Sony Shutting Down Four MMOs, Teases New Titles

Kids' games are for the chop, while an upcoming project will apparently be of interest to Star Wars Galaxies fans.

News by Pete Davison, .

It's apparently MMO news week. Not only is there a wealth of new Final Fantasy XIV information coming a little later today, but Sony Online Entertainment has plenty to talk about, too.

First up, the bad news: SOE is shutting down four of its games, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Wizardry Online, Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures.

Vanguard, will come to a halt on July 31 of this year after being in service since 2007. For the most part, it was a fairly straightforward high fantasy MMORPG, but it was particularly notable for its "Diplomacy" mechanic, which operated independently from its adventuring and crafting components. In a Diplomacy parley, players would square off against an opponent in what essentially amounts of a collectable card game representing a discussion -- an idea that turned out to be better in principle than in practice. Unfortunately, the player numbers just aren't there to keep Vanguard viable for Sony, and with technical issues starting to rear their heads, the team has decided to shutter the game and focus on new projects.

They've just heard their game is shutting down. No wonder they look glum.

Wizardry Online, meanwhile, is a Japanese-developed MMO adaptation of the long-running Wizardry franchise that was particularly noteworthy for its inclusion of a permadeath mechanic -- one of the few MMOs out there to offer a severe penalty for death rather than a minor inconvenience. Wizardry Online, too, will be closing its virtual doors on July 31 of this year.

Alongside the more hardcore-oriented experiences of Vanguard and Wizardry Online was Free Realms, one of the first free-to-play MMOs specifically designed for children to play -- and one of the first games to feature cross-platform play between PlayStation 3 and home computer platforms. It featured a wide variety of activities to engage with, ranging from exploration and adventure quests to various minigames that could be played solo or against other players. Free Realms is being shut down on March 31 of this year, at least partly because, according to SOE president John Smedley, "kids do mean stuff to each other a lot" -- and also they don't spend well.

Finally, Clone Wars Adventures was, as its name suggests, an adaptation of the Star Wars Clone Wars TV series into a massively multiplayer environment. Like Free Realms, it was a largely kid-centric game, and once again it is closing down on March 31 of this year due to it becoming impractical to run.

In most cases, members with a subscription to these games will receive an automatic upgrade to the All Access membership Sony announced a while back. In this way, SOE is hoping that the existing player bases will find a new game to engage with rather than simply feeling like they have been cast adrift -- though after calling these game worlds homes for several years in many cases, some players are seemingly finding the idea of being uprooted a little distressing if the official forums are anything to go by.

It's not all doom and gloom out of SOE, however: the first piece of good news is that EverQuest Next has been officially confirmed for PlayStation 4. Smedley specifically noted that those who enjoyed the ambitious but flawed Ultima Online would get a kick out of EverQuest Next. Sounds good, but there's still an awful lot we don't know about the new game -- most of the news trickling out of SOE so far has been about the Minecraft-esque spinoff title EverQuest Next Landmark.

Alongside the EverQuest Next news, Smedley said that Planetside 2 was still coming for PS4, but the "first half of this year" was as specific as he could get. "It's taking time to do this right, but coming along great," he said on Reddit, where he often engages with the SOE community as a whole.

With one eye on the success of Hearthstone, SOE is also considering a revamp of its Legends of Norrath EverQuest card game. "After seeing what Blizzard did with Hearthstone it's given us some other ideas," said Smedley. "[Legends of Norrath] is an awesome card game. We can take that to the next level." Legends of Norrath is noteworthy for featuring connectivity with both EverQuest and EverQuest II, both of which are still up and running even as the third installment in the series is looming. In fact, both are getting new expansions soon.

Finally, Smedley teased than an unannounced MMO project the team was working on would be of particular interest to former Star Wars Galaxies players. "SWG PLAYERS," he typed to the Reddit community in all caps, "OUR NEXT GAME IS DEDICATED TO YOU. Once we launch it... you can come home now."

Whether this will be enough to bring back the Star Wars Galaxies players who felt burned numerous times by SOE -- firstly when the game got a total and initially rather unwelcome revamp in 2005, and then again when it was shuttered completely in December of 2011 -- remains to be seen, but Smedley seems positive about the as-yet unannounced project, which is also based on "completely new IP," apparently. If you're a former SWG player, you may just want to keep an eye on what SOE is up to in the near future.

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Comments 8

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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #1 Funny_Colour_Blue 4 years ago
    I liked Free Realms. I only played it for a few minutes, but from what I played it felt like a really watered down version of GTA.

    I'm upset that it's going away. Like Playstation Home, it didn't really have a "purpose". I mean, the game wasn't great - far from it - but the fact that it's being pulled, I feel is very much a sign of the tight fisted industry we're heading towards.

    !Edited 2 times. Last edited January 2014 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #2 brionfoulke91 4 years ago
    Going by your picture, Vaguard apparently is an MMO with blatant tarutaru clones. Sounds like "diplomacy" was just an excuse to wedge collectible card games in there.

    The only one that sounded interesting was the Wizardry MMO... permadeath in an MMO sound like a very compelling feature. I've never been all that into the wizardry games, but I would love to see a more popular MMO adopt that sort of harsh penalty, I think it's exactly the kind of thing MMO's need to stay fresh.
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #3 Shadowfire 4 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 The picture is from Wizardry. Vanguard looks like a slightly prettier EQ. And played like one, too.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #4 brionfoulke91 4 years ago
    @Shadowfire Wow. That sure looks way different than the classic Wizardry games.
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #5 Shadowfire 4 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Yea. The series was popular among a niche in Japan, and eventually had its own titles in the country, as well as (I think) an anime series.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #6 SatelliteOfLove 4 years ago
    I get what you're dropping, Nimzy, but alot of those are in Asian countries where alot of people change MMOs like they change clothes. There's much much more competition over there and WoW didnt have a deathgrip on the wallets and minds of a vast majority of the playerbase like in NA/EU.

    ""kids do mean stuff to each other a lot" -- and also they don't spend well."

    Hahaha...oh man. Fun quote.

    I hope the Radiant Historia guys bounce back from that; going permadeath in an MMO is a neat idea that needs more interest.
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  • Avatar for elsayedosama #7 elsayedosama 2 years ago
    من المعروف ان تنظيف المنازل من بين اهم الخدمات الضرورية في التنظيف والترقية بمنازلنا الى مصاف المنازل العصرية والتي عرفت تنظيفا عصريا من شانه ان يوفر لساكنته ظروفا حياتية راقية ولابد من توفر هيئة تختص في المجال مع تقديم ضمانات متكاملة من شانه ان تجعل الافراد يضمنون نجاح خدمة التنظيف ولا حاجة للمزيد من ضياع الاموال عبر طلبات خدمة تنظيف المنازل التي لا تلبي حاجياتهم ولا تتماشى مع رغباتهم لأن العديد من شركات تنظيف المنازل تسعى فقط الى عرض خدماتها عبر طرق ترويجية فحسب من اجل كسب المال فقط دون مراعاة الوازع الاخلاقي والضمير المهني الذي يحتم على مدراء مثل هاته الشركات ان يسعوا خلف ارضاء العملاء ليس اكثر من هذا عبر اتقان تنظيف المنازل .
    ومن اجل اثراء الواقع الخدماتي الذي يدخل في اطار تنظيف ونظافة المنازل اردنا ان نساهم معكم في ذلك، وذلك بالإعلان عن الخدمات المميزة في هذا المجال والتي ترفع شعار تنظيف المنازل والتي تحولت الى وجهة حقيقية يطلب خدماتها الالاف من عملاء تنظيف المنازل وكلهم امل ويقين وقناعة بالمستوى الراقي الذي تحققه الشركة لهم من جودة في تنظيف المنازل سرعة في تنظيف المنازل ,ضمان في تنظيف المنازل، انية في تنظيف المنازل، وهذا كله راجع لما تملكهمن امكانيات هامة في المجال من افضل اليات تنظيف المنازل، ارقى وسائل وإمكانيات تنظيف المنازل، جميع ارقى وأفضل مطهرات المنازل والتي ساعدت في انتشار تلك الشركات على نحو واسع من مناطق المدينة المنورة حتى اصبحت متداولة بين كل العملاء والواقع الميداني يشهد على صحة ما نقول عبر المنازل التي عرفت عمليات تنظيف واسعة النطاق ساعدت في رضا ملاكها بصورة متكاملة من الضمان.
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  • Avatar for osamairfan #8 osamairfan A year ago
    That was a super cool article dude. Keep it up.
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