Today Masthead Studios announced that their sandbox MMOFPS, Earthrise, will be shutting down today permanently, and the free-to-play version has also been canceled barring any new investor interest.
Earthrise was plagued with troubles from the start with bugs, not enough features, and just a lack-luster MMO experience all around. In November, Masthead Studios announced that Earthrise would be closed to all new players, but would remain open and free for currently players while they transitioned the game to a free-to-play model. Unfortunately, it looks like the studio has run out of money and will have to shut down.
Below is the official announcement from the Earthrise forums.
“One year after the launch of the game, we have decided to stop the Earthrise servers. Earthrise was released too early and did not meet the expectations of its fans” said Atanas Atanasov, Director of Masthead Studios. “We did our best to revive the game in 2011, but the time was not enough to keep up with the user requirements. There is a huge interest in high quality open world sandbox MMORPGs, unfortunately the big publishers do not show any interest in the genre. It is unfortunate that low-budget companies like ours are trying to bring innovativeness in the already saturated MMO market. I hope that one day an independent studio will be able to release the long anticipated open world sandbox MMO, which everyone is talking about, but no one is making. We tried, but did not succeed. We would like to apologize to those who were disappointed from Earthrise and to thank everyone who supported us during the years.”
The free to play version of Earthrise, which was planned for 2012 may be released only if there is investor or publisher interest.
We tried to make better game in terms of server and client performance. That means to us that we had to fix over 100 problems, reported by you or by our Q&A team, before we start the F2P model. However the latest internal test showed that we need at least 4 more months to complete this task. It is too long period, and we don’t have the resources to do that. Atanas did his best to find investors, but it is a very hard task during the world economic crisis.
We don’t abandon the Earthrise project completely. But it will be postponed for better times. We even thought to continue providing services for game for free, but it would still require investments. Instead of that we decided to focus on other projects, but it will be Ostiak, who can give additional information. Meanwhile we will keep the Earthrise forums and we will still use them. I hope one day I will put much better news there.
While I never played Earthrise, I was looking forward to the F2P relaunch, so hopefully they’ll find some investors or a new publisher that will be able to fund them.
“There is a huge interest in high quality open world sandbox MMORPGs, unfortunately the big publishers do not show any interest in the genre. It is unfortunate that low budget companies like ours are trying to bring innovativeness in the already saturated MMO market. I hope that one day an independent studio will be able to release the long anticipated open world sandbox MMO, which everyone is talking about, but no one is making.”
He really hit the nail in the head with this one.
Sad to see Earthrise go, but I’m not exactly surprised. The game had some potential, but the state in which it was launched was absolutely horrible.