Sigil Games Online, developers of upcoming MMORPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, announced today that they'd be co-publishing the game with Sony Online Entertainment after "it became clear that [Microsoft Games Studios] and Sigil had varying visions and direction for the title's development," according to Brad McQuaid, CEO of Sigil Games Online, as quoted in a company press release on the break-up.

It's rare that a game in beta switches publishers. We have no inside information, but a little digging makes it clear that something's not quite right fresh in Denmark. At least one high-profile game designer recently quit, and Sigil's CEO has been defending the game from legions of WoW Fanboys doubters that have been questioning whether it'll ever be commercially viable.

The surest sign that the game may be in choppy waters is the fact that McQuaid's now doing business with SOE after his high-profile departure from the same company in the fall of 2001. According to MMOG-community gossip circulating at the time, this departure was also the result of diverging creative visions between McQuaid and Sony on the evolution of Everquest, the successful MMORPG that McQuaid co-founded and designed.

Smart observers suggest that the culprit behind all of the churn und drama is the tremendous success of World of Warcraft. To wit: how will Vanguard fare against WoW and the other bajillion MMOGs slated for release? For reaction to this announcement from MMORPG insiders, check the FoH forums, where the unruly mob is being characteristically brutal. Even the President of Sony Online Entertainment is trolled into doing some damage control.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

Today in Joystiq: May 5, 2006