Well, that didn’t take long.
Just a couple weeks back I was on the Couch Podtatoes Podcast where we were talking about Daybreak’s first year. Izlain and I were both very happy with how things seemed to be going with the classic Norrath team, EverQuest and EverQuest II. They seemed to have had a great first year, even with a couple of initial stumbles.
However, we were both concerned about EverQuest Next. We hadn’t heard anything about it lately. Certainly nothing of note had come up since I marked the passing of the five year anniversary of the title’s initial announcement back in September.
Well, the silence is over. Just a few days shy of EverQuest’s 17th anniversary, Daybreak has a post up from Russell Shanks, the President of Daybreak Games, announcing the demise of EverQuest Next. Quoted for posterity:
To Our Daybreak Community,
I’m writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.
For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.
For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we – and all of you – have for the worlds of Norrath.
The future of the EverQuest franchise as a whole is important to us here at Daybreak. EverQuest in all its forms is near and dear to our hearts. EverQuest and EverQuest II are going strong. Rest assured that our passion to grow the world of EverQuest remains undiminished.
President, Daybreak Games
And so it goes.
EverQuest Next follows The Agency into SOE history, games that were shown and hyped and which got people excited, but which never got there.
The irony here is that I could swear at one point that Smed said, after the launch and rather tepid response to EQII, that MMO sequels were a mistake. And yet there was EverQuest Next, a placeholder name that became the real name for the game that never was.
I know what I wanted out of it, what a lot of people wanted out of it. I wanted classic Norrath, lore and places and things I knew and loved, mixed in with some new dynamic that would make the genre feel fresh again. That’s it, just an impossibly perfect mix of the new and the unknown, the fresh and the familiar. That’s all we wanted.
And SOE seemed to be on the case at times with a story about a dynamic world and voxels and that whole Storybricks AI thing and updated stylized graphics. People were excited after a couple of those SOE Live presentations. I know I was.
Then, in that SOE way, things would go quiet, all the hype would peter out and we would be left wondering what was happening. As with The Agency, the quiet turned out to be for a reason.
So what happens now? Is this the end of the road for the classic Western PvE focused fantasy MMORPG? Is the lineage of Diku MUD dead now? Should we be happy or mourn its passing?
Because, as I mentioned in my previous post, it isn’t like EverQuest itself is gone. It and EverQuest II are still there and chugging along and keeping the core fans happy and generally refusing to die… which is part of the problem when you want to introduce a replacement. That was certainly what happened with EverQuest II. The genre may be in jeopardy, and there may now be nothing in the pipeline that really represents how we got here, but the individual MMORPG is a tough beast to kill.
So, to sum up the life of EverQuest Next, here is the tale as I have traced it over the last five and a half years:
- EverQuest Next and Lessons Learned – August 2010
- Just Forget You Ever Saw These Pictures… – June 2012
- Projecting onto EverQuest Next – July 2013
- Comparing EverQuest and EverQuest Next in Two Pictures – August 2013
- Monday Morning Talking Points for EverQuest Next – August 2013
- Can SOE Keep the EverQuest Next Excitement Going? – August 2013
- Quote of the Day – Did SOE Solve the Latency Problem? – November 2013
- My MMO Outlook for 2014 – January 2014
- Quote of the Day – For Specific Definitions of “Next” – January 2014
- Quote of the Day – Never Shutting Down EverQuest – April 2014
- SOE Live 2014 – What Are You Wishing For? – August 2014
- SOE Live – The Norrathian Front – August 2014
- EverQuest Next Lore in a Minute – October 2014
- Quote of the Day – Skepticism Blooms – February 2015
- A Vision of Norrath at Daybreak – February 2015
- EverQuest Next Five Years Down the Road – September 2015
At least I will never have to see the UI they had in mind to run the game on both Windows and PlayStation 4. Dodged that bullet. But what will I spend all that Station Cash on now?
Of course, this announcement is kind of a big deal in our little corner of the web. So here are some other people posting about the EverQuest Next news:
- Just for Crits
- Herding Cats
- Aywren Sojourner
- EQ2 Wire
- MMO Fallout
- Me vs Myself and I
- MMO Quests
- Keen and Graev
- Hardcore Casual
- Wolfshead Online
- I HAS PC
- Inventory Full
- Tales of the Aggronaut
- Murf Versus
- Endgame Viable
- Ogrebear’s Thoughts
- Bio Break
I will add more as I see them.