Free-to-play squad tactics game Atlas Reactor is the next on 2019's already dark-stained chopping block. Announced today, Trion Worlds have shut off all premium purchasing options in the game, and made everything available through play until the servers shut down on June 28th. They're straightforward and candid about the reason for shutting it down, saying that "Despite the support of this great group of fans, Atlas Reactor never grew big enough to fund its continued development". It's always sad to see another game go dark, especially one as distinct as this.
I only got the chance to play a few rounds of Atlas Reactor before this announcement, and hope to sneak in a little more play before they pull the plug. It's a clever little thing - Overwatch meets XCOM, with a dash of Frozen Synapse. Turn-based combat, but both players issue commands to their entire team at once, forcing you to think several steps ahead and try to predict your opponent's moves and attacks. It's intense and demanding stuff, which may go some way to explaining its lack of success, but it was a genuinely good bit of strategy fun.
It has been a rough year for Trion Worlds. The half-hearted relaunch of Defiance was followed not long after by a buyout from mobile publisher Gamigo and massive layoffs across the company. Only a few people were left at the studio, likely torpedoing development plans for their stable of games. Atlas Reactor is the first to fall, and I worry that Trove, ArcheAge, Rift and Defiance might not have long left. I'd love to be wrong, though. I've enjoyed Trion's games a lot over the years, and Rift in particular felt like a decent World Of Warcraft competitor for a while.