Whatever happened to…. Investigating Lost MMOs

The following is a guest post by Guaka. If you’d like to write a guest post for We Fly Spitfires, please feel free to contact me about it.

Warcraft makes a lot of money. Like, a LOT. So it occurred to several game developing studios that they might like a piece of that action. This has led to a whole host of MMOs currently in development. I thought I’d have a little look at just some of the games that are lost, cancelled or have had their chance and were killed off.

I’ll start with MMOs that are, or were, (1950’s sci-fi movie voice) LOST IN THE MISTS OF DEVELOPMENT PURGATORY!!!!

MYTHOS:

Originally developed by Flagship Studios Seattle now at HanbitSoft.

24823_mythos-01_normal1

Mythos as it looked in March 2008

Mythos was developed by a group of ex-Blizzard employees and it was intended for the game to feel like a massively multi-player Diablo, with randomized dungeons and aimed squarely at the casual market.

The game was supposed to be free to download and free to play and would be a kind of a bigger equivalent of Hellgate: London.

Well… Hellgate came out but Mythos didn’t. What happened? It seems as though Flagship Seattle weren’t doing too well financially (Hellgate had been called ‘”a major failure” by Flagship CEO Bill Roper) and had to lay off most of its staff. So, even though Mythos was actually in closed beta, the developers went out of business and Mythos was put on indefinite hiatus.

The story doesn’t end there though, HanbitSoft (a South Korean publisher), acquired the game and intellectual property rights. HanbitSoft have gone on record saying that Mythos is being “reconstructed” and they are aiming to release it in Korea and North America.

STARGATE: WORLDS

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Concept art from Stargate: Worlds

Concept art from Stargate: Worlds

The Stargate franchise started with the 1994 film and is still going strong today (Stargate: Universe looks pretty damn good). The MMO was announced back in February of 2006 and there were lots of updates and concept art keeping gamers informed and all seemed well.

The game would see you taking on one of at least seven ‘archetypes’ and explore the expanded universe established by Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. The archetypes included Asgard (a kind of caster/pet-user hybrid), Commando (a stealth based rogue type) and Soldier works as a Jack(O’Neill) of all trades.

Then the world economy hit some trouble and one of the casualties was Stargate: Worlds. There were fewer updates and, as time went on, it was assumed that the game had died poor and alone.

Things are looking up for Stargate: Worlds as it now has its own YouTube channel and series creator Brad Wright quoted as saying the game is “just around the corner”… in May 2008. The new screens on the website look great and I have high hopes for a good sci-fi action based MMO.

ELITE IV

Frontier Developments

Sorry, no screens just the logo!

Sorry, no screens just the logo!

Elite 4 is the third sequel to the space trading game that a lot of us grew up with. David Braben the designer of the original Elite has gone on record (see Gamespot for these interviews) with some new information about a game that was considered myth by some and legend by others…

Apparently, development started on Elite 4 in 2000 as an MMORPG and stopped very soon after. The reason given was “at the time [Internet] connectivity was rubbish”. Braben didn’t want to make a game beyond the capabilities of the Internet of the time.

The indications are that when Frontier’s work on their current project ‘The Outsider’ is finished work will begin on two versions of Elite; one a single player game and the other a MMORPG.

The Outsider is due out this Christmas so we should see an Elite MMO by… 2012? EVE Online may soon have some competition.

UNTITLED BLIZZARD PROJECT

ummm, Blizzard

I dunno

I dunno

Nope, I have no new information for this one. There was a post on the World of Warcraft forums from Zarhym that said “it’ll be a brand new franchise” and “it’s a shell of a game thus far”.

It could really be anything, but I’m hoping for something sci-fi. Actually, I’m hoping for World of Starcraft but it doesn’t look like I’ll get it.

 

Yikes, I’ll take a break here and come back with a selection of cancelled MMOs. See you then!

Guaka

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9 Comments

  1. Gordon says:

    Mythos always looked like it had potential. Kinda reminded me of a Diablo MMO. Shame it seems to have lost traction although maybe it can be salvaged by the Koreans… but I’m not crossing my fingers.

  2. Stabs says:

    Mythos looks great, hope it eventually releases.

    Blizzard are on record as saying their mystery MMO is a new IP.

  3. Blizzard’s been working on this new mystery MMO for a year or two now. It’s amazing to me nothing’s leaked out about it.

  4. Geckomayhem says:

    I’m wondering whatever happened to Stargate: Worlds. Ambitious to be sure, and they had the backing of a great franchise. Was it really the recession that put them on the back foot or is something else afoot? Everything early- to mid-2008 indicated that things were coming to a head; but has beta even been entered into now, as we near Q4 2009?

  5. Quite informative. Stargate has always been my favorite show. Good read.

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