Exploration MMO Wander quietly died and almost no one noticed

Cast your mind back to 2015 and see if you can recall an odd MMO launching on PC and PlayStation 4 called Wander. It was notable for being a non-combat game that focused on exploration and had you roaming about as a giant tree (at least part of the time). It was also notable for being called the “worst PlayStation 4 game ever.”

It was pretty obvious that Wander wasn’t going to be even a mild success by that fall, and the studio stopped issuing patches and updates for the game in September 2015.  The last Twitter message from the company was in late 2015, saying that there was another update in the works.

The deathknell for the game came in last month, when it was delisted from Steam, as Endgame Variable noticed: “Sorry to say we are now removing Wander from sale. We would have liked to switch it to be free, but alas our agreement with CryTek for use of the CryEngine will not allow that. Thanks to all Wanders and sorry.”

One of the game’s artists provided more information on the Steam thread:

“Firstly, we released Wander back in 2014 and I can see some of you are retracing through the history, and that’s great to see. Wander had many great moments and a fairly bumpy road too. For those new here and didn’t pick up a copy before the end then well, I’m sorry you’ve missed out.

Now that Wander is off the store, I’ve been informed it is not possible to generate any more keys. We have been amazed at the amount of enthusiasm and determination of some of you have shown by reaching out to us for more but sadly we cannot deliver any more.

For those who appear to be really mad about there being no sale. Please re-read the announcement post and understand that this needed to be shut down in a timely matter. We had every intention on doing a flash sale but certain procedures didn’t allow us to do so.

Also, Wander was the only title made by this indie company. Many of its members have moved onto other things myself included. I was one of the artists and this was my first gig and is great having that yellow sign next to my name as well as chatting with players.”

Wander is still listed on the PlayStation 4 site, and we can confirm is still downloadable on Steam to current owners and still appears to be playable as of our test this weekend.

Source: Steam. Thanks Endgame Variable!
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24 Comments on "Exploration MMO Wander quietly died and almost no one noticed"

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

I’ve had Wander on my wish list for a long time. I wanted to try it, but wanted to wait for a big sale, and always hoped more development would happen by the time I did try it. I guess if I had looked closely I would have seen development stopped two years ago now. It’s a shame in some ways. It’s not that I care for the title a super lot but I still did want to try and experience it. It had such a bumpy start that I didn’t want to go in at the beginning, and now it’s too late. This is why if you’re interested at all in an online game you need to jump in and try it while it exists.

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Jack Pipsam

It’s an Australian game so you knew it was doomed to fail. Our only other real attempt at an MMO that I know of was that fighting-MMO Fury.

Only reason Wander got funded by the looks of the site was because they tapped into all the government arts programs. It’s a shame as I am sure other better games could have used that funding.

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Shocktor

Can’t image many people remember Fury… I actually liked that game — it was a disaster, but it had some interesting mechanics.

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Jack Pipsam

Never played it, only remember it because when I was like ten I picked up a box of it in an EB Games and a store member told me not to buy it because they’d be closing it.

I remember seeing the box around for it a bit, maybe because it was an Australian game it was easier to find around being locally published. Kinda wished I did get the box now out of pure interest.

Studio is actually still around (on total life support), although they’re dedicated to train simulators now.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Veldan

Yeah I knew most of this, did a little personal research a long while back. Even back then there had not been any updates or dev posts for a long time. They used to have this roadmap on some external website, when that not only stopped being updated but was deleted, it was obvious that they had finally given up. As they should have.

I steam-refunded my copy after ~2 hours of “play”. It wasn’t even a game, to be honest. It was a buggy walking simulator with subpar graphics, and how anyone could have thought it was a good idea to release it is beyond me.

ceder
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ceder

Consumerism and the industry working as intended…

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mistressbrazen

I played this one in beta and just once after release. I backed it and loved the idea of it, but in the final analysis, I think the world was too small. I enjoy exploration, but usually you want some point to it. I thought even finding the different life forms you can change into was a tad more trying than it needed to be. It needed more player purpose in my opinion.

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Xijit

Between this and No Man’s Sky, I am thinking that aggressive release dates from Sony had something to do with how things turned out.

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A Dad Supreme

By now, companies can’t use the “They pressured us into early release!” when said companies already have a history of pressuring new titles nor can such excuses continue to be offered.

We can count on one hand how many companies we’ve heard a developer say “Oh, they were very nice and didn’t pressure us at all. They gave us a big fat initial payment, then said ‘Take your time, we’ll just keep sending you these checks so don’t sweat anything’ “.

There might be a few but the general rule of gamemaking is and always has been for at least the past decade “Here’s some money, get this game out on time when you said you would whether it’s done or not.”

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Armsbend

I remember being excited about it until I watched MJs stream. Not because of MJ but because of Wander.

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zoward

We must have watched the same stream – MJ sounded bored to tears. Watching her avatar moving along at a nail’s pace, I actually felt bad for her. Then I closed the stream and went off to do something else.

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Armsbend

MJ being MJ she was super positive and singy the whole time but hald the time she was stuck in a tree of falling through something.

That’s why I try to tune into her streams of news games!

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Oleg Chebeneev

At least it had a cool trailer.

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Connor

You’ll never be able to convince me that Wander wasn’t the product of developers who desperately wanted to create a game but didn’t have the talent to implement any of the features that they left out by design, aka the things that make people want to buy and play your game. It has less features than most engine tech demos, and considering the developers abandoned updating it three months after launch only to let it fester for two years reinforces my idea that the developer’s knowledge extends to basic Crytek modding tutorials on Youtube and not much more.

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Tandor

Whilst there have been a few high-profile exceptions to the rule, I think most MMOs that fail do so either because no-one has heard of them, they’re years off completion when offered to the public, the developers have absolutely no clue how to run a business, or they’re crap.

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Ket Viliano

I choose E: All of the above.

Did I pass the test?

:P

PS: Sadly, other than not having been heard of, most of the games that succeed seem to have the same problems.

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Robert Mann

It was too short and small for exploration, and there was little else to do. Anyone surprised by this is… probably not well informed about the game. Glad I waited as I was worried with this one.

I’d love to see more exploration and other things in MMOs, but this just compounded all the normal issues there, such as very small worlds all in all.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Oh man! this is the third time i think of a game to try to find it dead! it was in my list of MMO i want to try soon, i wonder if they can release the game as single-player game?

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Veldan

Believe me, you’re better off never having tried this one.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

I saw MJ’s stream for this game, that what made me want to try the game, i like boring things, video games like Dear Esther are interesting for me.

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Katriana

Totally not surprised on this one. I knew from the first time I saw it on MJ’s streams that it didn’t stand a chance. It was very pretty, but there didn’t seem to be anything to do besides wander around and look at the pretty graphics. There did seem to be some hints of a purpose behind the roaming with the rune things, but that was very vague and I’m sure most people got bored quite quickly.

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Veldan

Very pretty? I disagree… it was just a bunch of basic islands with trees. The models weren’t special and the detail certainly wasn’t either.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

iirc there wasn’t even much to wander around in or see as it was. you could see everything in about an hour of wandering. :P

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