Stargate Worlds Unofficially Officially Defunct

Just like Yoko and the Beatles

If MMO Fallout was alive back in 2008, I would likely reference back to an article detailing the death of Star Trek Online in the hands of Perpetual Entertainment, and what ultimately lead to the falling out of the title, into the hands of Cryptic Entertainment. The most important part of this story is to note that both of Perpetual Entertainment’s titles are in the hands of completely different entities, with Star Trek Online being released this past February by Cryptic Studios and Gods and Heroes to be released by Heatwave Interactive at some unknown point. The point being is that, despite the company going under, there is still the possibility of the game being picked up and released.

I say “unofficially officially” because, if Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment had an employee left, and you were to ask him if Stargate Worlds is canceled, he would probably say no. There’s no one working on it, no funds to work on it, and the company sold off its assets, but we don’t want to paint a dismal look at the future. Will the game be coming out this year? No. Will CME be developing it? No. Is there any hope? Well, you could look at Star Trek Online’s over-hundred-thousand subscribers and make up your own mind.

At this juncture, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment is selling off all of their assets, which will include their license to Stargate Worlds, assuming this sale hasn’t already taken place. As was the case with Perpetual Entertainment, Cheyenne will likely last until the duration of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy is finished, and then dissolve into the abyss of nonfunctional developers. Since Cheyenne has already fulfilled my first set of engagements for Stargate Worlds, I have a new set of possibilities:

  1. Stargate Worlds goes the way of Star Trek Online and Gods & Heroes and is picked up by another studio (Cryptic Studios?), who either collect what Cheyenne had or start anew. It is likely that this studio will be Fresh Start Studios, which is a new developer made up of ex-Cheyenne employees. How well the game does is irrelevant at this point, as we are simply dealing with post-closure events.
  2. The title is not picked up by anyone, and sits in limbo forever.

If the part about Fresh Start Studios picking up Stargate Worlds doesn’t happen, expect option #2. At this juncture, I find it difficult to believe that many studios would pick up the Stargate IP for an MMO.

More on Stargate Worlds if it ever appears, but it seems as if this saga is finally coming to an end.

Dungeon Runners: What Happened

“Dungeon Runners just isn’t cutting the mustard. If she were a ship, she’d be taking on water. Yeah, she’s been taking on water for a long time now. Are my cryptic references too hard to decipher? The game just isn’t profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable!”
-Stephen Nichols, NCsoft, on Dungeon Runners.

Today marks the first day of a new year, as well as the death of two MMOs: Dungeon Runners and Metaplace. Dungeon Runners shut down earlier this morning following an event that saw a giant bomb explode in the game’s main city: Townston. Here at MMO Fallout, “What Happened” has to be my least favorite section as, despite popular opinion, I don’t get my jollies from watching companies fall.

Continue reading “Dungeon Runners: What Happened”

Shadowbane: What Happened

Out of all the titles that appear on What Happened, Shadowbane is the longest running. At six years, I would agree that although the game shut down, it was definitely a success in all manner of speaking. One of the top selling PC games at launch back in 2003, Shadowbane is still considered one of the best open pvp MMOs on the market. Offering fully open player vs player combat in a dynamic world where players can morph terrain, hire AI guards and have them patrol, as well as building and destroying buildings.

Shadowbane was not without bad times, however, and unfortunately when the bad times hit, they were very bad. The game transitioned to a free to play in 2006, where ads would be shown at different points in the game (open, close, and upon death). The game still suffered from a number of bugs and glitches, and in 2008 would be completely rebooted.

In 2008, Shadowbane went offline to perform a complete reboot in order to stabilize the servers and increase performance. As a result, all characters were deleted and all houses were destroyed. Only three of the five servers were brought back online.

Shadowbane was, from the start, a cult hit that never truly got off the ground, despite the rabid following of its fans. On one side, Shadowbane may be the only example of an internet petition actually accomplishing something. The original shut down date of May 2009 was extended to July due to player feedback.

Overall, Shadowbane was an interesting period in several ways: For instance, it showed how successful a game with Ultima Online’s mechanics can be, one that is parroted by Darkfall and Mortal Online. It gave ultimate freedom to the players, and did away with instancing, pre-set plots for housing, and other standards of MMOs.

There is the possibility that Shadowbane will be making a comeback, in the form of a non-MMO title. Ubisoft has recently trademarked the title for non-MMO purposes.

The Matrix Online: What Happened

I’ve been sitting on the “What Happened” articles for Shadowbane and The Matrix Online for some time now, although I can’t explain why I’ve been waiting to put them out. With the upcoming shutdown of Dungeon Runners and Metaplace, I might as well get caught up on my shutdowns.

The Matrix Online launched back in March 2005, and truly had a lot going for it. An ever changing world, MxO had one of the best story systems in the MMO industry: One that changed by the week. Story progression took the part of new missions every few weeks, while live events were the main staple of immersion; with developers taking the part of the game’s NPCs and acting out live events, including the assassination of Morpheus. Players were brought into the storyline through hints of the following events that would appear over the city, such as certain billboards, or suspicious agents appearing.

Continue reading “The Matrix Online: What Happened”

Mechscape Cancelled, Stellar Dawn Coming 2010


It always pains me to see an MMO fail before it is even launched. As is the case with Mechscape, Jagex’s upcoming Science Fiction MMO, a spiritual successor to Runescape, as CEO Mark Gerhard confirmed to Eurogamer today that the title is indeed canned.

In an interview with, Mark Gerhard had this to say:

Sadly the game was not as complete as we wanted and we spent the first few months trying to “fix” the game where we could. About a month or so ago we took the decision to stop trying to “fix it” as we still wouldn’t have the game we wanted and the game certainly did not meet all the objectives and specifications established in the original game design document and therefore it would be better to go back to the founding principles and build the game we always wanted –Andrew [Gower] is now overseeing the project and working very closely with the team to build Stellar Dawn, not all was lost as we naturally have developed the game engine substantially over the last few years and the new designs benefits massively from this as well as a ton of experience within the team as to what works and what doesn’t. So whilst the content and a lot of the game play will change from what was previously built almost everything else will go straight back into Stellar Dawn.” – Mark Gerhard

With the death of one comes the rise of another. Innovations brought about by the production of Mechscape have gone towards the production of Stellar Dawn, a different yet somehow similar MMO to the little guy who never had a chance.

Hopefully Jagex has learned the same truth that Richard Garriot learned with Tabula Rasa: Just because you are an established name, does not guarantee all of your products will succeed.

On that note, it is good to see Jagex catching up to the rest of the mmo world in terms of features. The company just launched a name changing service, and is currently beta testing a feature to see a log of your character’s activity, including amount of time played (see WoW Armory)

Instanced Vs Persistent: The Guild Wars Debate

Ask someone if World of Warcraft is an MMO, and you’re bound to receive a raised eyebrow, and the kind of look you can generally only get when you ask how to download the internet on to your computer so you can go online. World of Warcraft is a persistent world, where players travel across miles of open terrain, fighting varied mobs, gaining levels, fighting other players, completing instances, etc. There is no doubt for many players that World of Warcraft is an MMO.

Continue reading “Instanced Vs Persistent: The Guild Wars Debate”

SOE 2009 Address

Sony Online Entertainment did their Fan Faire Press release this year, and seeing as how they have the largest collection of MMO’s in the list, I just had to have a look at what is on the horizon for their titles, and for the company itself.

I’d like to note on Sony themselves. Despite what I may think about the rest of Sony, I give SOE a lot of credit for the dedication they have to their games. Unlike NCSoft that more closely resembles the guy sitting on his porch with a shotgun waiting for someone to slip up, SOE has a strong dedication to their products, and does everything in their power to make sure that the remaining population, as small as they may be, continue to enjoy what they enjoy, and supports their products long after any other company might consider them to be “dead”.

So I have a lot of respect for Sony Online Entertainment, even though at the same time I have a lot of contempt for the boneheaded mistakes they’ve made in the past, namely the NGE updates for Star Wars Galaxies, and implementing legal real world trading in the Everquest titles. They didn’t talk about many of their existing games at this conference, mainly Everquests and Free Realms, with some Star Wars Galaxies thrown in. So without further ado, here is Sony.

Continue reading “SOE 2009 Address”

Tabula Rasa: What Happened

Tabula Rasa was an MMORPG that blended role playing with 3rd person shooter tactics, in an open ended and dynamic war waged between the human and bane forces. The game focused on Logos, artifacts that players collect to enable certain powers. While the game focused on PvE play, the introduction of PvP content introduced war games, allowing various game modes to be played between warring clans.

Unlike most other MMO’s that feature a targeting system and auto-attacks with the addition of hotbar attacks, Tabula Rasa features a targeting system for only some weapons, combined with a third person shooter system, and rpg hit/miss and damage calculations. Tabula Rasa focused on the war aspect of the game, and both sides of the war would launch attacks on each other’s bases. It was completely possible to lose a base to the Bane forces, meaning that access to the NPC’s, vendors, spawn points, teleport locations, and anything else located in the base would become inaccessible until the area was retaken.

So where did Tabula Rasa fail? The easiest way to answer that is unfulfilled promises. The game launched with very little, if any, end-game content, and the developers took so long to introduce any inkling of end-game content that many of the players who had reached the level cap had quit long beforehand. Certain promises of player-driven mechs, pvp wargames, and more, weren’t fulfilled until literally a month before the game shut down. Richard Garriot also left the company a few weeks before the announcement of shutdown.

Inevitably, player count went down sharply, resulting in the game getting the axe for subpar subscriber numbers.


Continue reading “Tabula Rasa: What Happened”

Auto Assault: What Happened

On August 31, 2007, Auto Assault was given the final shutdown, after a failed attempt to sell the IP to NCSoft, despite various offers from 3rd parties to buy the rights to the IP and continue running servers based around the game.

Auto Assault is one of the shorter running MMO’s, from April 2006 to August 2007. The title suffered from, as many starter MMO’s do, the lack of subscribers that eventually pulled the project into the ground.

Auto Assault takes place in the distant future, and is a post-apocalyptic MMO. The player takes control of a vehicle that is equipped with weapons, and all of the action is real time, 3rd person perspective. It is only during short intervals in safe cities that the player is able to leave their vehicle and actually walk around. Despite the game’s shortcomings, the concept was very creative, and offered a nice alternative to the usual walking around and bashing stuff with a sword, to driving around and shooting stuff.

The question that is inevitably asked is; “Was Auto Assault doomed from the start?”, and the answer to that question is a defiant “probably.” Auto Assault had the unfortunate timing of being the “Starter MMO” released by Net Devil, who reportedly has a staff of a whopping fourteen people. Without a doubt, Auto Assault is a niche title that didn’t appeal to the massive audience, but even then it didn’t appeal to enough of an audience required to keep an MMO floating on the water. The project was ambitious for such a small development team, and as many risky titles go, this one fizzled out. Wrong time, wrong company.

Net Devil does not currently have any other MMO’s on the market, although the developer is currently working on two titles for release in the 2009-2010 time frame.

Asheron’s Call 2: What Happened

Dear AC2 subscribers,

In spite of our hard work and the launch of Legions, AC2 has reached the point where it no longer makes sense to continue the service. We will be officially closing the Asheron’s Call 2 service on 12/30/05. Until then, we plan to run live events, but we will not be adding any content or features.

We deeply appreciate the many dedicated fans of AC2 who have stood by us over the years. You have our sincerest gratitude.

Best regards,

Jeffrey Anderson
CEO, Turbine

Asheron’s Call 2 launched on November 22, 2002, as a sequel to the popular Asheron’s Call, developed and published by Turbine Entertainment Software. The game boasted an extensive crafting system with no level caps, that allowed players to excel in everything from various armor crafting, to weapons making, and onward. Experience was gained by questing, monster hunting, and even turning in treasure for gold. The player vs player mechanics were always consensual, offering a combination of duels, pvp zones, and pvp dedicated servers.

So what happened? Asheron’s Call, the original, is still running! For starters; Asheron’s Call 2 failed to gain the attention of the fans of the original, who cited massive gameplay changes, calling the game a sequel “only in name.” Asheron Call 2’s subscriber numbers peaked at a paltry 50,000, and depleted down to an estimated 10 to 15 thousand, as estimated by While Everquest/Everquest 2 shared the same scenario as Asheron’s Call, the major difference is that Everquest 2 managed to bring in enough new players to supplement those that would not transition over from the original, enough to stay afloat and continue expanding. Everquest was, and still is, a household title to the MMO genre, and such an ambitious venture did nothing but benefit SOE. Asheron’s Call, on the other hand, is not a household name, and was not equipped well enough for such a project.

Asheron’s Call 2 is lived on by its predecessor, Asheron’s Call. Although Turbine refuses to reveal numbers, it is estimated that Asheron’s Call has dropped below 10 thousand subscribers, meaning its days may be numbered as well.

%d bloggers like this: