Daybreak has canceled EverQuest Next, Landmark is launching ‘this spring’

Daybreak has officially canceled EverQuest Next. President Russell Shanks just broke the news on the official site this afternoon:

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.

Yours truly,

Russell Shanks
President, Daybreak Games

Curiously, Shanks doesn’t mention Landmark by name, but Daybreak’s Holly Longdale quietly told forumgoers this morning that Landmark is scheduled to launch later this spring. “Landmark will be available for $9.99 USD. At this time, we do not have any plans to make Landmark free-to-play,” reads the FAQ. “There are no plans at this time to require a membership to access Landmark or include Landmark in All Access.” Daybreak has separately confirmed to Massively OP that Landmark will continue as planned.

Longdale, executive producer for EverQuest and EverQuest II, has apparently been named executive producer of Landmark as well. Landmark and (former) EverQuest Next Senior Producer Terry Michaels confimed that he’s still with the company:

Massively OP reader A Dad Supreme has pointed out that Daybreak’s game servers are suffering outages following the news, though it’s not clear why or whether the problem is related to the announcement.
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1135 comments
jakemorey
jakemorey

Class action lawsuit anyone?

MyNameIsIllegal
MyNameIsIllegal

Welp, after this MASSIVE bait and switch, getting people to buy Landmark saying it would help with EQN development, I'm not giving them another cent.

_andyfox_
_andyfox_

I went through a similar situation many years ago. Working for one of the largest and best-known UK development companies of the past 20 years, we were bought by a publisher, and within a year the offices were closed down and over 200 people laid off and scattered to the winds. Even now I have no idea why we would be bought out only to then be closed down. Big business is weird.


Bear in mind, there WAS an enormous amount of work put into EQN, and in today's digital world that is never lost. Son of storybricks, destructible landscapes, emergent AI and the beautiful art direction will turn up at some point over the next year or two I guarantee it. Perhaps in Mr Smedley's new venture...?

tobascodagama
tobascodagama

@_andyfox_ It's a strange world where terms like "acquihire" had to be invented to describe the weird, random stuff that big businesses get up to all the time.

Cyroselle
Cyroselle

Looking back on it, this little exchange seems so ironic:


MJ Guthrie
MJ Guthrie moderator

@Cyroselle Well, to be fair at that point it did still have the biggest team I think. But that obviously changed.  And since the speaker himself is gone, not like he could vouch for what the team was like later =(

Cyroselle
Cyroselle

@MJ Guthrie @Cyroselle Those are all really good points MJ. Still.. gosh... so sad. :( I hope the IP somehow finds its way into the collective hands of people that can do right by the world of Norrath.

Cyroselle
Cyroselle

Holy cow!!! 1,131 comments, I think we're gonna break Livefyre!!!

Granted, making a vast, open world sandbox game with storybricks integration and dynamic NPCs would have been difficult by any stretch of the imagination, but Landmark isn't much of a conciliatory prize, even as fun as it can occasionally be.

I'm sorry Daybreak, you're gonna have to hang onto that 'They Break Games' moniker for a little while longer. You've earned it.

Fusi
Fusi

It just goes to show, it's not easy to make a quality sandbox game.

Exzear
Exzear

TheyBreakGames.. it was so obvious with a name like that.. 

Walpurgisnacht
Walpurgisnacht

You know how when someone goes missing and the family knows that they're dead, but want the body found for closure? That is how I felt until this announcement.

FeelsBadMan
FeelsBadMan

It's funny that people aren't surprised by this happening. I remember back at massively.com, people were saying this exact thing would happen and everyone burned those people. 

Jeeshman
Jeeshman

@FeelsBadMan Exactly this. There was a thread back in the massively.com days where a ton of people said--this was in 2014 after the E3 thing--that Landmark would be out in a couple months and EQN by the end of the year.  I said that was way too optimistic and IMO it might not come out in the following year (2015).  People thought I was nuts.

Armsman
Armsman

Maybe they should sell, the existing code EQN source code to Brad McQuaid. he could then do a copy/replace of  "EverQuest: Next" with "Pantheon" and he could get that game out and please his 10 or so backers. ;)

melissaheather
melissaheather

@Armsman you're making jokes at a Wake? you're just like Jerry Seinfeld necking in the theater during "Shindler's List"! (laughing)

Armsman
Armsman

@melissaheather Hey, they may call themselves 'Daybreak' but their still basically SOE at their core (that's NOT a good thing IMO - YMMV)  and when the 'main man' (aka Smedly, who I thought was a terrible developer going all the way back to my early EQ days in 1999) bails; you know the whole thing's going to crash and burn.

melissaheather
melissaheather

I feel the need to rant and have some closure.


I think this whole experience is one that helps me grow up a little.  Yeah, me, an adult, who still needs to grow and has room to.  I put entirely too much hopes and dreams into game worlds that are 'in the making' and this is the classic example.  I loved EQ and EQ2 and the only games that ever rivaled my love for those were Galaxies and LOTRO. After 4 straight years of LOTRO I found myself burned out on the game, and even a bit burned out on Tolkien.  And I became a game nomad, going from MMO to MMO, never satisfied, never finding a home for more than 3 months or 30 levels.  STO, SWTOR, TSW, GW2, all the A-class titles, good games, but it was like the classic Queen song "Dead On Time":  "Fool, always jumping, never happy where you land."


When EQN was announced, I was ecstatic.  When I saw the reveal that Dave Georgeson made, my jaw dropped along with almost every one else's.  I embraced this idea of Landmark being the test bed for EQN and the invitation to help make the game wholeheartedly.  Most people hated the compulsory 5 minute video explanation Georgeson gave before you logged into Landmark for the first time.  Me? it gave me goosebumps.  I was receiving a debriefing from the commander of wishes and dreams.  I nodded my head in agreement and enthusiasm to the ponytailed manchild excitedly describing what was being made before our very eyes, that we were helping make with our participation and feedback.  His enthusiasm was infectious, I shared it, and it was magical to me, those 5 minutes waiting my first glimpse.


When I finally logged in and got past the rubber banding (haha), saw an interesting desert kind of canyon, walked up the hill and saw a far green country and a beautiful sunset, I burst into tears.  This was the next generation of my hopes and dreams.  This was Home. this was "going to be" the new EverQuest. And this time, I was a game testor.  I was part of it. 


They had no fiercer apostle than myself.  I was in, baby.


And then they decided through some strange doublespeak that Landmark wasn't really EQN, although from day 1 it was sold as "EverQuest Next Landmark" and I have the receipts to prove it.  But this was awkward and unexpected, and it was cold water thrown on me.  I knew it wasn't EQN, but what they were doing was waffling on this whole idea that we the Landmark players were actually helping them build EQN.  Except we were.  Except we weren't.  Of course we were. But no, this wasn't EverQuest.  Except it was.  Except it wasn't.  I blame SOE for the confusion.  Too many pikachus and non-canonical builds quickly made them realize they couldn't control Landmark to the point that it could realistically be called a test server Norrath.  So they handled that kind of poorly, and I wasn't the only one who was offended, and frankly, it just plain hurt my feelings. I had been demoted.  I wasn't an EQN testor anymore, they way it was sold to me, the reason I bought in.


And so the Great Schism occurred in the player community.  Some aggressively said we got bait-and-switched (like me), some aggressively said you were stupid for ever thinking you were part of the EQN development - although depending on how you held the game devs feet to the fire in an interview, you still were.  You just lost your title is all, or something like that.  I make no bones about feeling extremely misled from how the product was marketed, named, and sold to me, versus how it played out.  As an emotion person and player, I mounted my horse and drew my sword in the internal civil war.  It was polarizing.   Both sides apparently saw it unyieldingly one way or the other.  And I feel completely certain that SOE changed their minds, and if we were not misled, we were victims of "Um.. we can't do this... so.. let's just kinda back away from that."   Except some people either didn't watch the original reveal and how Landmark was first offered, or they just conveniently forgot and accepted this new reality as the only reality that had ever been.  I got the impression that the people who stubbornly kept saying "landmark was never EQN, you didn't buy EQN, you bought Landmark, you must be stupid", blah blah, remind me remarkably of the politburo swine from Animal Farm who keep moving the target, changing the slogans, and altering reality.  They seemingly forget that original day when EverQuest Next Landmark arrived on their PCs and the screencaps we love to make were placed in a folder named that... we've always been at war with EastAsia.  And even in this thread, I see the same old arguments that (in my opinion) have amnesia.


People warned me that SOE was bound to screw me over at some point, but they never had before, and I liked their games. I guess the epilogue is that, yeah, they finally got me before they went down.  "From hell's heart, I stab at thee."


Et tu, Sony? Et tu?


The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  I lost EQN, but I was given Black Desert Online.  It's not EverQuest with its dozen races, iconic lore and geography.. but it's a much better looking game, and it's full of its own merits.


It's kind of like bursting into tears because your stupid boyfriend dumped you for some skank.  And then a warm strong hand hands you a tissue and you look up into the eyes of the man you will eventually marry.


Yeah, this was a stupid bunch of stuff to read.  But I feel better now. 

Cyroselle
Cyroselle

@melissaheather Wow that was breathlessly and incredibly well written, and encapsulated all of my own feelings about the debacle. I was/am one of those testers, the early adopters to the dream that would never be Everquest Next. I bought the full top-tier package, downloaded the alpha and had it installed in this great little folder 'EverQuest Next Landmark' IIRC. I spent a lot of time testing new features, exploring seemingly bottomless tunnels deep in the earth, and contending with a crafting system that was at times a little more punishing than it was fun. 

But I grinned through it all, took some very nice screenshots, and waited for the day when I could play as other races.

My excitement waned in pace with the Daybreak handover, and resulting horsewater latitudes that EQN/Landmark drifted into, and actually hadn't booted it up at all in the current year.

It's like EQN died a long time ago and Daybreak had covered the coffin with a table cloth and sat at it, eating dinner on its lid pretending everything was fine and rosy.


Loved your 1984 quote with the 'we've always been at war with EastAsia'.

MJ Guthrie
MJ Guthrie moderator

@melissaheather Since I have "Beware the Ides of March" running through my head nonstop today, I had to chuckle at your "Et tu" line =D


Seems fitting.

Barachiel
Barachiel

@melissaheather how is BDO?   I've been keeping a cautious eye on it, and what I've heard has been rather mixed.  From what I just read, we may be looking for much the same thing.  

TLOGuild
TLOGuild

One thing I've learned from this is that I'm probably not going to invest any time, energy or money into any games that aren't already on the shelves (even if it's a virtual shelf).

As a day one EQ2 player, and EQ1 player since circa 2000, like many, I was very excited about EQN from the get-go, and even many years before the big SOE Live announcement where an EQ3 of some shape or form was rumoured to be in development, and apparently was in development and had already had two previous earlier incarnations scrapped.

I have to say I feel somewhat sad, frustrated and downright angry about the time and energy myself and others have wasted around this project.  But my commitment and enthusiasm as a casual MMO player and general EQ franchise fan pales in comparison to that of others.

People created websites around this game, built communities of many hundreds and indeed probably thousands of people.  I even know of at least two people from the UK who even travelled to the US (before SOE was sold to CN) to visit SOE Live a year after EQN's initial announcement (one of whom doubled up the occasion with a wedding and honeymoon) and another who travelled from the UK to SOE HQ in San Diego on an SOE open day.  And I'm certain there were many more who did similar from far and wide.

There were regular podcasts and streams, both from the developers, and fan / community ones too, not to mention endless forum discussions on many websites and platforms.  All that time, countless days, hours, weeks, months, years, all that energy invested and in some instances financial outlay invested in this disaster of a project, which extends beyond the development team itself.

Sure, nobody made anybody do anything.  But I bet you any money this whole calamity of an episode has greatly wounded the MMORPG industry, and most definitely the EQ IP / franchise and most definitely DBG. 

Someone mentioned that many gamers were projecting their dreams / wishes of the ultimate MMORPG they wish to play on to EQN / Landmark, and I was unashamedly one of those people, because the core ideas behind the project were most definitely next-gen, the thinking and vision was at the very least a great leap forward..

I believe that ambitiousness and big thinking was at least in part to ensure SOE found a buyer when Sony Japan wanted to part company with it.  You could tell when the Landmark dev team were doing the competitions for each of the various races in Landmark and how long it was taking to get through any of those that this project was in reality years away from any sort of completion.

I understand that if the game is "not fun" then you've either got to go back to the drawing board or pull the plug.  That does make sense, especially if the project has been on-going for some time.  The problem is IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE FUN, its not like SOE / DBG didn't have the time to pull it off.

EverQuest is a AAA franchise / IP, its world famous and millions have played the IP in some shape or form.  IMHO the investors should have pulled out all the stops after purchasing SOE, instead of consolidating and reducing the size of the development team considerably including key personnel with the original ideas / vision for the game to ensure that vision was brought to reality and quickly.  You have to speculate to accumulate.  But that doesn't ever appear to be CN MO it seems - moreover their MO has obviously been to make DBG profitable again ASAP - whatever the long-term damage may be - and I understand that as well.

The trouble is, I'm sad to say the EQ franchise has probably been damaged irrepairably in their hands.  Maybe the dust will settle eventually and an EQ3 of some sort will be on the cards. We can only hope, but my gut instinct tells me, just as it did a year ago, that the writing is on the wall.

melissaheather
melissaheather

@TLOGuild I realized over the weekend that the abysmal combat in Landmark is definitely not fun, and that was probably how combat was going to be in Next, and... yeah.

Cramit
Cramit

I read this yesterday while finishing a 4 day vacation and certainly upset but definitely not surprised.  It seems this game had some of the greatest ideas but never got off the ground.  Too Bad.


Although, even though I am upset, I am kinda glad that the "wowification of Everquest" was never done by this game coming out.  Glad that never happened..

KryptonianGL
KryptonianGL

TLDR.

So are they refunding EQ Next Founders for the packs they purchased? If not, I wonder if we'll see a class-action lawsuit arise from this...

...unless of course there's some sort of clause in the ToS that nobody reads. Which most certainly is the case.

In any regard, my sympathies go out to all of you that bought in. I was sooo close to doing so myself, but have been burned enough that I now always wait until I'm certain the game is launching before buying in...and even then usually wait until a week or two before the game in question launches.

syberghost
syberghost

@KryptonianGL no EverQuest Next Founders packs have ever been sold. Landmark Founders packs were sold; you have access to Landmark.


KryptonianGL
KryptonianGL

@Lethality Oh I see, thanks.

I remember looking at something on their site about a year or so ago. Could have sworn it was Next, but obviously must have been Landmark.

Regardless sympathies go out to those of you that bought Landmark as well, as I'm guessing a lot of those that bought Landmark did so to help support the creation/development of Next.

Lethality
Lethality

@ItsLorgarn @KryptonianGL @Lethality Well that was the name of the game at the time they announced it: EverQuest Next: Landmark which of course lat4er changed to Landmark. So they are really in the clear here as far as I can tell.

ItsLorgarn
ItsLorgarn

@Lethality Yep, you're completely right.

They did however, at the time, market the two games very symbiotic relationship quite heavily. I know for a fact that a lot of people "backed" them via the EQN:L founder's packs mainly for that reason. The promise to be a part of and help the development of EQN, which now isn't happening.

Again, I expect nothing to come off this, just thought it as an interesting experiment.

ItsLorgarn
ItsLorgarn

@KryptonianGL @Lethality They were marketed and sold as 'Everquest Next Landmark Founder's Pack'. (http://puu.sh/nHxxi/14e84ac7cd.jpg)

Out of curiousity I decided to email Daybreak asking for a refund. Obviously nothing will come out of it at this point but I thought it would be an interesting experiment seeing what they have to say about it.

I'll keep you guys updated on any updates worth mentioning.

tobascodagama
tobascodagama

@ItsLorgarn @Lethality I think that, if Daybreak doesn't issue refunds, there's at least the possibility of a charge of false advertising. But I'm sure the wording of the founder's pack purchase agreement is sufficiently airtight to prevent such a charge actually going anywhere.

ItsLorgarn
ItsLorgarn

@tobascodagama I'm definitely in agreement with you on that one.

While I do believe that there is a sliver of validity to the request of a refund, and I do mean the tiniest of slivers. I'm more than certain that Daybreak, and SOE before them, have had more than just their backs covered at this point.

banthasalesman
banthasalesman

That will teach me to pre-order landmark with hope that it would help fund EQ next. 

DPandaren
DPandaren

This just means there's more time for the never to be released Champions of Norrath 2.

SkyyDragonn
SkyyDragonn

Guess its officially refund request time as Landmark is Not going to launch with almost any of the previously promised features....

dragoon0705
dragoon0705

How much you want to bet they try to make some super crappy MOBA or Card game based in the Everquest universe to try and make a quick buck.... I want a refund on my LandMark purchase as I and many others only did so to help "Build Everquest Next's world" 90% of the people who bought landmark did not give 2 craps about it. They just wanted to see how the game was going to control and feel and get hyped for Next. I bet there is a class action lawsuit somewhere in all this.

DPandaren
DPandaren

@dragoon0705 Everquest already has a card game, that you can play in EQ or EQ2 and outside the game. And it already had a semi successful ARPG that people have been begging for a sequel since it's release on the PS2. 

FlyinDutchman
FlyinDutchman

Saw that one coming.....


As much as I hated SOE at least they acutally made games. Not good ones but they made them. 


Day break inherited two games in development. They have officially stopped one, and have effectively stopped the other. 


Hope they sell the EQ IP to someone decent. It would be a shame for one of the original MMO IP's to die. 

Cyroselle
Cyroselle

@FlyinDutchman Just as long as they don't sell it to Nexon. I don't want to see 'rental' costumes in a cash shop for EverQuest. 

Ah, but you said 'someone decent'. ;P

Tethyss
Tethyss

I know y'all warned me and you were right. But darn that game was addicting -- just moving around, exploring, mining, building.  I have some fraps of the beta just running over hills and watching my guy flip and slide down a mountain.  I haven't seen stuff that good in a long time, if ever.

melissaheather
melissaheather

@Tethyss That's a nice thing about Black Desert Online that we were really looking forward to in EQN - the Parkour movement.   You have that in BDO just like in Landmark and it's really nice.