money back on their official site here. A rare move for any company – good on them.

18 Comments

  1. Freud says:

    Paragone

    • Edgewise says:

      I liked your bon mot and relayed it to a friend who works for Epic. Apparently it was already a running joke there.

    • Captain Narol says:

      Also : Epic Fail !

  2. Anti-Skub says:

    I haven’t been following Paragon closely enough to have any idea how well it was doing, but having played it in all it’s banal mediocrity, the news that it’s hanging around till April is the surprise for me.

  3. mitthrawnuruodo says:

    Yes. Lets all pay for more multiplayer exclusives! The future of videogaming.

  4. Merus says:

    I don’t know if the world needed another MOBA – they are very specific kinds of games, despite being wildly popular, and it’s hard to fix their glaring flaws without making something decidedly lesser.

    • mitrovarr says:

      That’s the problem with all of these multiplayer exclusives – the market only seems to have room for one really successful product in any given genre, and maybe a couple of less successful but surviving games. Most new entries just fail utterly and die fast. Witness how many dead hero shooters Overwatch has left in its wake.

      I think it’s because multiplayer games rely on a community to be good, so people are heavily drawn to what is already popular. And people don’t want to play more than one or two in a genre because a lot of the fun is getting good at them, and spreading yourself around too much would preclude that.

      • KidWithKnife says:

        Pretty much. The MOBA genre seems to be somewhat unique in that it’s been able to support a surprising number of successful games at one time, but evidently it’s not THAT unique.

  5. KidWithKnife says:

    Shame, I tried Paragon and wasn’t that into it but I had held out hope that it would shape up into something more fun. The simple fact of it being cross-platform was pretty appealing to me. Them’s the breaks, I guess.

    • Ghostwise says:

      At least they have a moneymaker they can redeploy people on instead of sacking everybody and their mouse.

  6. Tritagonist says:

    I played it for a few evenings, trying different heroes. I thought it was quite fun – but the map was all sorts of dull. Then I went to the forum and was pleased to see there was a large thread about new maps. Much to my surprise, the initial suggestion was followed by page after page of people shouting, mocking, belittling and being generally unpleasant towards the poster for even so much as daring to suggest a MOBA could do with another map.

    If that was the environment in which the game was supposed to become better – I’m not surprised it didn’t.

  7. Enko says:

    Maybe one of the best looking MOBAs out there. By far.

    I was completely confused by their card system. It was being different for the sake of being different. I though it would have been a lot more fun with standard Dota-like item system.

    Hope they reuse all those assets and characters. Its a masterpiece of UE4 art.

    • Don Reba says:

      How can something be one of the best by far? You are saying it belongs to the group of the best-looking games, but this is a qualitative attribute, not quantitative. It’s like saying “he was by far a member of the Beatles.”

      The best by far I would understand. Or would have understood, if it was not for the “maybe”.

      • Enko says:

        Best looking MOBAs by far. As in, there is a lot of distance between it and others behind it.

        I don’t know what you’re having difficulty with here.

  8. NuclearSword says:

    Not a fan of lane pushers or Epic (ever since they shut down that incredibly promising “Project Nano”/”Blueprint” to pursue their current strategy of service based garbage quickly slapped together to capitalize on fads), but I’m genuinely surprised that they didn’t try releasing on Steam or Xbox before shutdown.

    Sure, an Xbox version may have required some (relatively) serious work to actually port over, but just letting it loose from their dumb, proprietary launcher and into the hands of a SIZABLE AUDIENCE could’ve done the business on the PC. Or not, I don’t really care. I just don’t like the precedent that they’re really freakin’ sticking to their guns with that thing. It’s the reason that sweet-looking, modder-created Unreal Tournament is so… never in the spotlight.

    Paragon is a neat tech demo though. They should let all those assets loose into the UE4 Marketplace. Let other devs put some of ’em into, y’know, good games. Not lane pushers. Be a shame to just let ’em disappear into the aether…

    • Hoot says:

      The other reason the UT remake is dead is that it’s bad. Years in this “community development” hell has ensured that. I mean we’re talking years. What was their mandate? Just chip in the odd asset here and there when you have the time? For no money? Stake through the heart of any game right there.

      Thank the All-Father that Quake Champions exists, is playable (basically finished despite the EA tag) and more importantly, is awesome.

  9. Urthman says:

    I heard they’re going to try relaunching with a sassier version called “Renegade.”

  10. moe mo says:

    Never heard of it. SMITE I’ve at least seen. I thought Epic were capable of marketing.