“Today, we are closing Carbine Studios and will begin the process of winding WildStar down to ultimately shutter the game. WildStar players who have spent money within the game will be refunded purchases from July 1, 2018 until the payment system is shut off. We are also in the process of identifying the teams that will be doing the work to bring WildStar to a close. These decisions are very difficult to make and we are in the midst of shifting as many of our teammates as possible into other roles within the organization.”
Our hearts go out to those affected by the closure and to the players who stuck by the game no matter what.
Kotaku says that the Carbine shutdown will include 50 layoffs. It is not clear what will happen to the rumored second game those remaining in the studio were supposedly working on.
WildStar’s story is a long and tangled one. We began watching the game on Massively-that-was as far back as 2011, naming it our most anticipated MMORPG in both 2011 and 2012 thanks to its colorful, Firefly-esque themes and multi-faceted Bartle-style design. But by 2013, concern began swirling around Carbine’s apparent hardcore raiding design shifts and proposed subscription plan. When it launched in 2014, it underperformed, causing it to go free-to-play in 2015 as players left, NCsoft stopped reporting it separately in financial documents, and updates all but came to a halt.
MMORPG watchers have assumed the game is on its last legs for years now, but NCsoft seemed reluctant to sunset it prematurely, perhaps cognizant of the resentment many western MMO players still feel about its abrupt and poorly supported sunset of the by-all-accounts still profitable MMO City of Heroes in 2012.
Given the lack of game updates in recent months and the January statement that NCsoft aimed to continue to support the game, we discussed WildStar at length on a podcast just a few weeks ago; Justin, Eliot, and I chatted about our passion for the original vision of the game and how it all went so very, very wrong.
In spite of its travails, the game took home Massively OP’s Best Player Housing award in both 2016 and 2017, from both the staff and our community. Its ambition and creativity – all on display in our most recent stream of the game, from August – will be missed. Farewell, cupcake.