Despite being one of the first on the battle royale block, even going free-to-play hasn’t been enough to save The Culling. Developers Xaviant have announced that the lights go out on their dystopian game show-themed survival shooter on May 15th. It’s been a rough year for the studio, with The Culling 2 announced, released and shut down due to lack of player interest within a three month span. They were hoping to re-launch the original game as free-to-play and have future development supported through in-app purchases. Sadly, it just didn’t work out that way.
While Xaviant are unable to further support The Culling, in their shutdown announcement they do mention that they’d be interested in passing the game on to another team. Even if it was adopted by fans, I’m always happy to see a game saved from complete oblivion, considering the countless hours of effort that went into producing the game. That, and game preservation being important. In most cases such projects are unofficial and unsanctioned by the original developers or publishers – this could be one of the few cases where the game passes to a new crew amicably.
When the servers do go offline, the game’s offline modes (including training with bots) will remain playable, but the multiplayer core will be no more. Xaviant plan on shutting down the in-game store pages before that, so as to prevent any grief that could arise from buying virtual clothes in a game where nobody will ever see them again.
It’s a shame to see The Culling closing its doors, as being one of the first experimental games in the genre, it had a feel all of its own and was much more heavily melee-focused than its successors. It also had smaller match sizes – only 16 players per round. The Culling 2 moved away from that and towards a more modern sandbox shooter style, which may have contributed to its botched launch.
The Culling remains free-to-play for its twilight few weeks, and you can find it here on Steam. The servers will remain available for just under two months, and finally go offline on May 15th.