Just Survive Doesn’t

Daybreak Games announced today that the rather aptly named game Just Survive won’t survive though to the end of the year.  It is set to close down on October 24, 2018, after which it will be just another entry on the list of SOE/Daybreak games that once were.

The night is dark, I think I’ll go to bed

The message from Daybreak, quoted here since the site it is on will no doubt disappear with the game itself.

Dear Survivors,

After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to sunset Just Survive on Wednesday, October 24 at 11 a.m. PT. The excitement of the game’s promise was palpable and its loyal community is still full of ideas for its future. Unfortunately, we are no longer in a position to fulfill its greatness and the current population of the game makes it untenable to maintain.

Just Survive was part of our first Early Access project, and we learned a great deal during its development. As with any open world game, the greatest stories came from our passionate players. From the incredibly skilled base builders to the free-ranging gangs, and all of the players named variations of “ImFriendly” and “PleaseDontShootMe”, we hope everyone had amazing adventures across Pleasant Valley and Badwater Canyon.

Thank you for taking the time to play the game, to help test it when we opened the Test servers to the public, and for all of the suggestions and feedback throughout Early Access. We truly appreciate everyone’s commitment and your contributions throughout the development process. Our promise is to do better and learn from every experience along the way.

Just Survive servers will remain available for play until Wednesday, October 24 at 11 a.m. PT, and starting immediately all Steam purchases and in-game transactions have been disabled. To find out if you are eligible for a refund via Steam, please visit this link.

Thank you again for your support and dedication to Just Survive.

Best,

The Just Survive Team at Daybreak Games

The original game, built up from PlanetSide 2, rolled up under the H1Z1 name back at the beginning, was announced back in April of 2014 with the bizarre promise that this zombie apocalypse, horror survival title was “dedicated to Star Wars Galaxies players.”   I know some people still trying to figure that last bit out.  The details about the game, available at that link, at first included the idea of it being free to play and available to SOE All Access subscribers.  Indeed.

H1Z1 went into Early Access in January of 2015 to much acclaim.

Okay, maybe not.  It was a bit of a disaster, not helped by then CEO Smed forgetting that gamers can’t take a joke… or that you shouldn’t insult your customer base quite so brazenly… or something.  Anyway, it brought up the whole idea of what we should expect out of paid early access and went some way, along with Landmark, towards setting the poor reputation the concept has.  It got Polygon to declare if a company was charging for a game then it was fair to review it as it stood.

Smed was also out there telling people it wasn’t an MMO despite the fact that the company web site said it was.  Get your stories straight and all of that.

I kind of miss Smed for quotes alone.  You never got Russ Shanks on Twitter after Smed was gone.

Anyway, as we were to soon lean, SOE was about to be split from Sony and become Daybreak Games, so rushing the title out the door was probably part of the plan to please the new masters in San Diego.

As time went on the game got better.  I went and played it a bit with people from the Reavers SIG from the Imperium in EVE Online.  It was clearly a game for groups, but it had its moments.

You use your clothes to make a bag right away, because inventory management!

There was even some bonus items for signing up through the then-branded TheMittani.com.

The machete was the clincher

However, the Battle Royale option that was put into the game became the hit aspect of the whole thing, the driving force that sold something like a million copies of the game and kicked off the whole Battle Royale genre.

When it became obvious where the money was for the title, the Battle Royale portion was split off into its own game, giving us two titles, H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Kill. 

There was some later work on those titles, with the former becoming Just Survive and the latter going through some gyrations before returning to just H1Z1.

You missed one I think…

While H1Z1 has ridden some highs, first dominating then losing the Battle Royale market to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, then getting a boost again on the PlayStation 4… if only you’d stayed with Sony… the other side of the house appeared to be struggling to live up to its name.  Just Survive was mostly a black hole of information.  I pegged it to be declared in “maintenance mode” by the end of this year while some wild rumors from earlier this year said it was on its last legs.

During that time H1Z1 finally went liveJust Survive never made it there.

And here we are today.  I was a bit too optimistic in my prediction.  How can you tell when something at Daybreak is in maintenance mode after all?  The traditional cycle there, carried over from the SOE days, is moments of enthusiasm followed by long, long stretches of dead silence.

Daybreak Games now has the following titles:

  • EverQuest (1999)
  • EverQuest II (2004)
  • DC Universe Online (2011)
  • PlanetSide 2 (2012)
  • H1Z1 (2015)

Those titles are all effectively SOE era work.  There have been improvements and expansions onto consoles and the like, but there hasn’t really been anything new in the Daybreak era.   Not much of a legacy after almost four years.

And so it goes.

Other sites covering this closure:

3 thoughts on “Just Survive Doesn’t

  1. Bhagpuss

    I’ve still never gotten around to playing H1Z1. Don’t suppose I’ll bother now. On the other hand, five MMOs seems like plenty for any company to me. I know they will need a new product at some point (sooner rather than later) but I think we already know the old SOE model of adding new games and never closing any of them is unsustainable.

    I also can’t help but think this makes the idea that both EverQuest games are going to move into official maintenance mode this year, with no further expansions, less rather than more likely. Unless, that is, they really do have a new EQ project ready to announce (and get people to pay for). In which case, following the experience of both SOE and most other MMO companies, they probably would want to draw a very clear line between the old Norrath games and the new.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Certainly there was very little surprise factor when it came to this announcement. And yes, unless they have something very grand to announce soon for the Norrath side of the house, I expect business as usual whatever the rumors were.

    If this were Blizzard I would expect a new product announcement next week. That is the one-two punch that hides the bad news by giving you something better to talk about. But Daybreak isn’t Blizzard.

    Finally, here in the post MMORPG peak era, a company having and surviving off of three MMORPGs and a pair of shooters… after all, that is the essence of PlanetSide 2 and all that H1Z1 really is… with no new games in site does feel like an unsustainable situation. MMORPGs need resources and I’ve been down the road where you have to decide to either keep lavishing attention on your cash cow, which then starves new products, or let the cash cow languish a bit to invest in something new with may not pay off.

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