Just over a year ago I wrote about a series of Daybreak rumors that had been posted to Reddit by an alleged disgruntled former employee who had just been laid off. The original Reddit post has since been scrubbed. No doubt somebody was reminded about their NDA, an action which I think actually adds more credence to the whole thing.
Anyway, as I said then, we could not measure the veracity of the claims, so all we could do is watch and see what came to pass. Forward looking rumors based on plans of the moment have an expiration date and, generally, the further time moves along the less likely they are to match reality.
Fortunately a year ago I had the foresight to record these rumors before they were disappeared. Back then I ordered them by how much each particular rumor meant to me, which put EverQuest things at the top and H1Z1 at the bottom. This time around I am going to sort them into baskets based on accuracy. So let’s take a look at what happened over the past year.
Came to Pass
These are the items that I think arguably happened. Maybe not exactly as stated, but close enough to count.
Just Survive is on its last legs. Several ideas for increasing profits have been floated around but at this point it looks like a sunset is most likely.
I don’t think this was much of a surprise. I believe I had predicted this for 2018. There was some talk about maybe finding a way to keep it going, but in the end it was shut down.
Planetside 3 is in early development. Other teams will be siphoned into this project next year. This will be a team based battle royal game that combines the building aspect of Fortnite with territory acquisition.
While it is called PlanetSide Arena and not PlanetSide 3, I think that otherwise came to pass. They may have been calling it PlanetSide 3 internally at that point. Lord knows I’ve been through product name changes late in development cycles, which is why you don’t create file names with the product name in them.
Maybe Sort Of
These are the items that seemed to have come to pass, but the details given were off by enough that maybe something changed, or maybe the person predicting had incomplete or out of date information.
H1Z1 will get a smaller map as well as a remake of “Z1”. The PS4 port is looking good. After that new skins will continue to be released but most of the team will be moved over to Planetside 3.
I am pretty sure this came to pass. As with the previous mention, PlanetSide 3 became PlanetSide Arena. H1Z1 also clearly got its Z1 remake as well, except on the PlayStation 4, where it remains H1Z1. However failing to mention NantWorks and NantG Mobile, essentially another company taking over development, at least lowers the accuracy score for this one a bit. And certainly anybody left at Daybreak working on the PC version of H1Z1 ended up on other projects. That the NantG Mobile thing failed with Z1 is beside the point.
Planetside 2 was supposed to be getting new character models and animations in May. A new map and an aircraft carrier are planned for the end of the year.
I am pretty sure this came to pass for the most part. PlanetSide 2 got new stuff. I just don’t care enough to go figure out if this is exactly what happened.
These are items that I believe straight up did not come to pass. Whether they were never planned or circumstances changed I cannot tell, but a year down the road they just seem at odds with reality.
Everquest will have one last expansion. The 20th anniversary will introduce a series of nostalgic raids that tie into complex quests. These quests can be done in order to grant alternate characters powerful scaling weapons.
This was at the top of the “matters to me” list. EverQuest being put in maintenance mode would have been a blow. And perhaps that was the plan over a year ago. However, with the EverQuest 20th anniversary and statements from Holly Longdale, any plans along those lines appear to have been overthrown. It looks like we will be getting expansions and updates and special servers to farm nostalgia for some time to come according to her.
Everquest 2 will also have one last expansion and eventually a similar series of send-off weapon quests and raids.
As with EverQuest, it seems like this has not come to pass. If nothing else we already have confirmation of another expansion for EverQuest II. There was enough ambiguity in the whole thing that I did wonder at the time if the person meant the expansion for this year would be the last, but since we will have two expansions announced since this tidbit dropped I am going to call it wrong for now.
Of course, we did not get as much warm and fuzzy from Holly about EverQuest II as we did EverQuest. EverQuest II just doesn’t have the same sense of history or nearly the same large fan base to be farmed for nostalgia dollars. But I think it is good for now, and maybe Holly will talk up what I have referred to as the “Prince Charles” of MMORPGs (ever in the shadow of the Queen Elizabeth that is EverQuest) when its fifteen year anniversary hits later this year.
I Just Do Not Know
And then we have we have the item about which we cannot say much.
Everquest 3 has been back in development for a year and is being rebuilt from the ground up. It aims to compete with Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and to be the first fantasy MMORPG to put an emphasis on team battle royal PvP.
I have heard rumors of various incarnations of a new Norrath game since they put a bullet in EverQuest Next. It was supposed to be a small co-op RPG at one point. At others it was going to be just an updated EverQuest. Making a Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen competitor seems plausible I suppose, though that seems like Daybreak really setting its sites low in the market.
The whole “emphasis on team battle royal PvP” seems like an abomination to me, but I guess in a world where Fortnite is king of course they want to put battle royale in all the things. Of course, this was back when they thought they could revive H1Z1 by renaming it Z1 Battle Royale and before they pushed off the launch of PlanetSide Arena by six months or so. So perhaps “more battle royale” has all the impact of “more cowbell” in San Diego at this point.
And then there is Holly Longdale, who seems to represent the faction that won the ideological war over what EverQuest franchise should be. As part of the 20th anniversary she had some words about EverQuest Next and any possible new EverQuest game.
So there we go. A bit of it was spot on. Some of it was close. And a few were off the reservation or unknowable. Not an unexpected set of results. Actually pretty decent so far as predictions go, at least when compared to my own. And, as I noted, what was posted on Reddit may have reflected the plans as the person last heard them which may have changed over time as plans do.