Russel Shanks of DayBreak Games took the interwebs today to announce the company’s cancellation of it’s flagship game, EverQuest Next.  EverQuest Next was to be the continuation of the EverQuest franchise, which ushered MMOs through their infancy into the genre that it is today.  Early journalist review said it was like nothing in the genre, with an interactivity and responsiveness in world AI that didn’t exist anywhere else. The news comes as a blow to MMO gamers, and raises larger questions about what the future of DayBreak Games is, if any at all.  

While it wasn’t the first MMO, EverQuest put the genre into the lime light.  The post on DayBreak’s website reveals little about why they made the decision, other than arcane nod to “it was really hard…”, which feels like a “we have to give a reason, and this one is likely to get us the least pushback.” .  Shanks offers next to nothing about the future of the franchise, other than a commitment to continue to the first two installments, both of which are over the 10 years old and have shrinking player bases. This news will likely only increase the exodus from the EverQuest games, as it’s clear there’s no plan for the franchise.

Equally clear is the fact that Shanks wrote none of this himself–it has been thoroughly bleached by the PR team.

I’m very surprised, but not surprise at the same time.  Daybreak hasn’t said anything about EverQuest Next for nigh going on a year.  Most of us who follow these things were expecting either a cancellation announcement, or a surprise launch.  I think everyone erred on the surprise launch because of the importance of the EverQuest franchise to the ongoing success of DayBreak Games. Well, we were wrong.

Now that we have official word that the game is cancelled, the question becomes what’s next for the EverQuest franchise?   According to an interview on MMORPG.com, apparently not much.

Shanks plays it just as close to the chest as he did on his post on the DayBreak website.  While he reaffirms the commitment to the “passion” of the EverQuest franchise.  He gives no specifics outside of that.  He briefly discusses several other DayBreak franchises in the interview, but always in terms of “doubling down” on what they’ve got.  He even flat out says there’s no plans for anything new.  At all.

This whole situation says to me is the Columbus Nova, may their name cause lice, is looking to liquidate the company. When you make an earth-shattering and genre impacting announcement like this, you should also include a “but look what you are getting instead!”  There’s none of that here.  With no new development happening, no ‘consolation prize’, and essentially killing off their flagship franchise, it’s clear to me that Columbus Nova, may their name cause an infestation of roaches, has no long-term plans for DayBreak.

Alas, Daybreak has a limited number of a day’s left to break, mark my words.  We, the players, lose out on what by all accounts promised to be a fantastic, compelling gaming experience. And the world is less for it. If MassivelyOP‘s comment thread on the announcement is any indication, the players are not happy.