At Daybreak you shall know their True Colors

It took no more than 10 days for Columbus Nova, new owners of the late SOE, to announce their first layoffs at Daybreak consisting of former MMO staff members from Austin and San Diego studios, including figureheads such as director of development Dave Georgeson, lore expert Steve Danuser or CM Linda “Brasse” Carlson.

I am perplexed. There go knowledge authorities and community figures that have steered the hype train for this next generation of Everquest games and especially Landmark, for months and months. And sure, it takes many excellent people to develop MMOs but let’s not kid ourselves – when you remove the lead singer, drummer and lead guitarist of a band your fans have come to love and follow, you are basically leaving that audience with a corpse. And you don’t care.

If there was any trust left in me when I wrote about my EQN misgivings yesterday, it has been shattered with the layoffs of Dave G. and team, people who tirelessly engaged with the community on the forums and signalboosted Landmark builds on twitter ever since alpha. They all deserved so much better than this.

This is another dark day for MMO players. Anyone who believes this could be a potentially positive thing for Landmark and EQN’s development (because the guys calling the shots behind Daybreak have all these “awesome and fresh MMO ideas”?) will sadly come to regret it, I fear. Nobody who has earnest plans to continue a project and legacy like Everquest and gives a damn about the community would just lay off the know-how and trust owners of the franchise. Re-asses strategy? – Okay. Re-organize management level? – Okay. But the fact that core team members are not kept around to consult on further development is all you need to know.

I’ve been an unwilling herald of bad news lately and so be it: I foresee no future in which the EQN that we’ve got presented at SOE Live 2014 will come to completion. Daybreak will cut their losses and either really release EQN status whatever “in the near future” as announced, or this project will be shelved Titan style within another three to six months, maybe to be disemboweled and re-purposed. And by the gods of Norrath, I hope I am wrong!

16 comments

  1. I was already questioning the captain(s) and whether or not they knew where we were going or how we’d get there. Now with the only faces I even semi-trusted gone, I am squeezing into the life preserver and bracing for some really stormy seas.

    1. Myeah it’s hard to build trust when your spearheads have just been chopped off. I mean, I have zero reason to trust Daybreak.

  2. Everquest is bigger than Verant, SOE and certainly Daybreak. These servers may close. There may even be no online instance of EQ. Doesn’t matter. Norrath will endure.

    Good luck to all who got their cards today. I’m sure they’ll all be snapped up and we’ll be hearing from them soon.

    1. No doubt they’ll be going places, nonetheless it’s a harsh world. And your words in god’s ears about Norrath. But I guess one thing they can never ruin is the memories.

  3. Acquisition can be done for many reasons. Sometimes a company will buy another because they want a specific things. On other occasions companies will assimilate another just to own a patent or to prevent a rival products from going to market.

    However strange it may seem to the end user, there is obviously a game plan being followed here with regard to Daybreak. The sad reality is that their road map may not include your or my needs. C’est la vie

    1. Well obviously they have a plan. I guess what concerns so many of us is how is this still going to be/feel like the Everquest fans have come to love? If they turn the whole franchise into a zombie, that will be a sad day for MMO fans.

  4. Seems to me that they bought SOE strictly to milk existing games. Or for the intellectual property to use against other software companies (“Hellooo, Blizzard.”)

    I’m surprised that they started laying people off only 10 days into their ownership of SOE. Typically you’d want a period of quiet where you look into what the assets are and what you want to do –then you go off chopping heads– but it seems that the owners already knew what they wanted –the IP– and that was that.

    1. It seems that they have already taken that time in advance. No doubt they knew their targets at acquisition. Of course there’s nothing new about removing the management level of a company at takeover, but in this particular case they also removed the knowledge, expertise, heart and street-cred of these projects, which means they don’t care about the fallout. They do not count the current demography into their next target audience, so yes, I think everyone who is expecting to see EQN the console game, has the right of it.

  5. I am not at all invested in Norrath or the EQ franchise. I was excited for EQN because they looked to be doing something a little different; to be pushing the limits a little.

    I am mostly pissed of at these developments (the acquistion, the layoffs) because I see some much-needed innovation and experimentation being flushed away for no good reason, and I dread to think how long it will now be before another developer has the courage to try these ideas out.

    1. Well, we’ll see….maybe the new management is really fresh and awesome with revolutionary ideas nobody has ever had yet!

      ……………

  6. Sadly, I’m feeling the same as you. I don’t have a lot of hope that we’ll see EQN in any form like it was originally presented to us. I don’t know what it means for the legacy products. While I’ve only been an EQ2 player on and off over the years since launch (and briefly dabbled with EQ1 many years ago), this is really a sad time for the MMO community.

    1. At this point, I’d be more saddened to see the old EQ/EQ2 communities having to close shop because the older games are being discontinued, than I am over the loos of EQN-that-was. Anything that’s not very profitable will go.

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