This Seems Significant: Asheron’s Call to Shut Down
Engadget is reporting that, after seventeen years of operation, MMORPG Asheron’s Call is turning off the lights:
Well-done online role-playing games tend to have a long shelf life, but the Asheron’s Call series has lasted longer than most. It got started way back in 1999, and has lasted through three publisher changes, a shift to a buy-once model and even a full-on resurrection, among other tribulations. However, even classics have to call it quits at some point. Turbine has announced that it’s ending support for both the original Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 on January 31st, 2017. The series will be completely free to play for any account holder until then, but you won’t get to create a new account to see what the fuss is about.
The shutdown wasn’t exactly unexpected. Asheron’s Call support has been limited to maintenance for over two years, so it wasn’t about to experience a revival. And just a day before the closure announcement, Turbine revealed that it was spinning off the Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online teams into a separate company, Standing Stone Games. Given that those are Turbine’s only active projects, it’s not hard to see what’s likely happening — Turbine may still own Asheron’s Call, but it doesn’t have the staff needed to keep the lights on.
Hmm…a major development house spins off two of its legacy MMORPGs to a new company formed from the staffers who had previously comprised the teams for those MMORPGs at said development house, and then shutters another game that was basically in maintenance mode.
We’ve seen this story play out before, and then recently.