The Rise and Fall of Auto Assault

Way back in 2006, NCSoft launched one of the most unique MMO games I had ever seen. It wasn’t based in the fantasy world of orcs and elves, nor was it based in space like EVE Online. This game was set in a more “Mad Max” type theme of mutants, cyborgs, and deathcars. It was quite a game, and one that I personally found to be quite fun. Unfortunately, last summer the game was cancelled due to having too low suscriber numbers to support it. It was a sad day for those who loved it, and it was a sad day for NetDevil, the developing company behind the game. So why did the game fail to achieve any sort of mass appeal?

Well, to be honest, I am not quite sure what was wrong with the game. The graphics were fairly capable (not the best but not the worst) and the gameplay was fast and furious. This was not a WoW-clone where you sat and waiting for your attacks to get carried out. In Auto Assault you were constantly driving around and planning your attacks and skills. If anything, the game was almost too fast.

In addition to the fast combat, the game utilized the Havok engine for most of it’s physics processing. This means that a lot of the world was fully destructible. While cruising down the highways you could smash through any number of small buildings which would shatter brilliantly into a dozen or more pieces. It was quite fun just roaming around. . .

In the end, the mass of MMO players just did not seem ready for an MMO like Auto Assault. It was completely off from the norm and back in 2006, nobody was really pining for change in the industry. Today, the landscape for MMOs is much different as many gamers are calling for new games with fresh ideas. Had Auto Assault been developed for today’s market with today’s technology it may have survived and actually become successful. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and because it failed back then chances are we won’t ever see another game of it’s type. A sad, sad truth. . .


  1. The title is horrible and the marketing was bad.
    I had heard about it once or twice but I always thought it was some sort of early 1990’s game on america online or something.
    I never once took it serious.

  2. I disagree with the concept that Auto Assault was ahead of its time because noone wanted innovative MMOs in 2006. Auto Assault had a great concept and didnt do enough with it resulting in gameplay that just felt odd. Healer-class cars? Give me a break!

    If you released Auto Assault again today it would suffer the same face-planting flop that it did before.

    There are lots of innovative MMOs that have had success. The trick is to buy into your innovation wholesale rather than take the standard gameplay systems (such as classes) and slap them onto an inappropriate foundation, which is what Auto Assault did.

  3. Sorry but I disagree with you, it would STILL FAIL today for one major reason. It was Pay to Play. The pay to play model doesn’t have room for very many games, and this still wouldn’t be able to survive today as pay to play. Maybe if it released as a item shop (micro transaction) free to play model, it would survive, but it still would fail released as a pay to play game. It wasn’t as great a game as you are making it out to be, and it’s not half the game as some of the current pay to play games that are failing.

  4. The “pay to play” thing is bad. I rather just buy it and play it, and I wish you could create your own server with your own amount of people you want on it if you wanted to. I hope they make a new Auto Assault with better graphics and same stuff, sadly they might not. I hope you guys got your dumb wish, that you wanted this game to fail, no original ideas from you guys.

  5. This was a better single-player game than a multi-player game. I really enjoyed the intro levels and missions, but once you got beyond that I thought it dropped off.

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