The saga of Mythica (and other tales of MMO death and delay)

To say that delays are common in the MMO production schedule would be a fantastic understatement. Warhammer Online and Age of Conan's now almost-comical dancing act away from a release date can probably be traced right back to last year's launch of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Rob Pardo's well-known mantra of "polish, polish, polish" finally has a sort of anti-hero poster boy; a sterling example of what not to do when making one of these games. But, of course, WAR and AoC are just the latest examples of this trend. MMOs have been delaying or dying off since the days of Ultima Online.

Over at 1up they have a whole feature dedicated to notable game delays, and the Massive genre is proudly represented among those titles. At least, standing cheek-by-jowl with the likes of Daikatana and Sin Episodes, the MMOs on the list represent a lot of (wasted) potential. From the recent Gods and Heroes collapse all the way back to the on-again-off-again development of Ultima Online 2, the list takes in the long messy road of dead and dying MMOs. Probably the one I regret most is the 2004 cancellation of Microsoft's Mythica - a unique norse-themed instanced heavy fantasy title. Everyone that even knew about MMOs back then was very excited for it, as the designers and developers were very gung-ho about the creation of real storytelling experiences inside these crazy 'instance' things. Whole tiny pocket worlds! Amazing!

Living the dream, of course, was not to be. At least the game's idea lives on - along with the likes of Auto Assault, Imperator, and the quirky title-that-never was: Middle Earth Online.

This article was originally published on Massively.