EverQuest Next Officially Cancelled

EverQuest Next Cancelled

Unfortunately, this day has been coming for a long, long time.

[su_expand more_text=”Read the rest of Russel Shanks’ relese” less_text=”Read less…” text_color=”#2a2a2a” link_color=”#011948″ more_icon=”icon: file-text-o” less_icon=”icon: eject”]To Our Daybreak Community,

I’m writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.

For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.

For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we – and all of you – have for the worlds of Norrath.

The future of the EverQuest franchise as a whole is important to us here at Daybreak. EverQuest in all its forms is near and dear to our hearts. EverQuest and EverQuest II are going strong. Rest assured that our passion to grow the world of EverQuest remains undiminished.

Yours truly,

Russell Shanks

President, Daybreak Games[/su_expand]

The reasons for failure are many.

  • Losing Dave Georgeson, Steve Danuser, and the heart of SOE to form Daybreak was the day EverQuest Next officially died.
  • EverQuest (Next) Landmark and EverQuest Next brand confusion and crossover were a huge detriment to development and brand hype.
  • EverQuest Landmark’s failure foretold EverQuest Next’s failure. The same team worked on both titles.
  • Omeed Dariani and embracing the Twitch mentality destroyed the early days of EQ Next’s marketing hype and building a MMORPG community.
  • Destructible environments aren’t necessary and are indicative of a phased and ‘reset-able’ world. Voxels and tech demos aren’t what true MMORPG gamers want. We don’t need the gimmicks. We’re looking for substance and heart.
  • “Dynamic” events will never, ever, yield a world that feels immersive.

EverQuest Next was always treated as a tech demo. They weren’t talking about the heart and soul of the game, but always focusing on the superficial surface. They weren’t talking about the gameplay. We saw tech ideas and voxels. We were fed teaspoons of information about Landmark like it was supposed to make any sense at all. Every time they brought up Landmark and Next — even a few days ago in the video I just watched of them sitting in a conference room — it was this weird disjointed and awkward conversation of how the two would make sense together. Reality: They never did, and never would.

Just like you can’t take a huge budget and ridiculous themepark ideas and throw them together expecting a successful AAA launch, you can’t take an idea based in technology with zero gameplay vision and expect the successor to EverQuest.

Some people are praising them for trying something “bold.” I’m shaking my head wondering why they were so foolish. The recipe for success never included they ingredients they were tossing into this one. Oh well.

Hopefully the team working on the game can at least be assigned elsewhere and stay employed, and the people who were overseeing the project and came up with the foundation will learn from their mistakes and move forward making something better. Hint: Not H1Z1.

I’ll continue to support EverQuest. I am an EverQuest fanboy at heart, and will continue to actively play EverQuest. My subscription is current, and I am enjoying Kunark on the Phinigel server.

  • I never liked the original EverQuest but I was planning to give it a try with this new one. Shame.

  • Shaking my head right now as I see the flurry of tweets from Daybreak promoting Landmark’s launch in Spring. Come on guys, it’s a little more than embarrassing at this point.

  • ““Dynamic” events will never, ever, yield a world that feels immersive.”

    I am not sure I understand the logic of that. So “static” events do yield a world that feels immersive?

  • @Wilhelm: I should have elaborated more, but I do so at the risk of sounding like a broken record all the time. What I mean is that the only thing they’ve really touted so far has been this entire idea of their world having all of these dynamic events. WAR’s dynamic events weren’t immersive. GW2’s events weren’t immersive. They were all touted as this way of making the world a “changing world” when in fact it ended up feeling scripted. Maybe I’m crazy, but the original EQ felt way more immersive to me than GW2. UO felt way more immersive than most MMOs and players were most of the content.

  • I think it’s pretty shady of them to release Landmark and say that is what these people who bought alpha access were getting for their money. If my recollection serves, weren’t those packages initially offered when Landmark was described as some sort of testing ground for EQN? Or, did they make the distinction that Landmark was a separate product and it was clear that you were purchasing access to it, and not EQN?

  • @Balthazar I certainly only bought early access b/c it would be an opportunity to have an impact on the direction of EQN. Landmark as a separate game? *piffle*

  • In all honesty I do normally like dynamic events and think they are one of the better implementation of quests. They are also a decent way to show lore without writing a novel for quests. I also feel they are dynamic enough (in terms of implementation) to sprinkle around the world and provide players with options of things to do.

    They can fit in with things like more epic style EQ quests, gathering and camping systems, they could even be used to implement PvP with different factions meeting in the same area.

    I agree they should not be the meat and potatoes of the game, but I do enjoy them and think they are a nice thing to add on top of a decent system.

  • GW2’s dynamic events weren’t immersive *for you*. They were, and are, for me and many, many thousands of people who’ve played that game for years now. Personally, I have found “dynamic events” involving and immersive since I first encountered them in EQ back around the turn of the century, with the skeleton invasions. Over the years their increasing use across the genre has done nothing but increase the ability of MMORPGs to draw me in and hold me in an imaginary world.

    Having “dynamic events” wasn’t EQNext’s fatal flaw. The high-ups in the company making it having the hubris to believe they could design and create both a paradigm-shattering MMO and a better infrastructure to run it fthan anyone else could offer was the fatal flaw. Had they gone with a licensed, proprietary game engine and the intent to provide a solid, up-to-date iteration of the kind of game they already know how to make then we’d all have been playing EQ3 for five years now and maybe talking about EQ4.

  • @bagpuss. Dynamic events get stale very quickly. GW2’s mediocrity proves that. Once I’d levelled to 80 their pve was insipid.

    I am sad to see EQNext die. Was the only title that had caught my interest in thelast 5 or 6 years. TBH the development team really failed this project. They really failed to use the money Sony gave them effectively.

  • @Keen Have kept following your blog, but stopped commenting for a while.
    While I did read the everquest next cancellation elsewhere first, I am glad I could read your blog and get a more in dept explanation as to why.

    Somehow I liked the idea of the destruction based voxel technology, but yes only on top of a strong foundation.
    How awesome would such technology be in a FPS game? Just like the first red faction did, but better.
    I miss actual destruction such as that.

    p.s. Also left you a comment on your clash royale post.

  • Saying dynamic content will “never” yield a world that is immersive is crazy. That’s like the people who think VR will never catch on because of virtual boy. At some point, maybe (hopefully) in our lifetimes, content will be procedurally generated as we play. NPCs will in a manner actually be speaking with us. It will be incredible and will be so immersive that the games we know and love won’t even be comparable. Just because we are in a decade long lull doesn’t mean that in the year 2050, or 3000, that Everquest will still be the high point of the MMORPG genre.

    The genre has stagnated in a shitty place for over a decade. I agree with you that moving backwards would be better than what we have, but don’t dismiss moving forwards either because that’s not what we’ve gotten over the last 12 years.

  • If any of the things they had theorized/promised/touted about EQN actually came to be, it would have been a great game.

    Their only failing was bungling both the actual implementation of said game, and then making Landmark MORE than it was supposed to initially be (people able to make buildings for the Dev Team to use in the actual EQN world, while being a good tech demo for the EQN engine).

    Instead, trying to make two simultaneous MMOs at the same time, that do the EXACT SAME THING… my word. How did that ever come about in a company meeting?
    “Hey guys! You know what’d be even better than making EQN? We can make it TWICE! That’s two times the sales!”
    “My heavens, Barnabus, that is a brilliant idea! Let’s get started!”

    Just jaw droppingly not good.

    But anyway, the idea for EQN was sound. If any of it had actually worked it would have been great. Their theories on how their dynamic events would work sounded great to me. It sounded like a far cry from just little areas of the world that had events pop up. It sounded more like a living, evolving backdrop for players to interact with.

    But again, that’s just what they were *saying*. Maybe the tech couldn’t back it up and that’s another reason it tanked. Writing the scripts for that kind of thing would be… mind bogglingly lengthy.

  • Saw that coming a few years ago. It actually predates daybreak, and started when they released landmark as a standalone game – that had combat? I could never wrap my head around that strategy. Because there was none.

    Daybreak are just doing this for an investment. They will sell the company in a few years, and eating up $100m developing a niche game is not good for selling companies. But it’s not their fault.

  • Also, in hindsight, we have to question a game that relies on Storybricks, for the Wow factor, a company they don’t even own.

  • No one is surprised but it is disappointing to hear. I personally never liked any screenshots, previews, videos, etc that they released. I did not think the graphic style worked with this ip.

    My personal theory is that they thought they had something brand new but in reality it was going to be just like GW2 but with some destructible environment thrown in. Every video I saw looked like GW2 gameplay to me. GW2 gets released and the devs panic and try to figure out a way to change it.

  • I haven’t been following is its development much, mainly cos I’m tired of getting hyped about games during development that never delivers on initial promises, but the game they where talking about initial I would have liked to play.

  • @Jenks: I just want to clarify that dynamic “EVENTS” will never lead to immersive content, not dynamic content as a whole. Dynamic content is created through player interaction, not pre-scripted events that reset on a timer.

    @Topauz: I think you nailed it. I expect they thought they had something next and then they realized it was a bastard child of GW2 gameplay and Landmark’s tech.

  • When they told us that Tunare was murdered in the Kithicor Forest by some random group of unnamed mobs; and that even worse, that undead sprouted forth from her blood; it fortold just how far they had strayed from their fan base and just how doomed their re-in vision of Norrath would become.

    I find it breath-taking that more than 15 years later, a sequel to such a popular and profitable game still has not been created. And not only do we not have a sequel, but the current state of Everquest is so different and much less compelling than the game was 10 years ago. The entire franchise is a mess and deserves a new home, run by developers who understand what used to make Everquest such a fun and challenging game.

    Until that time, I believe that Everquest’s creator Brad McQuaid, is well on his way to providing us with the Everquest sequel we have long been waiting for. I recommend all Everquest fans check out Pantheon Rise Of The Fallen.