Kickstarter MMORPG Crowfall was just acquired by Mythgard publisher Monumental

Sitting around.

So, who had “Crowfall gets bought out” on the ol’ end-of-the-year bingo card? Did you also have “and the announcement gets made at 7:20 p.m. EST on the Friday night before Christmas break” on that card? Because both things are going down this fine Friday evening!

According to the press release that hit our inbox, ArtCraft has sold Crowfall to Monumental. Monumental is a studio also located in Austin, Texas, just like ArtCraft; it’s known chiefly for publishing the highly rated but low-pop CCG Mythgard, which it apparently picked up and rescued from maintenance mode earlier this fall. It doesn’t look as though ArtCraft itself was bought, which would presumably mean ArtCraft’s second game will continue on in development, though ArtCraft’s Gordon Walton will apparently be “joining the Monumental team as part of this transition.” On Twitter, the companies are promising a “long-term development roadmap” that we’ll certainly be covering when it materializes.

Crowfall, of course, is an MMORPG that was Kickstarted back in 2015 and launched this past summer, though it’s struggled visibly to maintain a playerbase since. In fact, last week, players were circulating an alleged internal investor report that suggested the game had performed well below expectations and that the studio was exploring all its options, including sunsetting the game and finding ways to “make it attractive as an acquisition target.” The latter option appears to have been successful.

Here’s the key part of the press release:

“Monumental today announced the acquisition of Crowfall, the PvP-focused Thronewar MMO that launched in July of this year, from independent game developer ArtCraft Entertainment. Starting today, the operations transition will take place immediately with no interruption to the game service.

“Our team is excited to join Monumental as they share our passion for Crowfall and commitment to its future,” explained ArtCraft President and Executive Producer Gordon Walton. “Monumental sees this as more than a unique and compelling game; it’s an online platform designed around player interaction and a perfect platform for experimentation. Monumental is committing the resources to help Crowfall reach its full potential. I’m personally and professionally excited to be joining the Monumental team as part of this transition.”

“As an early backer and avid player through its development, I could not be more pleased to welcome Crowfall to the Monumental family,” said Monty Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of Monumental. “Gordon brings an extraordinary team of talented and creative developers, as well as decades of experience building and operating MMOs. As a combined team, we are well positioned to fully realize Crowfall’s lofty ambitions.””

Source: Press release. Cheers, GD!
The aforementioned Monty Kerr has been in Discord this evening answering player questions; he told players that Monumental is providing capital, growing the team, and bringing Thomas Blair along. Oh yeah, and Kerr plays Crowfall.

ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman has now posted a dev blog explaining that he met Monty Kerr back in the Shadowbane days; Kerr was both a game dev and a player of the game, and his frank criticism of that game turned into a friendship. Kerr has a list of critiques for Crowfall after its launch and dwindling player numbers from July to September too. And then?

“I told him that his list was great, and we’d love to be able to try a lot of those ideas, but that we just didn’t have the resources, i.e. the time or money, to do it. He thought about that for a while, and then came back to me with a proposal: he wanted his company to buy Crowfall, hire the team, and take the game back into development. Go back to working on the promise of Crowfall: a dynamic online world with real conflict, where players decide the fate of the world. I’ve said it before, many times: ArtCraft is not a giant corporation with unlimited resources. In truth, his proposal offered a number of things that, frankly, were otherwise off the table. Not only would it keep the game running and the team employed, but it would offer a chance to re-energize it. New ideas, new energy, and more resources than ACE could bring to bear. So, after much discussion with our board of directors, we accepted his proposal. The company that was ArtCraft is being split down the middle. Gordon and Blair and the Crowfall team will be joining Monumental. Josef and I will be working on a new game (that we started with completely separate funding, by the way) and keeping the newer folks who were hired for that project.”

Kerr also posted a note to fans.

“I love Crowfall. I especially love the idea of Crowfall. I was a Sapphire Patron of the Kickstarter campaign (and still looking forward to getting my Baron title). Todd and his early team crashed in my office in downtown Austin until they found office space. I played every release and I’m still playing. I plan to play Crowfall for many, many years to come. As always, I’m blown away with what Todd and Gordon and their team built. I’ll also be the first to admit that I couldn’t have built Crowfall. But I can finish it, expand it, and make sure this unique and amazing game has found its forever home.”

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