Aeria Games is an online game publisher owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Media and based in Germany. It is known for MMOs like Echo of Soul, Eden Eternal, and Scarlet Blade.
Back in June, Neowiz and Aeria Games/Gamigo confirmed that they’d mutually ended their partnership to make Aeria the western Bless Online publisher. While initially the studios stated the MMO had been canceled for our region and wasn’t coming westward at all thanks to “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that] cannot be overcome,” Neowiz quickly moved to suggest that it would be publishing the game here in the west on its own, presumably with the combat system do-over Aeria had begun and Neowiz said it was continuing.
Now we have a better idea of just what that means.
Yesterday Neowiz announced what it’s calling the “Rebuild Project” for the whole game, which will allow the studio to “abandon the current structure and make it from scratch,” gutting some of the game’s underlying systems and content and adding new. Specifically, Neowiz says it’s making gear feel more important to character progression, revamping combat, retooling class skills and unique feel, creating variety and fun for mounts and pet content, adjusting crafting to not be “useless,” and improving the UI experience. New PvP content (a capture-the-flag map?) is also under development for August; the screenshots in this post show the new area.
Last week, both Neowiz and Aeria Games confirmed that Aeria is no longer serving as the western Bless Online publisher — worse, Bless appeared to be entirely canceled for our region. “Gamigo announces that the MMORPG Bless Online will not be published in Europe and North America,” read the formal announcement. “The collaboration had to be cancelled because after extensive testing the game did not meet the quality standards of both Neowiz Games and the gamigo group. […] Together with Neowiz we have come to the conclusion that the technical difficulties cannot be overcome, so we agreed not to complete the game for our respective markets.”
Done deal, right? Apparently not so much. “The game will not be published” turns out to mean “we will publish the game ourselves.”
“You must be curious about future Bless in EU/NA as we ended our contract with AG,” Neowiz told MMORPG.com. “NBS believes the EU/NA Bless fans are very valuable to us so we commit to deliver game updates directly to you. We will surely present you with improved Bless in the future.”
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The Neowiz statement that Aeria Games is no longer serving as the western Bless Online has now been backed up by Gamigo, Aeria’s parent company, though contrary to the translated reports from yesterday, Gamigo says it wasn’t a unilateral decision by Neowiz — and it appears that the game has been canceled for our region entirely, not simply shelved for a new publisher.
“gamigo announces that the MMORPG Bless Online will not be published in Europe and North America. The cooperation between the Korean games developer Neowiz Games and the gamigo group has been terminated by mutual agreement. Unfortunately, the collaboration had to be cancelled because after extensive testing the game did not meet the quality standards of both Neowiz Games and the gamigo group. Jens Knauber, COO of the gamigo group, regrets this development: ‘Together with Neowiz we have come to the conclusion that the technical difficulties cannot be overcome, so we agreed not to complete the game for our respective markets. This has not been an easy decision for us and we put a lot of thought into this step. On the other hand, we have a number of interesting new releases coming up to complement our already strong portfolio, so our players can look forward to several new games in the near future.'”
Rumors that suggested Aeria Games has been dismissed as the western Bless Online publisher appear to have been confirmed today.
Korean gaming site Inven is reporting that Neowiz, the Korean-born developer and publisher of the MMO, has “canceled the service contract agreement between the two companies […] smoothly after consulation,” meaning that Gamigo and Aeria will no longer be publishing the game in the west.
We’ve seen a few headlines this morning suggesting that Bless’ western service has been entirely canceled, but we cannot confirm that. Neowiz says it will be focusing on the Japanese service “for now,” but does not say whether it has plans to find a new western publisher.
Rumors are flying this morning that Aeria Games has been dismissed as the western Bless Online publisher. MMORPG.com reports that it received “fairly substantial information” from an anonymous source to that effect. “Gamigo representatives were in Korea last week where the agreement was cancelled due to quality confirmed,” writes the blog. “This has also apparently been confirmed via internal communication with employees coming from the Vice President of Product Sascha Zehe.”
This is not the first time we’ve encountered rumors about the state of Bless’ import. Back in December, the game’s official teaser site vanished abruptly, causing a panic that the game had been canceled. Aeria, however, said it was just a data center migration. Still, we haven’t seen much public progress on the game since last autumn’s announcement that Aeria was completing gutting Bless’ combat system for a do-over. It was intended to release here this year, but we’ve seen far more movement from the Russian and Japanese branches.
We’ve reached out to Aeria and Gamigo for a statement and will update when we know more.
For a game that once promised
it would provide “everything an MMO player could want,” Echo of Soul
hasn’t exactly toppled popular culture and established itself as digital king in any hemisphere. Yet it’s far from dead, as developer Mr. Blue has signed a contract with Aeria Games
to develop a “massive update” for the game that will arrive before the end of 2017. Little is known of this update other than its title: Phoenix.
While the patch is slated for North America and Europe, Mr. Blue hasn’t given up trying to get Echo of Soul into other regions. The MMO developer attempted to reenter the Chinese and Korean markets after initially failing in those countries, and it has recently signed publishing deals to get Echo of Soul out in Turkey and the Middle East.
For those of you playing, you can get yourself a free seahorse mount in time for summer if you drop the devs a line on Facebook. Sounds efficient.
Twin Saga released a new trailer over the weekend, as near as we can tell not promoting any specific new update, apart from the game’s formal launch back in April. The patch that coincided with the launch added a new class, new maps, a level cap bump, a “couples” system, and freeform character building. Aeria was talking up its “visual re-branding and a stronger focus on the captivating background story about the twin goddesses Marisa and Amaris” at the time, and that’s what the new trailer is doing as well. Check it out below — anybody playing?
Good news, Echo of Soul
fans in China: The game is coming back. (It’s not coming back in North America, it never left. It’s remaining here. It’s still here. Nothing has changed.) The title is heading to the country once again
under the care of the small and heretofore largely unknown publisher Hoga.
This isn’t the first time the Korean title has been imported to China, but the first attempt under publisher ChangYou was unsuccessful and closed down back in 2015. Still, it seems that the order of the day is to not let a little thing like failing to capture the market share the first time prevent companies from making a second attempt, so it’s time for another go. Remember, kids: If at first you don’t succeed, find a new publisher and try again in a year.
Twin Saga rolled out a truly massive patch this morning, introducing a brand-new Monk class to the cutesy Aeria MMORPG, along with a new story quest beginning at level 61, the Sanctopolis: Prismatica zone (think rainbows and floating islands), the Sanctopolis: Constellacia zone, three dungeons (Nabuland, La Catedral Infernal Hell Mode, and Sapphire Keep), a new Senshi Quest, a “Couple” System for getting hitched with a partner, new advanced specs, a new archive tool to collect your mounts and outfits, and a level cap bump to 70. See, massive!
In celebration of the launch, Aeria has granted Massively OP keys for readers to help them get a jump on the new content. Read on to grab the key and learn how to apply it to your account!
Bless Online’s Korean version is in the midst of a massive content update expected to launch in several waves over the course of the next couple of months and beginning with a preview of the Urdata War Fortress, which itself arrives on April 11th. There’s a giant graphic to accompany the announcement below. More info is apparently due on Friday — and it’s all good news for the Korean edition of the MMORPG, which has undergone multiple rounds of server merges since its launch.
As for the Aeria Games version that we’ll be playing here in the west someday? It’s still under construction – don’t expect it anytime soon.
Shards Online is no more: The game is now officially called Legends of Aria. Better still? It’s now being marketed by Citadel Studios as a full-fledged MMORPG.
Citadel’s Derek “Supreem” Brinkmann says that the name change will be a big help to the game ahead of its Steam early access — that Shards had a “stigma” for being limited by small maps and low player counts, as you’d expect from a game focused on custom shards in a classic UO style. Legends of Aria, on the other hand, will launch with a heavily expanded map and no player limits at all — in other words, it’s a real MMO.
“It’s the same game, it’s just a bigger scale, a bigger scope,” he assures backers — everything in the old game, including modding, is still happening in Aria.
The trailer and address from Citadel is below. Stay tuned for this weekend, too, as we’ll be meeting with the studio at PAX East!
What happens when a global publisher of MMORPGs acquires an MMO news site? We’re about to find out, as the Gamigo Group announced that it has purchased MMOGames.com to “enlarge its portfolio of portals.”
MMOGames.com has covered many online titles, including those under Gamigo’s umbrella. The Gamigo Group, which also handles Aeria Games and marketing platform Adspree Media GmbH, said that the purchase was aimed at “improving monetarisation” of the news site and increasing Gamigo’s advertising presence. Gamigo said that this move helps it achieve its goal of “an end-to-end marketing package,” but for readers, it will no doubt raise questions over the possible conflict of interest present when a video game publisher owns a video game news site.
MMOGames Editor-in-Chief Nick Shively told Massively OP, “Despite the recent acquisition by Gamigo, the MMOGames staff retains its editorial freedom and will continue to uphold its journalistic integrity. There have been no requests to the editorial team that would create a conflict of interest and we intend to continue delivering quality MMO news, reviews, and feature articles.”