EverQuest Next [PC, PS4 – Cancelled]

EverQuest Next is a canceled Free-To-Play sandbox fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game developed and published by Sony Online Entertainment for the PC and the Playstation 4 from 2009 to 2016. It was based on the EverQuest franchise.

First indications of the development of a new installment of EverQuest were revealed in April 2009, when Rich Waters, creative director of the franchise, wrote a dedicated chapter on the future of the series titled EverQuest Next, in the book EverQuest: The 10th Anniversary:

Recently, we got our hands on a copy of the 10th Anniversary EverQuest Book. The last chapter of this book is intriguingly titled “EverQuest Next” and was individually written by EverQuest Creative Director, Rich Waters: “So you can see there’s a lot to wrestle with as we begin laying the foundation for EverQuest ‘Next.’ As I write this, we have concept artists and game designers working hard in our studio-taking the lessons of the past, the best parts of the present and the most promising ideas for the future-to bring the world of Norrath to a new generation of players, as well as the dedicated legions of fans who made the EverQuest franchise timeless. I hope we’ll see you there.”

This new EverQuest project was officially announced in August 2010, during the SOE Fan Faire Event, as we can read on Engadget:

The third edition in the EverQuest franchise was teased by Sony Online Entertainment prez John Smedley this weekend at SOE’s annual Fan Faire event. The publisher also held an extended panel on it — tentatively titled EverQuest Next — where Smedley revealed that the game will have “less classes” and be “more like EverQuest 1” in that regard. He also said it has been “built from the ground up to be scaleable” and that it’ll be playable on anything from “a laptop” to “a powerful PC.”

The following years, the game was still shown annually with information shared here and there: in July 2011, during the SOE Fan Faire, Smedley announced the use of ForgeLight as graphics engine:

John Smedley, CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, his tech team and the team behind Planetside 2 are building a new core engine called Forge Light which will have all of the tech bells and whistles needed to bring SOE’s new MMOs into the next generation. Partnering with Nvidia to build in use of the PhysX API has allowed some amazing complexity to everything from the physics of vehicle movement in Planetside 2 to the expression of a characters face in the next EverQuest title.

“Think about this, EverQuest players, think about a physics engine that is built into every single aspect of your gameplay. We’ve partnered with Nvidia and their amazing PhysX platform. It means that we can bring you the most amazing characters and environments ever seen before in an MMO, or a single player game.”

During SOE Live in October 2012, Smedley revealed that the project had been reworked and showed new ambitions:

“I have to be honest with you. We have completely blown up the design of EverQuest Next. For the last year and a half we have been working on something we are not ready to show. Why did we blow up the design? The design was evolutionary. It was EverQuest III. It was something that was slightly better that what had come before it. It was slightly better. What we are building is something that we will be very proud to call EverQuest. It will be the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed. The same exciting content delivered in a new way. Something you’ve never seen before. The MMO world has never seen before. We didn’t want more Kill 10 Rats quests. We didn’t want more of the same. If you look at the MMOs out there, they’re delivering the same content over and over again. So are we. We need to change that. When we released EverQuest, we changed the world. We want to do that again with a different type of game.

What I will commit to is, at the next Fan Faire, not only will you get to see it but you will get to touch it. Most of the EverQuest Next devs are in this room. If you get them drunk enough they might tell you. They’re led by Dave Georgeson. Terry Michaels. Vets from EverQuest and EverQuest 2. We are remaking Norrath unlike anything you’ve ever seen, but you’ll recognize it. I’m sorry we don’t have anything to show for it, but I wanted to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about it. Keep the faith.”

Finally, the game was officially shown in August 2013 during SOE Live. For the occasion, Engadget wrote an article explaining several new features:

EverQuest Next is set in the realm of Norrath, but this is a rebooted version of those lands. Veteran players will find familiar places and names in the lore and setting, but they won’t have a monopoly on the knowledge of this world; players new to the franchise can be equally comfortable because everyone is discovering this new world at the same time.

There are two main aspects of this world that really take things to a new level in gaming, and both involve composition, just in different ways.

First, everything in EverQuest Next is made of voxels,  it means everything in the world can be destroyed! If you wanted a way to affect the world, just envision actually blowing up a bridge to keep mobs from getting to you or collapsing a tunnel so no one else happening by for a while can find the cavern and quests underneath. Although these changes aren’t totally permanent, they will be around for a while; after a time the world itself will respawn, thereby preventing players from completely destroying the world — and therefore the game — forever.

Of course, just because everything can be destroyed doesn’t mean the devs will let you! As Georgeson explained to me, if some areas weren’t restricted, Qeynos would become a parking lot in no time. Keep in mind, though, such restrictions are only on players, not mobs.

The second compositional aspect is the fact that the world of EQ Next is not restricted to its surface. I am not talking about a few scattered underground caverns, either; I am talking about a completely designed world from crust to core. Since you can start digging pretty much anywhere, you will actually find content as you go deeper and deeper and deeper still. This layered content isn’t necessarily static, either. Lower levels are procedurally generated and can be closed off by dev-induced earthquakes or crop up elsewhere.

While players will still come across typical MMO tasks to complete, the whole process will be more organic. If you see a need, you fill a need. There are no glowy icons floating overhead.

Consider this scenario: You come upon a band of orcs attacking a small settlement. You can continue on your merry way, or you can jump in and aid one side. But which one? Do you protect the humans, or do you assist the orcs? Helping the humans can open up opportunities for you to work with them in the future because they will remember your deeds and react accordingly. On the other hand, helping the orcs can be advantageous as well; it might just be that they offer you training in a class you couldn’t access otherwise.

Next up is the big world-wide public quest. Dubbed Rallying Calls, these public quests are a bit different from what you are used to. For one, they aren’t quick. These quests will develop over a few months’ time. And again, choices matter here; what players do during that time will affect what happens at the next stage. Let me illustrate: A Rallying Call to build Halas starts. First, you might make a little tent settlement. But what if gnolls start attacking? Do you go hunt the gnolls, build up a wall for protection, or pick a new spot? Every action will have consequences, even if not immediate. This whole thing will develop based on what players do. When one Rallying Call finally concludes, another will roll out. Once one is done, it won’t start up again with the next batch of players. In other words, when Halas is built, it stays permanently built.

NPCs will retain memories about your choices and will react accordingly as the game goes on. Think of the orc scenario above: The orcs may become your allies, but townsfolks and guards sure won’t be liking you very much, so chances are you will not be privy to quests they could have offered.

The mobs will also be more intelligent in EverQuest Next. The AI will be programmed with a set of likes and dislikes, so NPCs and mobs will move around and live in the world according to that set of ideas. You won’t find a static spawn in the same place indefinitely. Those orcs from earlier? They like to live along quiet roads, not near guarded cities. They also don’t like being beaten to a pulp by adventurers. So if a city starts encroaching on their habitat or adventurers keep handing their butts to them, the orcs are going to literally pick up stakes and move to a more hospitable environment.

As you can see, the world is not going to be the same over time; it’s going to evolve. If you leave the game and come back later, things aren’t going to be just how you left them. Your choices combined with the evolving world mean that you will have a personally unique experience in the game. And not only that, but because conditions and choices cannot be mimicked, even your own alts will have a unique experience!

Combat will consist of four skills and four weapon moves at a time. The weapon moves depend on what weapon you have equipped, and what skills you have at your disposal depends on what classes you have discovered and learned. That’s classes plural: You can multi-class indefinitely. And you get to mix and match the skills from the various classes to make a build you like.

There are also no levels or in this game, although your character does still progress. And in a really neat twist, all players can play together regardless of how long they have been in the game, even if one friend is a three-year veteran and the other is brand-new. Instead of mentoring or sidekicking, the older player can just choose to work on a set of skills that s/he hasn’t developed yet.

As for movement in the game — do you like Parkour? If so, then you are in luck! Avatars no longer have just three movements of walk, run, or awkward jump; now they can move along the terrain in a more natural way.

Many other details can be read here.

On the left: In 2011, EverQuest III art direction was more realistic. On the right: In 2013, EverQuest Next art direction took a more cartoony approach.

Alongside this title, Sony Online Entertainment also announced the development of Landmark, formerly EverQuest Next Landmark, a content creation tool using the same Voxel-based technology as EverQuest Next. Over time, Landmark would have had features similar to those of EverQuest Next, in particular a Player Versus Player mode:

What will be the differences between Landmark and EverQuest Next, will you tell me? Dave Georgeson replies:

“EverQuest Next focuses more on the story and the various narrative axes. Instead, Landmark emphasizes exploration, creativity and sharing. But in the end, many of the features of EverQuest Next will be present in Landmark.”

EverQuest Landmark will offer an experience worthy of a complete MMO. According to the same man, a PvP mode will be added.

After its big announcement, EverQuest Next became more discreet over the months. New details regarding some playable classes were shared during SOE Live 2014, but it was mostly Landmark that was highlighted during this time.

The year 2015 was a turning point for Sony Online Entertainment: in February, the studio was acquired from Sony by Columbus Nova and rebranded as Daybreak Game Company. Shortly after, several employees and managers were fired, in an attempt to make the company more profitable, among them was project manager David Georgeson:

Last week, Sony and investment firm Columbus Nova announced that Sony Online Entertainment had been sold. The studio has been renamed. Now it seems, staffing changes are underway that reported see significant departure of talent.

Michele Cagle, senior director of global communications at Daybreak, confirmed the staffing changes in an email to us. “As part of a strategic decision to rationalize the business, Daybreak Game Company announced today that it will eliminate positions in both its San Diego and Austin studios,” she says. “This alignment of resources better positions the newly independent studio for future growth opportunities and developments, including delivering on its legacy of making top online games and establishing a solid foundation for future multi-platform success. These reductions will not affect the operation of current games and the company will continue on its mission to partner with its player community to drive the future and push the boundaries of online gaming.”

Dave Georgeson, who has led the EverQuest franchise for over five years, has confirmed he is no longer with the company. In a response to an inquiry, he also confirms that his departure was unplanned.

In June, the team behind Landmark at Daybreak Game Company shifted its focus on the development of EverQuest Next, and the following month, John Smedley stepped down as CEO, and was replaced by Russell Shanks.

During this long period, no mention was made of EverQuest Next, and it was not until March 2016 that the game was officially canceled as we can read on The Verge:

Games studio Daybreak Game Company has canceled EverQuest Next, an upcoming free-to-play MMO that was supposed to be a successor to numerous EverQuest titles. In a statement posted on the studio’s website, Daybreak Game Company’s president, Russell Shanks, said the title just simply didn’t live up the franchise’s standards.

“As we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun,” writes Shanks. “In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we — and all of you — have for the worlds of Norrath.”

Three months after the cancellation of the game, Landmark was officially launched from Early Access. The servers were shutdown in February 2017, less than a year after its launch. To date, the EverQuest franchise has never returned to the limelight, although EverQuest II is still supported 18 years after its release, as its last expansion was released in November 2022.

Some explanations behind concept arts were taken from Giantbomb.


EverQuest III images:

EverQuest Next images

Raiders of the Deep (Xbox One – Cancelled)

Raiders of the Deep (codenamed Project Submarine) is a canceled futuristic military Free-To-Play multiplayer First-Person Shooter developed around 2013-2014 by Spark Unlimited for the Xbox One.

Information about this game are pretty scarce as it was never announced. Following information about the story, game design concepts and features were shared in a PDF file by former Spark’s developer Sam Wey:

I was given the responsibility to compose a game design pitch document and PowerPoint presentation for a triple A title to be pitched to Microsoft. I managed the support of two artists and was able to bounce ideas off of the veteran designers around me. Now that Spark doesn’t exist anymore, I think it’s safe to show this.

In the near future ice caps have melted and most of the earth is covered in water. National governments have been rendered powerless in the face mega corporations that violently battle for power. These corporations store and transport valuable data caches in offshore submarines piloted by bands of “deep sea raiders”. Corporate espionage has taken the form of violent confrontations between these underwater pirates. They plunder each other for these valuable data caches, risking life and limb for wealth, power and prestige. The aesthetic of this near future is sleek but grounded in a gritty realism of believable, familiar technology.

Raiders of the Deep is a free-to-play, competitive multiplayer, first-person-shooter that utilizes ship customization, level orientation changes and free flowing water simulation to dynamically change map layout and combat strategy. This will be a uniquely next gen experience only made possible by the next generation console technology, the incredible FX capabilities of Unreal 4 Engine and Phys-X GPU water simulations. It is a game about assembling your level from pre-made rooms, customizing them with items bought and earned, and then squaring off your ship against your opponent’s – creating an online arena that’s always half familiar, half unknown. It’s a game about assuming the role of a mercenary on a submarine of your own design or fellow clan member’s vessel – giving orders or executing orders while leveling up distinct character classes. It’s a game tailor made for league play, one that allows for true leadership and teamwork, raiding-like rewards, side “bets” before matches, taunting and bribing – it’s perfect for eSports or competitive gamers of all skill levels. Most of all, it’s a game that will start small, focused and fun, and can expand – based on player feedback – in a variety of exciting directions.

Key Features

  • Your Ship, Your Way: Submarine customization – Choose from predesigned ship layouts or swap and rotate rooms, then add decorations and themes. Tons of customization options to buy or earn to make your level truly reflect your personality and strategic approach.
  • Truly Dynamic and Interactive Backgrounds – As your submarine sinks, damaged rooms will flood and the whole environment will turn on its side and even flip upside down. This will instantly change map layout and as a result map strategy changes. Destroy ship systems to cut lights or overtake the command center to gain control of auto-turrets. Use the level itself as a tool and a weapon to overcome the odds.
  • Free Flowing Water Simulation Gameplay – This will define the next generation gaming experience with water simulations only possible on the Xbox One with the help of Unreal 4, Phys-X, and Thunderhead cloud computing. Flood compartments to change the playing field. Force opponents to surface for air to setup a headshot. Lurk under the water surface and take the enemy by surprise. As the submarine tilts, water will flow from one compartment to the next.
  • The Madden of Shooters: Playbook System – Play like a well practiced clan even with complete strangers. Setup custom or use pre-loaded context-sensitive “plays” before breaches and give on-the-fly orders or follow the orders of your teammates for bonus XP. Plan your own sequences on Smart Glass and share them with friends. Use teamwork, fake-outs, traps and advanced tactics to outsmart and outgun the other clan.
  • Free to Play / Free to Win – A fully featured shooter with no entrance fee. In-App-Purchases for extra in-game currency or specialized costumes / items are available, but everything is based on Pay to Enhance (and show off), not pay to Win.
  • Knowing is Half the Battle – Each time you play, one half of the multiplayer online battle arena will be yours (or your clan’s), the other half will be a mystery until you board your enemy’s sub. Bazillions of possible combinations.
  • Clan Classes – Cloak yourself as a Saboteur and map out the enemy’s ship for your team, quickly hack equipment or find shortcuts as an Engineer, go guns blazing and lay traps as a Raider or stomp through corridors slowly as an armored Deep Diver. As the game grows so will the number of Classes…
  • Level Up and Collect – Advance in four different classes, unlock tons of weapons andabilities, and personalize your character’s look to a staggering degree.
  • A True Team Sport – Fully supports Tournament Play and eSports with optional clan rooms, specialized leaderboards, pre-set play times, uniform elements, league web pages, and recording and uploading match videos to brag and review replays to sharpen tactics.

At its core, Raiders of the Deep is a version of capture the flag enhanced with point control. Before a game begins, players will enter a lobby where each team will vote on a map layout for their respective team as well as what room to place the data cache (flag) in. When the conflict begins, the two teams’ ships dock with one another. The ships will be connected through airlocks. The goal is to board the enemy’s ship through these airlocks, find “data caches”, hack them, and return to the command room of your ship with the data. These data caches could be anywhere the opposing team voted to place them, so no two games will ever be the same. The control points will enable or disable defense systems; easing access to the rooms that contain the data caches. This will be the main gameplay mode but it will only be one of many types of gameplay offered.

Breach or Be Breached:

  • Battles will begin with you either assaulting the enemy’s ship or defending your own, but the gameplay then stretches between the two sides.
  • Set up Breach Plans as the Attack – Select where to enter. Set up fake outs. Try to bribe members of the opposing ship.
  • Set up Traps as the Defender – Determine where the opposing team will breach. Place traps. Take cover.

Attack and Defend:

  • The heart of the gameplay is the gathering of data caches from the opponent’s ship.
  • Combat – Battle opposing team crew members.
  • Find Data Caches – Various rooms have different amounts of data, hack the systems or defend hackers while they collect the data.
  • Return Enemy Data to Your Command Room – Take the data back yourself or guard the data carrier.
  • Complete Side Objectives – Some rooms are connected with ship systems, hack these for various bonuses (cut out lights, turn off / take control of auto defenses, etc).
  • Defend Data Caches – Try to keep the opposing team from hacking your ship’s systems by laying traps and taking defensive positions in key rooms.
  • Eliminate Data Carriers – Take out the enemy carrying your data before he is able to upload it in their Command Room.

Collect Winnings:

  • Overcoming the other team isn’t just for bragging rights…
  • Earn XP and Cash – These are used to level up your character class and buy new character and ship items.
  • Roll for Rare Goods – When you win your team will get a variety of rare items, which can be “rolled” to see who gets them.


Ship Customization

The player will be able to build his ship in an offline mode on the XBox One or by using their Smart Glass app on a phone or tablet. The player will be able to move each of the ships rooms where he feels is strategically the best. He will then hide his Data Cache in a safe in one of these rooms. The player will be able to save out different ship load outs that he can then access during online play. This customization will enable each match to be different depending on how the Clan would like to defend or attack.

Point Control

While the core of the gameplay is capture the flag with data caches, it is the Point Control mechanic that will keep map strategy dynamic and interesting. The Point Control element will have different strategic effects on gameplay. The defending team will have many defensive features on their ship which will be countered by the difficulty of defending so many vital systems rooms. Attacking teams will have the benefit of quickly changing targeted rooms. Attacking rooms in a strategic sequence will cause a cascade of chaos that will win the match.

For example, taking out an opponent’s reactor will take out command center functionality which weakens the defense turret systems. The weakened defensive systems will give the attacking team access to assault the medical bay which slows reinforcements which in turn, buys them time to find and decrypt the data caches.

Water Core Game Mechanic

Water will be the wild card in every firefight. It can be your savior in one battle only to suffocate you in an icy death in the next. Water will dynamically change level layout and strategy through both changes in orientation of the whole submarine and water levels of each compartment.

Example Gameplay Beats of Action:

When the firefight began, the pump room was dry. As the gun battle rages, the hull is damaged and water begins flooding into the room. A thousand pounds of pressure forces water through the hull of your submarine and is altering the layout of the arena. Soldiers on the low ground begin wading slowly in the waist deep water and being picked off by the enemy in the high ground. As water overtakes the high ground, troops resort to diving deep and sneaking up on the enemy with combat knives. Water fills the compartment to the ceiling and the few survivors are now clustered at and gasping for air in the few air pockets where they can keep their heads above water. Reinforcements breach a blast door and water flows into and floods the other compartments while drones seal the damaged hull.

Water mechanics:

  • Water’s effect on players

○ Knee high water slows down players

○ Waist deep water slows players more; crouching allows you to hide under water.

○ Fully flooded compartments will only have a few air pockets above water and most combat will take place under water.

 Water’s effect on the environment

o Damaged rooms start flooding, flooded areas of the ship will start sinking and the whole ship will start to tilt effectively changing the layout and strategy of a given arena.

  • Natural Water Simulation Behavior

○ The flow of water from one compartment to the next will cause players to slide.

○ The volume of water is maintained when water flows from one compartment to the next.

○ If both compartments have the same level of water:

■ then no water level change will occur.

○ If one compartment is filled to the ceiling and then the hatch is blown open to an empty compartment:

■ then players in the empty compartment will get knocked off their feet from the flooding water and the players in the full compartment will be pulled into the empty compartment.

■ active stand up minigame- after being thrown off their feet, players will scramble to get up again to continue combat. Skillfully using the two analogue sticks to rebalance and orient yourself quickly will allow you to shoot or find cover first. It’s the difference between a quick jump up on to your feet (best) and a hobbled slow stand up(suboptimal).

 Different character classes and loadouts will favor dry room fighting versus wet room fighting.

  • Example of wet loadout

○ wet suit

○ rebreather

○ gas powered harpoon

■ most ballistic weapons will not fire underwater. the harpoon gun provides superior underwater ranged combat. It impales players and pulls them in for a brutal melee kill.

  • Example of dry loadout

○ heavy armor

○ thermal vision

○ freeze grenade

■ a well aimed and timed freeze grenade will freeze your opponent in the water, float them to the top, making them vulnerable for execution.

Playbook System

We all wish we could be as coordinated as a clan but most players never have the opportunity to have this experience because most just jump into public matches. The playbook system will come with proven “plays” that will automatically delegate responsibilities to team members. Instructions and timings will appear on their HUD and waypoints will appear in the world. The following are example plays:

  • Offensive Plays

○ Breach and Clear

■ Player A begins torching the airlock hatch to breach it.

■ Players B and C gets in position to cover angles on airlock hatch.

■ Player D primes flash grenade to be tossed in the second hatch is breached.

■ Players E, F, and G prepare to rush in.

■ 3, 2, 1… BREACH!

■ Player D tosses in flash grenade which promptly explodes.

■ Players B and C provide cover fire while Players E, F, and G move in and clear the room.

  • Defensive Plays

○ Ambush

■ Players A, B, and C hide behind columns

■ Players D, E, and F hide behind supply boxes.

■ Player E provides sniper cover from above.

■ Wait for breach and wait for all players to commit to entering the room.

■ Fire!

In other competitive multiplayer games this level of teamwork and coordination is out of reach for 99% of players. This system of automated delegation and timing system will give players a sense of cohesion even on public matches. The XP and in-game currency rewards for good execution will incentivize teamwork. Any team member can call plays but players of higher level will overrule lower level players.

Secondary Game Mechanics


The player will choose to play as one of the following classes. Each will have distinct weapons and abilities to suit different play styles and counter enemy tactics. Some classes will be inherently better at wet or dry combat. The wet and dry loadouts will modify these characteristics so players can adapt to the current state of the battlefield.

Saboteur – This light class will be a master of speed, stealth and reconnaissance. When cloaked, enemies will only see a faint distortion at regular intervals. Saboteurs will provide vital information to fellow teammates by removing the “fog of war” from the minimap for their teammates. While too weak to stage an offensive alone, by employing the cloak and infiltrating rooms before breaches they will provide spotting of enemy locations for their teammates.

Raider – This heavy class will be the bread and butter of combat providing both defensive and offensive firepower. If a lighter class opponent does not use the environment to their advantage, the Raider will dominate in a head to head firefight.

Engineer– This medium class is vital in his support of the team through his mastery of structural, electrical and software engineering. The engineer can hack enemy turret systems, decrypt enemy data caches faster and find shortcuts for the saboteur. When divers damage the hull and compartments start flooding, the engineer deploys drones to repair it.

Diver– As the most adept swimmer and demolitions expert, this medium class is vital to any boarding party. The diver can set charges to destroy a ship’s hull and vital systems. Destroying a ship’s hull causes flooding which alters the environment in the diver’s favor. The diver is also fastest at breaching but requires the support of other divers and raiders to survive a firefight.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sam Wey left Spark Unlimited in July 2013, just after the release of Lost Planet 3. He is credited in the ‘special thanks’ section of Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, the last game released by Spark, in March 2014.

In May 2015, Spark Unlimited ceased any activities in game development. As we can read on Polygon, it seems Raiders of the Deep might have been canceled in the process:

Los Angeles-based Spark Unlimited, the developer behind Lost Planet 3, Legendary and Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, is no longer making games and has laid off all of its employees, a former employee of the company told Polygon today.

John Butrovich, Chief Technical Officer at Spark Unlimited, confirmed to Polygon that “it’s the end of Spark as a game developer.” Principal members of the studio “have decided to move on to other things,” Butrovich said, and confirmed that Spark Unlimited co-founder Craig Allen resigned as president and CEO from the company late last year “to pursue other ventures and interests.”

Butrovich said that Spark’s in-development free-to-play game was canceled, as were other projects at the studio, leading to the company shutting down game development.

If you know someone else who worked on Raiders of the Deep and could help us preserve more screenshots, footage or details, please let us know!


Some pages from the PDF file

Stargate Worlds [PC – Cancelled]

Stargate Worlds is a canceled futuristic sci-fi Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game developed from 2006 to 2009 by Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment and published by FireSky, exclusively for PC. It was based on the television series Stargate SG-1.

Stargate Worlds was officially announced in January 2006 by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, rights holder of the Stargate franchise:

MGM and Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment today announced that work has begun on Stargate Worlds, a massively multi-player online role-playing game (“MMORPG” to those in the know) based on the hit TV franchise.

“Stargate Worlds is an MMO that provides players with a form of exploration, adventure and ranged combat set in worlds of historical human time periods, alien environments, and outer space locations,” according to the announcement. “Players will travel through the Stargate as a team of soldiers and scientists where they can forge alliances, establish trade, investigate ancient mysteries, and defend Earth from such hostile forces as the Goa’uld and the Ori in an immense multiplayer universe.”

The developer’s official Web site offers more on the game:

Stargate Worlds provides players with a form of ranged combat unique to MMORPG that will take full advantage of modern and science fiction weaponry, cover, and terrain. Players will be able to form squads with their friends or use bots for players who want to go solo. Squad leaders will control maneuvers and objectives through an innovative combat control interface. Players may choose to create characters that are members of either the SGC (the Good Guys) or the System Lords (the Bad Guys). Characters are equipped with varied and mixed skills, with the choice to form such classes as Research, Combat Marine, Medical, Scientific, Diplomatic, Engineering, Archeological, and Exploration. PVP will be possible between the two alliances on many contested worlds, actually swaying the balance of power on those planets, and unlocking hidden content. Cooperative play will also be possible, and players will be encouraged to forge temporary alliances to deal with greater threats, such as the Ori.

The universe evolves as players inhabit and vie for control over alien worlds. Local populations will shift their allegiance between the two alliances. Outside threats, such as the Ori, will conspire to further change the face of these worlds. Players will be able to tip the balance of power on these worlds, beating back the Ori invasion, and swaying the local populations to their side through quests, combat and trade. Whether you are a solitary explorer, master tradesman, or commander of a massive armed force — your every action will alter the worlds of the Stargate universe.

The game was using the Unreal Engine 3 and screenwriters Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper were hired as creative consultant. During its first two years, Stargate Worlds development progressed smoothly, and some details regarding the story and playable classes were shared:

What sorts of characters and character classes will you be able to play? Will you only be able to play as members of the Stargate team, or can you play as members of other factions?

RN: We want the players to be the stars of their own show. This means we can’t keep retelling the story of SG-1. We’re going to let players choose from seven archetypes–Jaffa, Goa’uld, Asgard, and human soldier, scientist, archeologist, and commando–when they create a character. Players will be able to specialize their characters using a skill tree, allowing them to further refine their role. There will be two factions in the game at launch. One side will feature the Asgard, Free Jaffa, and humans; the other side has the Goa’uld, Loyal Jaffa, and humans.

GS: We understand that exploration will play a key role in the game. Will this mainly be done on foot? Will there be any vehicle or starship travel, or vehicular combat?

RN: At launch, Stargate Worlds will focus on the original Stargate experience. It’s not a game of vehicle combat, and there won’t be player-controlled starships. Players will be able to use starships for transport, but the primary method for getting around the galaxy is the Stargate.

GS: We learned at GDC that the game will be set during seasons three, four, five, six, seven, and eight of the TV show’s run. Why the latter years and not the early ones, and what kind of story possibilities emerge due to this decision?

RN: The most important thing to remember about the timeline is that we’re not retelling the story of Stargate SG-1. Our story will be happening roughly concurrently with the events you saw during those seasons, like the Replicator War, the Apophis War, the Tok’ra war with the Goa’uld, and the Jaffa Civil War. These events form a dramatic backdrop for our story to play out against.

GS: We understand that the game was intended to draw upon content from both Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis. Will it draw upon both series evenly, or will it favor one universe or time frame over another?

RN: The action in Stargate Worlds at launch takes place in our galaxy, so you can say that it draws more from SG-1 than Atlantis, although you can see from some of our screenshots that an Atlantis-like city is one of the sites characters will visit. Atlantis is a good candidate for our first expansion pack, and we’re looking at a variety of options.

Regarding playable classes, named ‘archetypes’, everything was saved from the Wiki Fandom dedicated to the game. As it was canceled before being finished, some archetypes could have been changed during development:

  • Archaeologists would specialize in ancient cultures and languages. They would be able to ‘blend in with the locals’ to gather intelligence or ambush the enemy. This ‘blending in’ uses Asgard holographic technology to assume the appearance of others. Archaeologists could also be quite adept in aggro management, perhaps by being superb negotiators or good at hiding, making them good solo characters, in addition to their ability to solve puzzles.
  • Asgard would be physically frail, but would be masters of technology and would have a strong science ability. They depend on clone technology to survive and thrive. By calling upon different types of drones to attack, defend, heal, or analyze, the Asgard would be a true jack-of-all-trades. When faced with dire circumstances, the Asgard could also bring in their mighty starships to devastate the enemy with orbital bombardments in the form of a special attack.
  • Goa’uld would gain much of their power from their servants. With the ability to command several different types of minions, the Goa’uld could become almost as versatile as the Asgard. These minions would include Jaffa. In addition to their minions, Goa’ulds also have access to poisons that can be used to cripple enemies. They can also specialize in Ashrak technologies, such as phase cloaking, becoming masters of stealthy attacks. As the evil counterparts to the Asgard, the Goa’uld may be able to call in their Ha’tak bombers to bombard the enemy as a special attack. The Goa’uld character would be the symbiote and would at times and at a “cost” be able to choose to enter a new host. However player Goa’uld would not be able to take over other players’ hosts.
  • Jaffa in the game were much like the Jaffa in the show. In addition to its devastating ranged attack, the Jaffa staff weapon could also be used in melee combat. Displaying solidarity and teamwork, Jaffa could use their oaths to strengthen their allies, especially other Jaffa.
  • Scientists would be a combination of pure scientist and engineer. They could specialize in analyzing, repairing, and using technologies. They could also use new technologies to craft personal upgrades. Their battlefield utility came from the ability to construct devices such as gun turrets, shields, and target inhibitors. They could also specialize in healing and resurrection technology. Like the archaeologist, the scientist could also solve puzzles, but of a technological nature. These puzzles would be in the form of minigames.
  • Soldiers is valuable for protection when stepping through the stargate. With the ability to specialize in a variety of weapons, including grenades, automatic weapons, machine guns, mortars, and rocket launchers, their job was to unleash firepower on enemies. With additional training, they could also learn basic healing, how to use alien weaponry, and lead teams.
  • Commando class would give up access to the variety of weapons a soldier class uses, a commando class gaining access to stealth, demolitions, and the sniper rifle. The commando could disrupt, confuse, and neutralize enemies. In addition to ability with stealth, commandos would also have technology to detect stealthed enemies. The commando would be at least one of the archetypes able to deploy and detect traps.

According to an interview from Warcry, a strong emphasis for teamwork was designed by Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment concerning the specificities of each archetype:

Not much is known at present about the exact implementation of the game’s systems, but there are plans to offer both combat classes for the die-hard combatant as well as more tactical and strategic classes like archaeologist or medic. Each class is planned to hold a specific strategic advantage to promote teamwork in the field, and it is proposed that there will be enough classes to provide appeal for a wide array of gameplay styles. Also, in the works are plans to allow players to build structures at offworld locations. From small individual shelters to large-scale corporate headquarters, an entire tech tree is planned to make exploration and gaining footholds on offworlds that much more exciting.

In April 2008, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment created FireSky, a publishing subsidiary, in order to help the funding and publishing of Stargate Worlds:

FireSky, a new video game publisher, and a subsidiary of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, dedicated to improving how gamers play and interact online, announced today that it would publish Stargate Worlds, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) based on MGM’s award-winning Stargate franchise.

However, after the game was launched into closed-beta, troubles occured in December 2008, when various media discovered that company’s developers suffered from payments issues:

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, developer for Stargate Worlds MMO, has issued a statement confirming that they do have some “cash-flow issues”.

A website went live counting the number of days since their last pay check, and it currently stands at “25 days”. They’re currently seeking “additional sources of funding” right now.

“At Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, we have always been upfront with the media and our fans that we are a start up,” reads the response from the company.

“Like many start ups, we face the same cash-flow issues that all pre-revenue companies face. We have maintained a core of dedicated investors, but the new economic realities are forcing us to seek out additional sources of funding and that’s what we’re doing.”

The website is still running and presumably will continue to run until the team get their earned dosh.

The entire 2009 year was a grueling one for Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment as the company was sued over unpaid bills, which forced its marketing manager, Kevin Ballentine, to issue a statement in April of the same year:

“We are currently negotiating several deals that will cover our financial responsibilities and fund the remainder of development. When we sign those deals, you’ll hear about it. Until then, we’ll keep building Stargate Worlds, because right now, that’s the only thing that matters to us.”

After the departure of its Executive Producer, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment put the project on-hold and announced Stargate Resistance, an online Third-Person Shooter, in December 2009:

Firesky and Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, the studio behind the financially troubled but still-in-production MMO role-playing game Stargate Worlds, is working on a second video game title, they announced today.  Stargate Resistance is an online, third-person shooter currently in the final stages of development.

“Resistance brings to our fans the kind of gameplay SGW never planned to deliver,” said Chris Klug, the game’s creative consultant and the creative director for Stargate Worlds.  “Resistance delivers the combat, weapons and tactics seen so often on the show that many of you have been asking for.  I know this game will excite fans who have longed to go toe-to-toe with a Jaffa as well as those who always wanted to dominate the galaxy in ways the MMO could only hint at.”

In the full letter, Klug also speaks to the difficult last year faced by the studio, its decision to remain silent, and its recognition that it needs to rebuild its relationship with fans.

“As well as building this new exciting product, paramount to Firesky’s long-term future is restoring your confidence and trust in us,” he said.

In February 2010, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment filed for bankruptcy:

Cheyenne Mountain’s corporate structure has undergone some dramatic changes in the last few weeks, and that has resulted in various actions such as the filing for Chapter 11. Certain parties believed that was the right thing to do, other parties do not and this is still being evaluated and may be rescinded. Even if the bankruptcy should go through, however, Chapter 11 simply allows a company to restructure its debt to a manageable plan approved by the courts. It does not absolve a company of debt, and it does not shut it down or otherwise affect its daily operations. This will all be sorted out in the legal and proper manner, and all of us on the development side of things hope it’s done as quickly as possible.

The studio, heavily downsized, nevertheless, maintained an activity until January 2011, under the name of Dark Comet Games, before being forced to close the Stargate Resistance servers and disappeared.

Stargate can be seen as a kind of cursed license in the gaming world: a few years ago, Stargate SG-1: The Alliance was canceled after weeks of legal battle. In July 2021, as we can read on The Companion, Steve Garvin, who was lead content designer until June 2009, shared his whole experience during the development of Stargate Worlds:

“The main story was that Ra was coming back and the dark side was trying to leverage it while the light side was trying to stop it. So the two stories were very disparate, a vastly different experience.”

The “dark side” is OP-CORE, a group of humans who are aligned with the Goa’uld.

Some 16 different planets were in development for the game’s initial launch. Among them was Lucia, the yellow-skied homeworld of the Lucian Alliance — never seen on screen in the television series.

The game was eager to expand upon the legend of the Furlings — and the show’s producers were gracious to allow them to do so. “We had this whole idea for the Furling being a single entity that stretches across time, able to see the past and the future.”

“It was mostly a lovely experience. It was a friendly team, we were close and it was a great learning environment with empowering leadership. But it also sucked. We had the great pieces for a good game – never enough to look you in the eye and say it was great – but we were getting there. But what was most disappointing was not getting some of the world-building and Furling stuff out. It would have filled in a lot of gaps in SG-1 lore, and the showrunners agreed that what we had was pretty cool. The fans would have loved it – it was fan service.”


Other videos containing various information about the game can be found here.


Ultima X: Odyssey [PC – Cancelled]

Ultima X: Odyssey is a canceled fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing game developed from 2002 to 2004 by Origin Systems and published by Electronic Arts, exclusively for PC. It was based in the Ultima universe.

Ultima X: Odyssey was officially announced in August 2003, as we can read on Gamespot:

Electronic Arts’ Origin Systems development studio has today announced that the next game in its Ultima series will be a massively multiplayer online role-playing game powered by the latest version of the Unreal Engine. Ultima X: Odyssey will boast a number of features not found elsewhere in the genre, the most intriguing of which is the “Odyssey Adventure System,” which will deliver customized quests to players automatically, and will also allow players to request private adventure zones so they’re not interrupted by uninvited troublemakers.

“Ultima X: Odyssey takes the genre to the next level through its innovative new Odyssey Adventure System, ensuring that players experience a greater sense of adventure and reward from both questing and combat,” said Andy Hollis, vice president and COO of Origin Systems.

Ultima X: Odyssey will feature fast-paced strategic combat in which players’ actions will play as big a part in determining the outcome of a battle as their characters’ strength. Players will be able to choose their level of aggressiveness and a variety of combat styles, and while individual combat will be the most common, rival player guilds will be able to challenge each other to gladiator-style duels in privately created zones.

As they progress through the game, players will be able to customize not only their character, but also their inventory, party, and guild–in ways never before possible. Examples given in today’s press release include players enhancing their weapons and armor using virtue abilities or experience points, and the existence of magic items and weapons that actually gain experience and level up in the same way players do.

Players who manage to master any of the eight virtues in Ultima X will gain the ability to use special powers and, eventually, create disciples for themselves. Upon mastering all the virtues, players will attain the ultimate status of “avatar.”

Ultima X: Odyssey is currently scheduled for release this winter.

The story begin at the end of Ultima IX, when the Avatar (the hero) and the Guardian (the villain) merged together at the climax of their final battle. Ultima X: Odyssey’s story begins with the Avatar and the Guardian struggling for control of the god-like being that they have become. The Avatar is losing this battle and creates the world of Alucinor, a place where adventurers can journey to and learn about the Virtues just as the Avatar did during his travels in Britannia. But, because the Guardian also has great influence over Alucinor, he has created his own minions to thwart any would-be heroes.

In November of the same year, lead designer Jonathan Hanna was interviewed by Gamer.No and shared a few details on some of the upcoming features for the game:

G.N.: With the implementation of Virtues and good vs. evil, will there be any player killing involved, and if so, how will this be carried out in Odyssey?

J.H.: (…) Players can challenge each other to duels that are tracked through a robust ladder system. In addition, guilds can challenge each other to large-scale battles. These battles will take place on private maps, preventing outsiders from interfering with the battle. Also, players can wager gold and items on duels and guild battles, making them even more interesting. Combined with our highly interactive and action-packed combat, PvP in Ultima X: Odyssey will be a blast!

G.N.: What lore, political elements, stories and legends will be a part of Odyssey? In essence, what is going to make us feel that we are actually in an Ultima game, and where in the Ultima timeline is the game set?

J.H.: Everything about this game screams Ultima! From the character races (which include Gargoyles, Orcs, Pixies, Humans, Elves, and Phoda – a race based on the Fuzzies from previous Ultimas) to many of the points of interest, you’ll find plenty of references that hearken back to the Ultima games. More importantly, our entire adventure system is centered around making decisions based on the Ultima Virtues. For example, you might be asked to slay a Minotaur Lord who has been raiding a local farm. When you find him, you learn that his people are starving. At this point, you could demand Justice and fight the minotaurs, or you could show Compassion and help them find a new food source. In keeping with the previous Ultima games, neither Virtue choice is the wrong choice – they’re just different. They will, however, lead you down different paths of the adventure, as well as determine the abilities your character can learn. Eventually, as characters continue to advance they can even ascend to the level of the Avatar, the ultimate fantasy hero!

However, troubles occured in February 2004, when EA took the decision to disband Origin Systems and relocate the team, from Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles, as we can read on Gamesindustry:

Publisher Electronic Arts is reportedly planning to shut down its Origin Systems development studio in Austin, Texas, and is offering staff at the studio the choice of relocation to California or a severance package.

Origin Systems is best known for its work on the classic Ultima and Wing Commander franchises, and the move to relocate the studio’s staff comes as part of a wider consolidation of EA’s development efforts.

The founding of a new development campus in Los Angeles has already seen the Westwood studio being shut down, while the relocation of the Maxis studio to Los Angeles was announced last week.

In June of the same year, Electronic Arts pulled the plug for Ultima X: Odyssey:

Today Ultima X: Odyssey was summarily pulled from the production schedule by publisher Electronic Arts. The game had been on track for a 2005 release, but rumors of trouble had been swirling around the project for some time.

In a post on the official UXO Web site, producer David Yee gave the game an epitaph of sorts. “As of today, development on Ultima X: Odyssey has ended,” he said. “This isn’t an easy decision but it’s the right move for the future of all things Ultima, including the community and the team.”

Yee said the reason for the decision was to “focus our online efforts, and most of my team will be moving to the UO expansion pack, the UO live team, and an unannounced Ultima Online project.” GameSpot was told by another source within EA that no staffers were laid off as a result of today’s decision.

Formerly under the guidance of lead producer Rick Hall, Ultima X: Odyssey went through an evolution when its design and development staff were recently moved from EA’s Austin, Texas, studio to the company’s main Redwood Shores campus. At that time, Hall relocated to EA’s Tiburon studio, and UXO was placed in the hands of Yee.

According to some sources, Ultima X: Odyssey was definitely cancelled during the relocation of staff members from Texas to California, as many of them decided to resign instead of moving homes and families. In 2011, Justin Olivetti wrote on Engagdet:

Reportedly, one of the biggest reasons behind the project’s death was EA’s decision to relocate the Austin, TX team to California, a move at which many devs balked. With the relocation a failure, the game’s development was hobbled and EA felt it had no choice but to give it the axe.

Ultima X: Odyssey wasn’t the first Ultima MMORPG to be canceled. Years prior, EA canceled Ultima Worlds Online: Origin in order to focus on development of expansion packs for Ultima Online.



Dragon Empires [PC – Cancelled]


Dragon Empires is a canceled fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game published and developed by Codemasters, exclusively for PC, at least from 2001 until 2004.

Dragon Empires was officially revealed in September 2001 as we can read on Gamezone:

Dragon Empires presents a world where magic is plentiful and the lives of humans and dragons intertwine.  The world is made up of 100 lands spread over five empires, a world that can be ruled by player clans and a world whose strongholds are guarded and policed by fiercely protective dragons.

Dragon Empires is filled with embattled clans, each striving to prove their superiority in head-to-head group combat, as they aim to rule magnificent cities and, ultimately, empires.  Dragon Empires breaks the mold by placing an emphasis on player-to-player combat and making it an integral part of the gaming experience.  It is open season on all other players all the time, thereby enforcing the concept of player clans forming and ruling sprawling cities within the game’s world.

Although players start out on their own, as they become experienced they’ll be able to form their own clans and take control of entire cities or rule the seas between the lands and make profit and taxes from the land they rule.  Cities can be owned by a clan or taken by force against other clans in real time wars and sieges.  Combat is real time and engaging in an attack is as easy as walking up to a target and using spells or weapons on it.  There are mechanisms to keep the world from turning into anarchy; with the basic rule being that, while a player can attack anyone, they risk becoming an outlaw if the attack is not warranted.  Outlaws become an instant target and can be hunted down by other players or face the wrath of the city’s protectors – the dragons.

“Dragon Empires is a massive and important project as Codemasters continues to embrace new delivery platforms for gaming,” said Ted Carron, producer of Dragon Empires.  “The always-on combative element is something we’re very excited about; the majority of existing MMORPGs are 99% co-operative and relatively slow paced – Dragon Empires is more intense and competitive, driving people into groups where the real benefit of online gaming lies.  We’re confident no other MMORPG will provide the fiercely competitive balanced battles that Dragon Empires will create an arena for.”

For Dragon Empires, Codemasters is promising real progression in the world of MMORPGs and the game will be visually striking in a 3D real time rendered environment.  The game is being developed at Codemasters’ online development facility in Oakhurst, California.

The English language version of Dragon Empires is scheduled to go online in Q2 2002 for PC gamers. The software will be launched as a boxed product with players subscribing on a monthly basis to play.

Using the Unreal Engine, the game was briefly showed during E3 2002 and was scheduled to go into beta in May 2003, as we can read on Gamespot:

In the latest of its newsletter updates on Dragon Empires, Codemasters has announced that the upcoming online role-playing game’s “period of planning has come to an end,” and that the game’s beta test will begin in May 2003, a bit later than was originally scheduled. The update attributes this delay to the addition of features that the game’s fan community requested, as well as graphical updates like improved textures and new character models.

In April 2003, Codemasters announced that the game will be present at E3 2003, alongside further details:

The game, slated for launch in Spring 2004, has already attracted a massive fan base, with more than 120,000 applications received for beta testing.

Dragon Empires delivers an online fantasy world that is both immersive and compelling, where thousands of players socialize, trade and fight individually or in clans, for control of the game’s 50 cities.  At E3, Codemasters will highlight Dragon Empires’ stunning scenery, landscapes and buildings that form Fortitude, the game’s world of five unique mystical empires.  Each empire is ruled by a mighty dragon whose personality shapes the individual look and feel of each empire and its respective cities.  E3 will also mark the first showing of the game’s playable and non-playable characters.  In Fortitude, the lives of humans, monsters and dragons have intertwined to form three playable races – the magical Humans, the heroic Dragonblood and the darker brood of Shadow.

In addition to  these features, the game’s incredible climate engine, based on real weather models, will also play a prominent role throughout gameplay.  With naturally evolving climactic effects, including lightning, rain, snow, blizzards, fog and rainbows, the climate model provides for naturally evolving environments across sandy deserts, hot plains, tropical forests and treacherous, ice-glistened mountains.

Players will be able to experience the world in third or first person. With the game’s draw distance at over a mile, it gives the player a feeling of seeing as far as the eye can see.

During E3 2003, the title was showed and RPGFan, alongside Loadedinc, wrote previews for the game. Thus, RPGFan wrote:

One of the more important gameplay aspects of an MMORPG is how player-vs-player (PvP) combat is handled. Each game in the genre has its own unique system and Dragon Empires is no exception. Bounty hunters, outlaws and contract traders are able to engage in inter-player combat, Civilians on the other hand, are free from all forms of player killing.

Bounty hunters will be free to attack any outlaw and will be rewarded if they successfully dispatch them. Players will begin as civilians and will need to get permits from non-player characters in cities in order to become bounty hunters. These slips have various durations and will likely be cancelled if the bounty hunter is killed. Bounty hunters who fail to complete their tasks become civilians and must renew their bounty-hunting permit.

Outlaws can attack any bounty hunter or trader for their contracted goods. There are many ways to become an outlaw, one of which is by murdering an empire’s venerated beast. These creatures are sacred to each empire and usually have their own treasure horde. Killing one of these creatures will result in becoming an outlaw of that empire and a bounty being placed on your head. Since each empire has different sacred beasts, players can hunt down these creatures, become filthy rich with their loot, and slither over the border to safely count their horde.

Traders will be free to defend themselves against any attacking outlaws to keep their contracted goods safe. Civilians can become traders by accepting contracts to transport goods between empires. These conditional “classes” will give different kinds of players the opportunity to participate in PvP and cooperative play on their own terms.

For its part, Loadedinc told us:

After the demo we asked Peter Tyson, Codemasters community manager, about the pushing back of the Beta and he said that the Beta had been delayed for various reasons including engine changes over the past few months. He did say that a very limited Beta will go live in June, perhaps 100 testers, and then more will roll out. Peter expects a long Beta period before the game is launched around May next year. Peter also stressed the importance of user feedback and Codemasters really want to take their time with this game to get things just right.

Peter was also rather excited about the game’s economy and trading model in which different cities are trying to undermine each other with a strong emphasis on manufacturing and trading. Players will be able to take resources from areas such as farms and mines to the cities where they can be sold for gold or just gain experience from trading. This  means players are also open to attack from outlaws along trade routes making it a risky business. There’s also the ability to refine resources such as iron ore into iron and then manufacture swords, or alternatively you can sell that ore or give it to another player, who may be a trader, to move the resource around the game world. Once items such as swords are created they can be enhanced by adding other items to them such as a fiery ruby to create a fire sword. The game will feature automated production via manufacturing and also crafting of individual items to enhance them further. The game really is economy driven and it’s the one aspect of the game that should provide variety in the types of players and groups that populate the world. Peter expects clans to set themselves up as merchants and no doubt we’ll see groups of players moving goods around the world to drive that economy and city production.

While we didn’t get to see much of the actual gameplay this year, we did get a good look at the game engine and it was one of the most impressive engines powering an MMORPG at this year’s E3. The landscapes look gorgeous and the weather effects are nothing short of stunning making Dragon Empires a real stand-out title. Let’s hope next time we see the game we’ll be able to get deeper into the actual gameplay and player interaction.

However, after months of delay, Codemasters took the decision to cancel the project in September 2004, as Gamesindustry learned it:

British publisher Codemasters has announced that it has discontinued development on Dragon Empires, with the massively multiplayer RPG title being dropped due to “technical issues.”

The bulk of the development team on the game are being transferred to other parts of Codemasters’ operation, and no redundancies have been announced as a result of the cancellation.

Codemasters claims that it still has “long-term ambitions” in the massively multiplayer space, and says that the decision to cancel Dragon Empires is down to technical problems – with the company lauding the “incredible support” from the online community for the title to date.

On Gamezone, we could read further details:

Technical difficulties had been weighed and after deliberation it was decided that further development of Dragon Empires would be halted. It was a sad turn of events for the community, which had eagerly been looking forward to the title.

Gary Dunn, producer of the title, posted a message on the official Dragon Empires Web site, which stated: “We were experiencing unexpected obstacles with the server code, in particular our ability to serve clients at a scale which would have permitted us to launch the game as an MMO. The resolution of these issues was fundamental to the success of the project and ultimate release of the game. Due to the delays, a detailed analysis and review of the game was undertaken over the period of approximately six weeks in which a detailed study of the viability of the project was undertaken.”

After the cancellation of Dragon Empires, Codemasters devoted itself to publishing MMOGs by acquiring licenses from RF Online and Archlord in order to exploit them in the West. Both games didn’t meet the expected commercial success and Codemasters didn’t renew the licenses. The company then concentrated on the exploitation of American MMORPGs in Europe, notably signing with Turbine Inc. to exploit Dungeons and Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online.

However, Codemasters gradually withdrew from the exploitation of MMORPGs to refocus on the development and exploitation of racing games, in particular through several emblematic licenses such as the F1, Dirt, GRID and Project Cars series. The studio was acquired by Electronic Arts in February 2021.