Ryzom Facing Imminent Closure
Ryzom, the oddball MMOG from French developer Nevrax, has gone into receivership and appears unlikely to recover.
This marks the game's second flirtation with bankruptcy: In late 2006, Nevrax announced that it would enter receivership in December and was eventually sold to German browser-based game company Gameforge AG, which then launched Gameforge France SARL to assume control of rights to the game. According to a report by Ryzom WarCry, the German parent company is "on the brink of extinction" and the game is unlikely to survive this time.
"Ryzom is going to pass through a few uncertain days/weeks, a second time," Ryzom Community Liaison Marjo wrote on the Ryzom announcements forum. "Our efforts to move Ryzom forward didn't get the expected repercussions and today as I speak, while the game continues to run and to be supported, the company behind its development - Gameforge France SARL, located in Paris - is lacking the funds to keep going. For those who've known the Nevrax times and went through the transitory period in last December, the same legal procedure of "liquidation judiciaire" has been put in place yesterday. This means that while the appointed liquidator will do what it takes to close the company, potential buyers may show up to take over the game Ryzom. If nobody shows up, the servers will be shut down in less than 3 weeks at liquidator's request."
During the period leading up to the anticipated server shutdown, paid subscribers will be able to continue playing for free, and while new subscriptions to full Ryzom accounts will not be accepted, free trial accounts can be created and will no longer be level capped.
Originally launched in 2004 as The Saga of Ryzom, the game was billed as "science-fantasy" by Nevrax due to its use of elements of both genres. The name was changed in August 2006 for marketing purposes.
Too bad. I never had any particular animosity toward these folks, but it's another example of well-meaning tech-heads thinking they can design. Being weird and wacky doesn't make you marketable, nor does spending all sorts of time after the fact designing a tool for players to somehow, maybe, design their own fun.
Sorry, folks, but you're going to have to know what you're doing before you ship, and writing server software isn't enough. You have to have something fun to call it a game, and you have to have something sustainable to call it a world.