Following studio layoffs, Frostkeep is sunsetting Rend in one week

Studio says it won't support or interfere with private servers

    
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Goopy?

Earlier this month, we reported on layoffs of unknown size at Rend developer Frostkeep Studios. Now, the studio has admitted that it’ll be closing down the game entirely.

“We’re sad to announce that on 1/31/2020 we will sunset Rend,” the devs write. “This was a difficult decision for our team and was not something we approached lightly or without serious thought and consideration. As a small indie studio, we set out with determination and a bold vision to create a competitive survival game that would challenge the traditional mold and introduce new experiences and ways for players and friends to participate within the game regardless of play style. But ultimately, the game’s population levels have decreased and reached a level where the original experience we hoped for and envisioned for Rend is no longer a possibility. We will formally shut down all public servers on Friday 1/31. While today’s news is a disappointment, we’re sincerely grateful to our players, partners and the community for your commitment and support. Thank you for joining us on the battlefield.”

The studio layoffs are not mentioned.

Frostkeep, MMO players will recall, was a studio helmed by former WoW, LOL, and WildStar devs, all originally working on Rend, which was somewhere between an MMORPG and a survival sandbox. The game even took awards when it was revealed in 2017, and it was gorgeous. But it didn’t quite catch on, and in March of 2019, the devs admitted it was effectively launching the game – straight into maintenance mode with consolidated servers. While Frostkeep’s Jeremy Wood told us some devs would still be working on the game, it was clear that most had been moved to a new project, for which the studio was still hiring as late as November of last year. However, as we noted that same month, Rend itself had long since dropped down to around a dozen concurrent players as Steam users warned each other the game was dead.

There’s one ray of light in all this: While the studio says it won’t keep its servers up or leave the game buyable on Steam, it does say, “Frostkeep will not support but will neither interfere with any private servers.”

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psytic

Never even heard of it until now. According to Steam it was abandonware and went unsupported long ago. Maybe they could have spent more on marketing. There is tons of lame early access titles that get hyped up and ride that wave to keep afloat.

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Kero Kero

Meh, trying to make a game that needs a big population to be interesting and making it B2P. What do people expect.

cambruin
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cambruin

So charging for a product which has time and funds invested into it is bad business practice? You’d rather have the questionable ‘F2P’ games littering the MMO scene, filled with obscure ‘daily deals’, ‘convenience’ for the inconvenienced, …?

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Kero Kero

I want games that get a chance to live and are successful rather than dying when they never lived. B2P games rn, esp in the west, do not do well. They never hit the critical mass of playerbase needed to thrive and then silently fade away.

I don’t care what form that comes in, but the market is not receptive to B2P MMOs rn. Having a large playerbase is more important than the pricing model. You can’t make money off a dead game.

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JoeCreoterra

ESO is one of the largest MMOs ever launched in the west, it’s B2P. Guild Wars 2 did exceptionally well as B2P. I’m not sure your “do not do well” is applicable.

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Kero Kero

I don’t think it’s reasonable to compare an indie studio title to a MASSIVE company with a huge existing fanbase for an established and well-loved franchise.

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JoeCreoterra

I don’t think it’s reasonable to make a general comment about B2P games not doing well in the west without mentioning that your comment only applies to indie games.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Man, seems like trying to make a MMO or even a pseudo-MMO is suicide nowadays.

Would Rend have survived if it was smaller in scale or a non-MMO?

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feleran

Has it ever not been a suicide?

Mewmew
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Mewmew

First thought: “What is Rend?”

It does look beautiful and all. I’m trying to figure out why it didn’t really end up on my radar. Did it launch as PvP only and those PvE servers were a late afterthought?
That is one thing that could have made me skip watching it, if the initial launch and game were PvP focused.

It’s also entirely possible I was waiting for it to come out of Early Access and then they gave up when it did. I don’t get why companies do that. They launch an “Early Access” game, tell us it’s not finished, we all tell each other to wait until it’s out of Early Access if you want to get the finished game. So then the Developers abandon the game because it didn’t sell well enough during the unfinished period that many of us were waiting to be over before we bought it.

I’ve watched numerous games go down like that. It doesn’t quite make sense to me, gauging the sales of the game on an unfinished product before it’s really launched. The more people get burned from Early Access titles, the more they wait and the less people are willing to buy stuff during Early Access. Finish your games and launch them and give them a go, don’t decide on if they’re a hit or not based on Early Access sales!

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Solaris

Sad times. Really liked the game. Loved the art direction.

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Jon Wax

They were close, had some key elements but they missed the mark.

Celestia
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Celestia

I loved the design and aesthetic of this game, but the survival gank box market never appealed.

velimirius
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velimirius

As soon as i saw gameplay i knew it will be gone soon. Well at least they tried.

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Ironwu

WoW, LoL, WS developers making a Survival Sandbox. What could go wrong?

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cursedseishi

Not shocking, all said and done.

Even with all that big-name talent, it doesn’t mean anything if you ultimately can’t guarantee anything or bring something with legs. They tried shoving too far all at once, and it clearly killed the game. They wanted big open world survival, as well as big on mass pvp, and in doing so they knee-capped themselves.

Survival games are still releasing and doing well. They should have either limited the scope and focused on something and build up from there, or play more competitively with pricing when the game started to go downwards. Far as I can see, there was literally no ‘free play’ weekends at all run for the game like you see elsewhere on Steam. And while the reduction from 30 to 15 was likely a decent idea…? At launch, again far as I can tell, they had it at $30–though running as a sale at the time–when it was also announced as going straight into maintenance.

I’ve also seen several rather… blatantly ignorant decisions just skimming through the Steam discussions. The game was simply a mess, and it doesn’t look like they could really find their feet at all… Which, again… Yeah. Should have started small. Test the waters, then expand. It’s as if with the big-studio talent they had packed with them, they simply assumed everything was going to be smooth and easy.

Sucks for the people who lost out on their jobs though, and people who’ve been given literally 1 week’s notice that their game’s dead. But importantly? It sucks for people who buy this game now, because the Steam store page is still up and functional well after a day since that post was issued… As well as nothing being labeled and put down to warn others.

And that last thing especially bothers me. If you’re going to post that on a site I’m sure almost nobody checks but not on the pages where it is most important…? The only saving grace the game has going for it is that it isn’t part of the current Lunar New Year sale. It would fall into the 2-week refund provided nobody wastes 2 hours playing it… but that is hardly an excuse. And it shouldn’t be relied upon as they seem to be doing right now. Put that front and center for your game, apologize on the store page as well as the discussions page, and don’t give that garbage ‘well we won’t care’ hand wave.

There are private servers already. Players can set them up in-game as is, far as I can tell. That isn’t the same as the CoH Rogue servers or the like. It’s just a repeat of what I can safely assume is ANY game’s stance when it offers player-hosted servers.

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h4

I had not even heard of this game prior to this article. A free play weekend on steam would have been great to let people see what the game was about. Unless they weren’t confident enough on their game getting sales afterwards.

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cursedseishi

Thing is, the game needs people to play it. A free-play by its nature attracts attention as it crops up in the Steam News, and if even a sliver of the Steam user base downloads and tries the game out? It’d give paid players the sort of full servers this game demands to even have a point, and ensures free players can see what is on offer at its prime. Because the biggest issues with games like these are ultimately that the game matters less than the people playing it. Players serve as content anywhere, but in something like this? Players are every facet from starting out and surviving all the way up to your end-game raids on both ends.

Worse games have managed to survive, or even succeed, simply off community. Heck, I’d partly argue that World of Warcraft survives more from player investment into guilds/company in-game than by any measure of the content itself.

And as for hearing about the game? I’ve seen it mentioned on here obviously enough, and few other sites… But the developers have done extraordinarily poorly in getting the name out there on major sites consistently. More often than not? The times I can recall hearing about the game have all been negative. That too likely hasn’t helped them I’d say.