Bossa Studios have announced plans to cancel Worlds Adrift, the sandbox MMO where players can build their own airship and own aerial island, and shut it down in July. It hasn't even left early access. The servers will close and the game will become unplayable. Their reasoning is fairly straightforward: the game is kinda eh so it's not selling enough for the company to continue development. Folks who bought the game within the past month will be offered a refund, while older players will not. The end of the sky is nigh.
"The challenges that came with our ambitious project meant that all our work went into making the game work rather than making it the experience we wanted it to be," Bossa said in a statement on the game's site. "As a result we failed at making a game that could capture the imaginations of millions. Creating an MMO like Worlds Adrift is a huge financial commitment and unfortunately the game is just no longer commercially viable."
They're pulling the plug on a yet-unconfirmed date in July, taking the game down forever. Its wee free standalone Island Creator will still work for people who want to tinker with building their dream skylands (it's still available on Steam), though of course they won't be able to bring them into the game.
People who bought Worlds Adrift on Steam between April 29th and today's announcement will be offered a refund. Anyone who bought cosmetic stuff from the in-game store since it was added in December will be refunded those particular purchases. And people who bought in early as Founders will be offered free copies of Bossa's I Am Bread and Surgeon Simulator.
Bossa are still working on several other games. This is not the end for them, though it's not a positive sign.
And... that's it for Worlds Adrift. Early access games die all the time, and anyone buying an unfinished game should be prepared for it to end up quite different or not end up anything, but it's surprising for a company as (relatively) big as Bossa. I would not expect that from them, especially when they have a track record of scrapping games early on if not enough people care. I suppose many people were initially swept up in the potential of Worlds Adrift, our former Adam (RPS in peace) included. And it was also a surprise when Double Fine ditched Spacebase DF-9 despite their size. The lesson to take away is: bad things will happen to everything you've ever loved.
Our most recent long look at Worlds Adrift was, eerily, exactly one year ago today. Fraser Brown Premature Evaluation liked bits but didn't see how it would all come together:
"I'm not really convinced by Worlds Adrift the MMO. The freewheeling aviation adventure? That I absolutely dig. I can lose days to it. It's become my happy place, where I can look at pretty islands and not worry about the weird rattling noise that's coming from my bathroom. I don't even mind losing my life to the occasional workplace accident. I'm not bemoaning that it's multiplayer, either. It's perfectly suited for it, particularly co-op. It’s at the big picture stuff, or lack thereof, where it loses me. On the entirely made-up and possibly confusing scale of Eve Online to Sea Of Thieves, it’s definitely much closer to Rare's oddly limited piratical romp."
While Sea Of Thieves has perked up a lot since its barebones launch, including adding story adventures, Worlds Adrift has evidently not drawn and kept the players it needed.
Ahead of the shutdown, Bossa are making all microtransaction cosmetic doodads free for all players to wear.