Thoughts on the Landmark Shutdown Announcement

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In case you missed it, Daybreak, formerly known as Sony Online Entertainment, has announced that they would be shutting down Landmark, the game that Minecraft would be if it got a massive graphics overhaul. It originally started its life as part of the incredibly long-lived Everquest series and was intended to be a companion to the newest Everquest MMORPG; Everquest Next. After a ton of confusion with the players, and if you’re a paranoid sort, a sign of things to come, Landmark dropped the Everquest in Everquest Landmark, the original title for the game. To be fair to them, there was a lot of genuine confusion for players. Many thought that Landmark was Everquest Next and the easiest way to fix that was to rename the game to Landmark.

And then the studio went silent. They continued to silently work on little updates for Landmark over time but little was ever heard about Everquest Next. Then the news came that Everquest Next would never be made, the studio cancelled it. However, there was no reason to fear, Landmark would continue as it had developed a life and community of its own. That happened in March 2016.

By June Landmark had launched and it quietly faded from my thoughts. Even while working as the Editor in Chief of MMOGames Landmark never crossed my mind. Even more damning, as someone who bought the most expensive, $100 edition Landmark never crossed my mind. It wasn’t because I had been more invested in Everquest Next, I wasn’t. Landmark was going to be my place. I love building, I love starting from nothing and creating beautiful things.

I only ever logged in to Landmark twice.

I’m not sure I can point to any one thing as the reason I never logged in again. I don’t know if it was the total emptiness of the area I was in or the fact that I was just plopped in this world with no instructions and no directions. It didn’t grab me. But you know what? That’s ok. That is a risk I took. I paid $100 to play a game for two hours. I believed in the project, I knew they had a good thing going and I was happy to give them my support even if I wouldn’t benefit from it myself. This wasn’t the first time I had done such a thing and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

landmark shutdown

Before Everquest Next and Landmark had been announced I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Georgeson, the then Director of Everquest, and the most passionate man in the gaming industry. He was so excited about his next project, he wanted to tell the world about it, scream about it from the roof of PAX East. Seeing his excitement, barely contained as it was, is what sold me on Landmark. It looked great in the reveal, but it was Dave’s excitement that really let me know it was something worth looking at. This was also the PAX East right after City of Heroes shut down and Dave said something during the MMORPG panel that has stuck with me; MMOs shouldn’t die.

But piece by piece Landmark has marched towards its doom. When SOE was sold I worried for all the Everquest games. Everquest was my first MMO, and even though I can’t bring myself to play it anymore I still have fond memories and hope it outlasts WoW.

When Dave left Daybreak I grew even more concerned. Could the two games survive without his passion?

There was a brief glimmer of hope as they announced they were shifting away from Landmark to work on Everquest Next. But the months of silence that followed was deafening. By the time they announced that Everquest Next was cancelled it had been so long since we had heard about the game it also served as a reminder that it was at one point going to be a thing.

From that moment on I knew Landmark’s days were numbered. And they were, that number is 438 if anyone is wondering. Not even a full year later, and only 257 days since Landmark launched.

Despite not playing it I am sad to see it go.

I’m sad to see the genre that I love so much disappearing, but that’s a topic for another day.

For now, I may load up Landmark one last time before the end.

 

(PS, I’m only just returning to MMOWatcher after taking several months off while I was hunting for a job. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it going forward but this was a topic that caught my eye and I wanted to talk about it. So please excuse all the old posts that are showing up after I took half a year off. Thanks!)