The pain and suffering of MMO shutdowns

Like life itself, the MMO industry doesn't often seem fair -- promising games can die premature deaths while creaky antiques continue to chug along just fine. When an MMO like APB or Tabula Rasa announces that it's closing its doors after only a couple years (or months), the first reaction is usually to ask, "What in Sam Hill happened and why are they doing this to me?" Yet what isn't always considered is the emotional fallout on behalf of the devs.

Over at Kotaku, Michael Fahey examined the fallout when MMOs are shuttered prematurely, using the examples of Auto Assault and The Matrix Online as case studies. NetDevil spent four years developing the former, which lasted a mere fraction of that time -- 16 months -- as a live game. Ryan Seabury testifies to the pain that this causes for a dev team: "I won't lie, it hurts like hell still over four years later... Naturally, if a universe like Auto Assault that you sort of mentally attach to over multiple years suddenly ceases to exist, it's like a part of you dies." He personally points to NCsoft as the reason for Auto Assault's closure, stating that the game might still be in operation if it wasn't for the publisher's lack of faith.

On the flip side, The Matrix Online had a longer run and plenty of time to prepare for the end once word was passed down. Then-Community Manager Daniel Myers says that the decision was a matter of dollars and sense. Still, Myers admits that it continues to affect him: "There are still days that I wish I could log in and see the Megacity again. I don't know [if] that will ever completely stop. I kind of hope it doesn't."

This article was originally published on Massively.