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Orcs Must Die! Unchained and Hero Academy shutting down April

Free-to-play defend-o-shooter Orcs Must Die! Unchained and both games in Robot Entertainment’s turn-based Hero Academy series are set to close their doors this April. In an apologetic letter to players, CEO Patrick Hudson explains that the games simply cost more to run than they make back in return. The studio itself doesn’t seem to be in immediate danger, with Robot currently working on two new games that they plan to unveil later this year. Account registration for the games should end soon, but the last few Unchained players will find themselves with a sack of currency to spend over these final three months.

It’s sad to see another decent free-to-play game go down, but it’s not a massive surprise in the case of Orcs Must Die Unchained. In its original form, it was intended to be a third-person MOBA-like with trap building elements. While not a terrible idea on paper, and Philippa Warr quite liked it in her early play-around four years ago, it wasn’t really what fans of the earlier games wanted.  The game was later rebooted as something more in line with the solo and co-op styled earlier games in the series, but it never really drew the crowds back.

It’s a real shame in the case of OMD! Unchained, as I really feel it had evolved into a decent successor to the first two Orcs Must Die games. Unfortunately without a major PR push, you only get one chance to make first impressions. As for the Hero Academy games, they were always a mobile-focused series. Unfortunately audience numbers had dwindled to the point that it wasn’t even worth updating the original game for newer versions of iOS, and it was pulled from the App Store in 2018. The card-based sequel only launched last year, too, but never caught on.

There’s three months left in Orcs Must Die! Unchained and Hero Academy yet, although sign-ups for new players will be closing at some point between now and when the lights go out on April 8th. Active players of Unchained are due to receive “a substantial free grant of hard and soft currencies” to make those last weeks memorable. Don’t spend it all in one place – or do, if you like.

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Dominic Tarason

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