EverQuest Next is Dead – Officially

It’s official: EverQuest Next is Dead

Rumors of its demise were said to have been greatly exaggerated, but EverQuest Next is officially dead. When I proclaimed here a year ago that EverQuest Next was dead (at least as we knew it, if not in fact) it drew the ire of many. Oh the nasty PMs I received from /r/eqnext users… but I get it – people are passionate about EverQuest. Passionate enough to indicate things I should do to myself that are physiologically improbable, even.

Look, I’ve been around the block a few times, this ain’t my first rodeo, <insert random euphemism to basically say I’m getting old>, and I’ve seen software projects succeed and fail in person over the years. It happens, more often than most people even realize. With EverQuest Next, my assessment that the hype machine had been cranked up way beyond sustainable levels seems  to have been accurate. Sometimes a project is too ambitious; perhaps not technically, but often fiscally. Certainly the dismissal of many of the big names at the helm of the EQ Next project was the first canary in the mine shaft.

Today Daybreak Games’ President, Russell Shanks officially announced  the cancellation in a post entitled  “EQN News: A Letter from Daybreak’s President”

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 Nextwould 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

EverQuestt NextRest in peace, EverQuest Next.

I really feel that they’re making the right choice here. EQ Next was realistically not likely to live up to the expectations of the fans. It became a “white whale” project for the development team and when Sony Online Entertainment got bought a little over a year ago, the people in charge of the project were let go. I think the biggest issue the EverQuest Next community had/will continue to have with Daybreak Games is the lack of transparency. As recently as September of 2015 in an article on mmorpg.com DBG said that the project was fine and they’d show the game when it was ready to show. A lot can obviously change in  6 months during a massive software development project like EverQuest Next, but based on the (limited) knowledge we had about the internal development woes it was possible to infer much.

I’m simultaneously relieved and saddened by this news. As many commenters on the original article posted here indicated, we as a community of EQ fans would largely rather it be scrapped than be a sub-par release that no one wanted to play. That holds true for me today. Better to let it go and die a merciful death than to tarnish the franchise and dilute the brand.

I haven’t touched EverQuest for quite some time at this point, but know we all know that officially EverQuest Next is dead – so we all know that we won’t be journeying in that particular rendition of Norrath, but here’s hoping something great will rise from the ashes of EQ Next.

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