This week, City State Entertainment announced a new game. The thing is, City State were kinda supposed to still be working on Camelot Unchained, a reimagining of fort-fightin' MMORPG Dark Age Of Camelot. It only rocketed past its two million dollars crowdfunding target a whole seven years ago. But with no release in sight for the long-awaited castle-crasher, CSE is offering its new game to backers for free, insisting its development is a vital part of building Camelot's massively multiplayer keep.
Design chief Mark Jacobs took to a YouTube stream this week to announce Final Stand: Ragnarok (or Ragnarok: Colossus, or simply Colossus), City State's brand new smash 'em up (cheers, Eurogamer). The DAoC and Warhammer: Online vet is still going for massive battles, but Ragnarok is set to be an entirely PvE affair - slaughtering thousands of AI foes and defending towers on a huge battlefield. From the gameplay shown, it looks rather Smite-y, but with way more mooks to smash.
It is also, notably, not Camelot Unchained. (Gameplay demo kicks off at roughly 1:27:00)
In the entire three-hour stream, very little info is given on the long-suffering MMO. Jacobs does occasionally mention how the development of Ragnarok: Colossus - which began last July - has assisted with CU's matchmaking and server stability. Speaking to MassivelyOP, Jacobs notes that Colossus has been a vital part in keeping Camelot funded.
"Without the push on Colossus, we wouldn’t have gotten the additional investment in CSE from our investors, which was used, in part, to expand the team significantly. That, in turn, resulted in work that will speed up the remainder of CU’s development, as well as add things that weren’t planned for CU at launch."
Despite Camelot's development starting far enough in the past that RPS co-founder and current robot-wrangler Jim Rossignol covered it for us, Jacobs reckons Ragnarok will still hit release before Camelot. It's still not an MMO, for one, and Jacobs told MassivelyOP that there's still plenty of work to do on the technical side of Camelot. Namely, converting the entire server back-end to Linux, something Jacobs insists "had to happen".
"By completing things like Linuxification now, we’re saving [the backers] from having to have patience in CU’s development months from now. As I’ve said to the Backers who have been helping us test, Linuxification had to happen either way, and would it have been better for it to happen when more of the game was developed? I think that most of them would have been more frustrated."
That's probably a bummer for folks who've been waiting for the DAoC successor for nearly a decade. And, as someone who poured too many hours into Mythic's ill-fated successor, Warhammer Online, I kinda get it. Those games had a tremendous thing going on - even if it was kinda janky and required ludicrous numbers of players to be online in the same place at the same time.
Jacobs seems really sold on the idea of offering an extra game to CU fans, with CSE are offering a free copy of Ragnarok to Camelot backers. But they're also claiming to refund anyone who's had enough of this and wants to cut their losses.