Is Darkpaw Games the New Future of EverQuest?

Addendum Jan 21, 2020: Yes it is!

As tends to happen, somebody out on the internet spotted that Daybreak Games has a pair of trademark filings listed with the US Patent and Trademark Office that suggest the company might be breaking up.

Daybreak up studios?

If you go to the USPTO site and search on “Darkpaw Games” (which sort of sounds like “Daybreak Games” if you mumble it) and “Rogue Planet Games” (RPG as an acronym surely won’t cause confusion anywhere), you will find a filing for each from Daybreak.

The Darkpaw Games entry, click on it to make legible

For whatever reason… likely to make one or both properties more saleable to another company or investment group, but it could be other reasons… Daybreak Games looks to be dividing the company into two parts, and it isn’t a stretch to guess which games will end up under a given brand.

Darkpaw Games, doubtless a reference to the famed gnoll who is forever assaulting the gates of Qeynos, or at least to the Darkpaw clan from which he came, looks to be the future home of the EverQuest brand and any future branches of the Norrath related properties.  Basically, EverQuest and EverQuest II go here.

Fippy Awaits Your Arrival

Meanwhile, Rogues Planet Games, something of a space theme, gets the other titles, which include PlanetSide 2, PlanetSide Arena, Z1 Battle Royale, H1Z1 (which is what the PS4 version is still called), and DC Universe Online.

I thought a bit about where DCUO might end up, since it is an MMORPG like the EverQuest games.  But the fact that it runs on the PS4 and XBox One (and soon on the Nintendo Switch) made me decide that it has to go with Rogue Planet Games.  I am sure the Darkpaw Games crew, which is exclusively Windows oriented with the EverQuest properties, doesn’t want that console baggage.

So what does this mean for the two new studios and the games they serve?

I think it will be business as usual for Darkpaw Games.  We heard lots of upbeat comments from Holly Longdale and other members of what I call the “Norrath Traditionalist Faction” who, among other things, quashed EverQuest Next, about how well the Norrath games are doing and, on the EverQuest front at least, the player count and revenues have been up since they began to concentrate in earnest on nostalgia and special servers.  There was a bit of hubris in there, but it otherwise seemed to conform to what we see from the outside.

One does wonder if the shut down of Player Studio in those two games was part of the traditionalist faction plan or just a deck clearing activity to prepare for this eventuality.

What seems less likely in the future of this Darkpaw Games plan is a new game set in Norrath.  The setup seems similar to the Standing Stone Games scenario where the two solid titles were spun out to be milked for as long as possible, but where there looks to be no expectation of new development.  This will be good news for the EverQuest and EverQuest II fan base, as they can expect even more focus on their products, but it you were waiting for EverQuest 3 you may be out of luck.

For the Rogue Planet Games side of the house the future seems somewhat less certain, at least from my perspective.  DCUO remains solid and was, at least a few years back, the best earning MMORPG in the catalog thanks largely to PlayStation players.  Likewise, H1Z1 on the PS4 seems sustainable, or did at one point.  PlanetSide 2 has been dodgy over the years, with Daybreak coming out and saying as much back in 2015.  Maybe that has changed.  It is also on the PS4 now.  Also, it still has Player Studio support… for the moment.

PlanetSide Arena is an unknown.  It was pushed out to a summer release back in February, and there is still some summer left, but the lack of news about it… always a red flag from back in the SOE days… makes me wonder how it stands.

And then there is Z1 Battle Royale, what was once the PC version of H1Z1.  It was handed over to a joint venture between Daybreak and NantWorks with all sorts of esports hoopla, then handed back to Daybreak seven months later after the joint venture failed to make much of the game.

In the game of Kiss, Marry, Kill here, I think you kiss PlanetSide Arena, go full polygamist and marry everything that has made it onto the PS4, and kill Z1 Battle Royale on the PC… and maybe everything else on the PC and just specialize in console games maybe?

There may be contractual issues with that.  The company may be required to keep DCUO on the PC due to their deal with DC Comics.  And maybe some of the PC versions are worth the effort.  But Z1 Battle Royale, that feels like it will be dead before the year is out no matter what happens.  It has certainly been getting the silent treatment of late… though you could say that about most things at Daybreak lately.

You might ask “What about mobile?” That was previously mentioned as a destination for both H1Z1 and EverQuest.  I have no idea on that front, but I suspect that plan is in the dumpster for now.

And none of this may come to pass.  The company has previously applied for trademarks that it never ended up using, which you can still find on the USPTO site.

At least two of these didn’t happen, right?

Either way the long tale of the makers of EverQuest carries on, and at least the game that started it all seems likely to keep going.  Like Fippy Darkpaw, it just keeps coming at you… sometimes pointlessly, with a shouted announcement and bad follow up… but it persists all the same.

Other coverage:

5 thoughts on “Is Darkpaw Games the New Future of EverQuest?

  1. bhagpuss

    Heh! We both used the same picture of Fippy taken from the internet, I think, though mine is cropped. I have several of my own I could have used but could I find any of them?

    Two days ago I’d have said none of those three titles was ever used but as of yesterday I know that two of them were. I somehow managed to miss the trilogy of single-player games produced under license for SOE by for the Pocket PC. They are still available, after a fashion, and I have vague plans to attempt to play them some day.

    The Demise of Aradune sounds almost like a joke title. I did wonder if it was some kind of in-house gag but i imagine Trademark applications cost money so presumably it was intended to be used for something. I can’t find any sign that it was, though.

    As for which games go where, there’s also the possibility that Daybreak Games will carry on as well and some will stay there. I wondered if Rogue Planet would be just the Planetside franchise, Darkpaw EQ and everything else would just stay with DBG (and the still-mysterious NantWorks).

    The shutdown of Player Studio is neither here nor there for me. I never bought a single thing from it. It was all cosmetics and housing items and if there’s one thing EQ doesn’t need it’s more of either of those. It had a good run and was more successful than I expected when it was announced years ago. I imagine the costs of administering it had outweighed the income it generated for some while. Seems like another sensible cost-cuttign move to me. It’s DBG’s willingness to take these actions when necessary that makes them better custodians of the legacy than SOE usually were, in my opinion.

    Just waiting for the next phase now to see how all of this pans out. Of course, like The demise of Arudune, those trademarks may never be used for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bhagpuss

    Also, as an addendum, I notice we missed last year’s filing for a TM for “Bronze Age Games”, which as M:OP points out could fit DCUO. Also there’s now a filing for new LLC under the name Daybreak Games Studios. Curioser and curioser…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I saw that this morning as well and linked it at the end of the post. Indeed, one does wonder what Daybreak and/or Jason Epstein are up to. I assume they aren’t just trying to keep their corporate counsel busy, though they may be tossing in some extras as backups, just in case somebody shows up out of the blue to object to one of their filings.

    On the flip side, “Bronze Age Studios” was filed for a year and a half ago, so that might have been a different plan. I’m sticking with my current split prediction.

    We will see soon enough I guess. Bree was only half joking when she said we ought to expect a Friday afternoon press release. That is the Daybreak MO for news, good or bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Developer Appreciation: Verant Interactive/Sony Online Entertainment - Where The Monsters Are

Comments are closed.