Last week, player-led developer Realm Worlds announced a shutdown for the current version of The Realm Online, owing to the fact that the game wasn’t making enough income to pay the developers and most funding going to the IP holder licensing the game, Norseman Games. Realm Worlds had initially told players that it had tried to acquire the IP from Norseman but hadn’t been successful, so the end result would be the closure of the game next week.
Then there was a brief reprieve: Just after Realm Worlds’ announcement, Norseman Games made an announcement of its own, saying it “share[d] your disappointment in being unable to come to a long-term agreement” on the game and telling players that while Realm Worlds’ Finvarra’s Fortress server would indeed go dark, Norseman would be taking over Despothes’ Grove, a legacy server, and keeping it online, complete with account migration.
And now, we’ve learned that Norseman has apparently sold the franchise to a third company, as communicated in a statement on Facebook last night.
“[W]e are delighted to share the exciting news of our successful agreement with another team who has now acquired The Realm Online. We understand that you may have questions and concerns during this period of change. We also understand your reasons for skepticism. We firmly believe that the new team will honor the game’s rich legacy while injecting fresh innovation and exciting adventures into its virtual realms. This transition will require time and effort to ensure a seamless transfer, we are committed to working closely to facilitate a smooth and successful handover.”
Nowhere is the new studio named, only that it’s not Realm Worlds, nor is there anything like a timeline, nor can anyone comment on the post to ask questions. It sounds like some tentative good news for TRO fans, who are probably weary of the game being in limbo and might appreciate the reprieve, but it’s surely frustrating for Realm Worlds, whose developers have apparently been maintaining the game largely unpaid for years and whose attempts to negotiate a buyout were apparently rebuffed in favor of this third company. It’s also no longer clear what’s happening to the legacy server. Apparently, all fans can do is wait.