Landmark’s servers blinked off for the very last time last night, with our own EverQuest franchise columnist MJ Guthrie there to stream the end. The sandbox hadn’t even reached its first birthday after its long-awaited but still hasty launch last year.
“Such a waste,” former SOE and Daybreak CEO John Smedley remarked on Twitter. “It’s tragic to see this game turned off. EQ Next would have been brilliant based on it. We could have done it.”
We’ve rounded up some memories from the current and former Daybreak and SOE reps, plus we’ve included MJ’s stream and some of our favorite Landmark content in the last couple of years.
Former Landmark lead Dave Georgeson took to Twitter on Friday with a note of encouragement for fans of the soon-to-be shuttered MMO: “To those reading about the [Landmark] shutdown. Your dreams aren’t dying, only this vehicle for them. Stay in touch with each other. Friends > game.”
Georgeson was let go from Daybreak as part of the transition from SOE in February 2015. In an interview last spring, he said that if he had remained at the helm of the studio’s next-gen MMOs, he would have delivered EverQuest Next “to vision.”
Landmark will close its doors on February 21st.
Yesterday we covered a tip about a new MMORPG in the making: Ashes of Creation. Apparently we caught wind of this title before it was fully ready for a world reveal, but when Intrepid Studios heard about our story, the team figured this was as good a time as any to talk about its project.
Lead Designer Jeffrey Bard sat down with us for a lengthy interview to introduce the game and its studio. In a nutshell, Ashes of Creation is an ambitious sandbox MMO that’s being crafted by industry veterans, including several from Daybreak, that will empower players to change and mold a game world instead of passively moving through it. The game is still in the early stage of development but has extensive plans laid out for its path forward.
Let’s dig into what Ashes of Creation has in store as it enters the MMORPG scene this month!
This week’s Massively Overthinking topic revolves around the EverQuest Next cancellation, of course. MOP Patron Roger sent us 11 (!) questions to pick from. I’m going to break it down to just these core questions:
- Do you believe the “not fun” excuse?
- Could Dave Georgeson or John Smedley have prevented this?
- Are EverQuest and EverQuest II “safe”?
- Will Daybreak ever make another MMORPG?
- And what’s the future of the EverQuest franchise?
I posed them all to the Massively OP writers to ponder this week.
AI developer Dave Mark has weighed in mightily on the EverQuest Next cancellation. Mark worked on the game’s expansive AI system years ago alongside the Storybricks team — in fact, he says, Dave Georgeson’s famous “Orcs by the road” speech was based on his lectures and ideas.
“Please hear me when I say, emergent AI was not born at SOE/Daybreak or born of EverQuest Next,” he writes. “It also did not die with it.”
“All of those things that were promised with the AI were true and deliverable. It was not vaporware. In fact, after leaving the project (something I did not want to do), I ended up going straight to ArenaNet (thanks to my dear friend Mike Lewis) and spent a year implementing much of the same architecture and design. Some of it was used in the Heart of Thorns expansion to GuildWars 2 — the rest was prototyped up for possible use in future ArenaNet titles. (Much of the reason that some things were not used is that they were too much of a departure from the established gameplay of the GuildWars 2 franchise.)”
In the wake of EverQuest Next’s cancelation, gamers have been peppering former EQ franchise director Dave Georgeson, who was let go from Daybreak a year ago, about his thoughts on the demise of what was once his baby.
“I’ve never had a project cancelled so it feels weird,” he told Twitter. “But it’s been a year for me since I was involved, so I already mourned. […] I wish I could have finished it so this conversation never occurred. […] It would have been hard. But hard is what we do most of the time. It mostly requires solid vision.”
When asked by whether he’d have delivered the game according to its vision with his team intact, he said, “Yup. Absolutely. […] It’s based on a 27-year track record of never failing. All products shipped. All made money. Until now, I suppose.”
When it comes to the EverQuest franchise, looking back at 2015 is a much different experience than looking back at 2014 was. That previous year ended on such a high note of hope and anticipation; players (including me) were excited about what was to come. This year, however, is closing out with an air of melancholy, apprehension, and — for some — resignation.
That’s not to say that everything has been all bad. Despite what some may have you believe, the titles haven’t been careening non-stop down the slippery slope of doom. In fact, EverQuest and EverQuest II might even be ending the year on an upswing thanks to their unexpected expansions. Unfortunately, the two newest children of the family, Landmark, and EverQuest Next, enjoy no such buoyancy in the final quarter. They have sadly faded into the shadows.
How to sum up 2015? Concern, controversy, and content come to mind.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our pick for biggest MMO blunder of the year.
Last year, we called developer hubris and obstinance the biggest blunder of the year, as we criticized game development and business model decisions in WildStar, Destiny, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again.
All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for biggest MMO blunder of 2015 is…
Have you missed the enthusiastic Dave Georgeson since he got the boot from Daybreak last month? Well, he certainly hasn’t gone into seclusion; Georgeson has been making the rounds talking about his experiences, and the latest sounding board for his wisdom is the Level Up Morning Show.
If you’ve got an hour-and-a-half to spare, you can listen to Georgeson comment on the MMO industry in length. Warning: This may trigger nostalgia and longing in some veteran EverQuest hearts.
[Source: LUMS #35
It’s been quite a week! And not just for Massively Overpowered. Right as our original site was sunsetting, SOE announced that it was bought out and would be doing business under the new moniker Daybreak Games Company. Talk about shaking things up! Breaking free of Sony and going under the umbrella of an investment firm is just a wee bit of a change, and it is one that understandably had players nervous about future of the studio’s games. What will happen to the older titles like EverQuest and PlanetSide? What about those in development like EverQuest Next and H1Z1? CEO John Smedley assured players via Twitter that all the games will continue on. Time will tell. However, there was one immediate casualty in this whole changeover: SOE Live. And then in a huge punch to the fan gut came many more casualties in the form of multiple dev layoffs.
What will this all mean for players? As far as the convention side of things, a group of fans refuse to let 2015 go by without an annual gathering of
SOE Daybreak Games players and is organizing a summer get-together. But will we even have games to celebrate come summer?
Well, here’s a news post I didn’t want to write.
SOE Daybreak Games has laid off popular Global Community Relations lead Linda Carlson as well as EverQuest franchise lead Dave Georgeson as part of a staff “realignment” that comes in the wake of the studio’s sale to a holding company last week.
“I have been released from the best and most challenging job I have ever had, ” Carlson posted on Facebook. “I thank you all for being part of that incredible experience. Too many people to thank personally, but know that I am extraordinarily grateful and very curious where life takes me now.”
Carlson started at SOE six years ago after making waves with her fansite TheBrasse.com. Georgeson also confirmed his release via Twitter: “Yeah, I’m sorry folks but it’s true. LM, eqn, eq and eqii are no longer guided by moi. Other dreamers will steer now.” Daybreak released an official statement on the SOE forums; we’ve included it below.