Daybreak formally announces the new substudios for PlanetSide, EverQuest, and DCUO

The DCUO studio is building a new modern action MMORPG


Last year was riddled with rumors coming out of Daybreak Games, as last summer the once-glorious MMORPG company registered multiple websites and trademarks for Darkpaw GamesRogue Planet Games, and Golden Age Studios, plus it registered a new Daybreak Game Studios LLC. MMO players had widely speculated that a split of the studios was on the way, a split that was confirmed following layoffs in October 2019, when Daybreak announced it was undertaking a “realignment of the company into separate franchise teams.”

Well, the first leg of that “realignment” has just gone public, as the PlanetSide, EverQuest, and DC Universe Online franchises have formally announced their new substudios, which appear to still be owned by Daybreak, each being “operated as an individual franchise business unit within Daybreak.”

New Head of Rogue Planet Games Andy Sites penned this message for players on the official site this afternoon, announcing the transformation of the PlanetSide 2 and (hypothetical?) future PlanetSide 3 team (PlanetSide Arena was sunsetted earlier this month) into Rogue Planet Games, still under the Daybreak banner.

“Rogue Planet Games will focus solely on the PlanetSide franchise and our dedicated community. While Daybreak will continue to act as publisher and provide live operations and infrastructure support, Rogue Planet Games owns the vision of PlanetSide – present and future. […] Rest assured, the future of PlanetSide is very much at the top of mind here, and the expectations for a true sequel are, as expected, astronomical. The establishment of Rogue Planet Games provides a runway and opportunity for us to deliver our vision for PlanetSide 3, but that discussion will happen in due time. Until then, we have a lot of great stuff in store for PlanetSide 2!”

Existing players should read the whole letter, as it also talks up the studio’s development cadence and communication in 2019 (something we suspect some of you will disagree with) and vows to bring “players into the fold like never before” with heightened transparency.

DCUO’s community letter calls its new studio Dimensional Ink, not Golden Age Studios as anticipated. Head of the Austin studio Jack Emmert (yes that Jack Emmert) says his group is working on not only DCUO but a new game, about which he won’t say much except that it’s a “next-gen MMORPG” and an “action MMORPG” with “no old-fashioned click A and pray.”

“Ultimately, as a team we felt that the future of Daybreak Austin lay within the developers: so we decided to carve ourselves out officially as our own studio. We still publish with Daybreak, but the future is ours to forge. Admittedly, the name was really hard to carve out. We went through weeks of voting on options, finding out they were already taken, going back to come up with new names. Finally, the studio leadership locked itself in a conference room and I refused to let people leave until a name we could use came up. And out of this arose Dimensional Ink.”

Finally, Holly Longdale is helming the new Darkpaw Games to continue running the whole EverQuest franchise.

“Darkpaw Games will operate autonomously and focus on the EQ franchise, its community, and its future. I will be at the head of Darkpaw and Daybreak will be our publisher with its incredible support and operations teams we’ve come to know and love over the years. We will work toward expanding the franchise and invest in our future as a studio. […] Immediately, and in practical terms, our focus is on the fans and investing in our current games and the business of starting new ones. We’re already executing on the plans we had for 2020, like expansions and events for EQ and EQ2. We’ll start evaluating the interest in, and logistics of, a fan faire and move forward with that as soon as possible.”

“Currently, nothing will change for your accounts and membership,” she notes for players.

It is not yet clear what’s happening to the Z1 Battle Royale/H1Z1 franchise or the EverQuest and H1Z1 mobile titles that were at least at one point being developed with partner NantWorks, nor was there any clarification on the continuing relationship between Daybreak and Standing Stone Games (Daybreak currently publishes Standing Stone’s titles, but we’ve had plenty of rumors that it also owns Standing Stone too). [Update on this below.]

Daybreak Games took Massively OP’s 2019 award for stormiest future for what are hopefully obvious reasons.

Further reading on the studio in the last year:

Click to read full press release here.
SAN DIEGO, CA – Jan. 21, 2020 – Daybreak Games today announced its “Franchise First” initiative in the form of a business structure that establishes three new individual creative franchise studios — Dimensional Ink Games, Darkpaw Games and Rogue Planet Games. Building on the success of the teams that introduced genre-defining games and franchises including DC Universe™ Online, EverQuest® and PlanetSide®, this business model is the result of a long-term strategy designed to amplify the existing franchises while enabling each studio to further foster its unique identity, community, culture and team.

By allowing the identities of each of these studios to thrive under their individual studios, each team will have the flexibility to continue their work developing current and upcoming games, recruiting new talent and building upon the legacy of their respective franchises.

Dimensional Ink Games in Austin develops and operates DC Universe™ Online, the one-of-a kind DC Super Hero-based MMORPG enjoyed by millions across PC and consoles. Dimensional Ink will be led by Jack Emmert, the mastermind behind City of Heroes, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter. The studio will continue to support DCUO while developing its next high-profile action MMO project starting in 2020.

“Crafting iconic MMORPG experiences has always been Daybreak’s lifeblood,” said Emmert. “We intend to continue that legacy and grow Dimensional Ink, Darkpaw Games and Rogue Planet Games. Whether it’s DC UniverseTM Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2 or future franchises, we’ll be giving players their ideal fantasy game experiences for years to come.”

Darkpaw Games will be focusing on EverQuest, one of the most legendary MMORPG IPs recognized worldwide. Holly Longdale will continue to lead the studio as its Executive Producer. Darkpaw’s mission is to expand upon the amazing fantasy adventure that is EverQuest and EverQuest II and develop the studio’s next innovation.

Rogue Planet Games, the San Diego based studio that broke new ground in the massively multiplayer first-person shooter genre with PlanetSide and PlanetSide 2, will craft even more unique experiences in the space under the leadership of Executive Producer Andy Sites. The team is looking to develop its next genre-defining game for fans of shooters under its new banner.

Daybreak’s new FAQ now says the studio split-up will have “no impact” on Standing Stone, Lord of the Rings Online, or Dungeons and Dragons Online.
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