With the layoffs of some of the most relevant developers behind the ambitious Everquest Next project, and the many changes Daybreak Game Company has gone through, combined with the stubborn silence about the game in the past few months, it was pretty much in the air.
President Russ Shanks posted a message on the company’s official website, explaining the cancellation.
“I’m writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.
For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.
For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. 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.
The future of the EverQuest franchise as a whole is important to us here at Daybreak. EverQuest in all its forms is near and dear to our hearts. EverQuest and EverQuest II are going strong. Rest assured that our passion to grow the world of EverQuest remains undiminished.”
Everquest Next was supposed to release first on PC, with a PS4 launch teased and a Xbox one port heavily hinted to as well.
As for it not being “fun” I have my doubts, as the concepts behind the game seemed the very idea of fun. Yet, it’s certainly difficult to bring an ambitious project to fruition after firing some of the most prominent minds that devised it (and the whole franchise).
That said, Everquest Landmark will still be released officially in the Spring, as a sad memento to what it could have been. I doubt anyone can honestly say that they didn’t see this coming.