7 MMOs That Were Canceled Before Launch

Throughout the history of MMOs, there have been a lot of titles that have never come to be. Many of these are canceled for monetary reasons, but sometimes they’re canceled just because they aren’t as good as the developers had hoped they would be. We’re taking a look at 7 MMOs that were canceled before launch.


World of Darkness

World of Darkness

Its been 5 years since World of Darkness was officially canceled and lifelong fans of the IP still hold out hope that it will be revived. Every time there is news about the World of Darkness IP, gamers fall out of the woodwork asking if it will be the MMO. However, it never is an MMO and because trends have moved on it likely never will be. We know that the World of Darkness MMO had a troubled life from the very start. CCP was disorganized and often took developers off the project to work on their big money maker and studio darling EVE Online. In fact, an insider told The Guardian that there was one manager in particular who was problematic. They said he had no vision for the game and often couldn’t answer basic questions. It was a sad end to what looked to be a very promising, very dark MMO. Thankfully, the world has been able to see the game as it looked before it was canceled thanks to a beta player who leaked a number of screenshots and their playtest manual. Press E to Seduce.


Everquest Next

It was intended to be the next chapter in the Everquest saga. Everquest Next, a voxel-based MMORPG, was going to take the genre into the next generation, but around 2015 doubt started to be cast as to whether the game would ever be released. They had cut ties with Storybricks and layoffs were spreading throughout the company; they even laid off the forums. Then in early 2016 the game was canceled. It honestly wasn’t that much of a surprise at the time. News had been sparse and it was pretty obvious it was coming. Of course, that’s no consolation for all of those people who spent $100 on Landmark, which was only supposed to be a companion to the game. The loss of Everquest Next marked a big turning point for the genre. Since then we’ve been in a slow decline.


Kingdoms of Amalur: Project Copernicus

While fans of the Kingdoms of Amalur game were very much looking forward to Project Copernicus, the MMORPG based in the Amalur universe, it was the real world drama around the game’s eventual demise that it is best known for today. You may be familiar with the 38 Studios saga, which only came to an end this January, 7 years after the drama unfolded. This involves former baseball star Curt Schilling, the state of Rhode Island, and even the FBI. From the various investigations into what happened at the studio, it appeared that some studio execs knew the $75 million Rhode Island had given them wouldn’t be enough to finish Copernicus and that they failed to notify investors. Thankfully, not all hope is lost for Kingdoms of Amalur or Project Copernicus. THQ Nordic bought the IP which included the games late last year. While it seems unlikely they’ll make Copernicus that little bit of hope still remains.


Stargate Worlds

If ever there has been a TV series that deserves an MMO it was Stargate. The game was intended to revolve around the earlier story from SG-1 which involved the Tau’ri (humans from Earth) and the fearsome Goa’uld, aliens who had enslaved Humanity and scattered them across the galaxy. Playable races included Humans, Goa’uld, Jaffa (genetically engineered human soldiers made to serve the Goa’uld and treat them as gods), the Asgard (highly intelligent little grey aliens). Quite a lot is known about the game despite the fact that it was canceled before it ever left closed beta. Sadly, the company developing it went bankrupt and no public attempts to release the game were ever made. Clips of the game have been seen in other forms of media, however. Footage from the game was used in the opening sequence of 2008 film WarGames: The Dead Code. More footage was used in the first episode of the TV series Stargate Universe.


Shadow Realms

Before Anthem, Bioware was working on Shadow Realms, a 4v1 game that few people in the world ever got to see. Thankfully, we happened to be attending Gamescom the year it was shown and we have an article all about it. Sadly, Shadow Realms was canceled just a few months later. In the announcement, it was explained that Bioware was simply moving on to other projects. The game was a delightfully dark take on the 4v1 genre that itself didn’t seem to last very long. With all the talk about Anthem at the moment, it’s important to take some time to remember the game Bioware stopped making so they could make Anthem. One can’t help but wonder if things would have gone a bit more smoothly for them if they had stuck with Shadow Realms.


True Fantasy Live Online

The development of True Fantasy Live Online was nearly completed when this game was canceled. By that point, it had already gone through two years of complications. One such complication was the integration of voice chat, which Microsoft insisted was necessary. Level-5, the Japanese studio that was developing the game also reportedly struggled with online network coding. Relations between Level-5 and Microsoft soured as Microsoft grew frustrated by Level-5’s inability to meet their demands. Meanwhile, the Level-5 CEO said that part of the issue was Microsoft’s inexperience in dealing with Japanese developers. He also implied that the companies didn’t part on good terms. Looking back at footage of the game now it’s amazing to see how close we were to living our true fantasy live online (see what I did there?).


Imperator Online

Imagine a world where Rome never fell. That was the concept behind Mythic’s Imperator Online. The game was originally intended to be Mythic’s follow up to Dark Age of Camelot, but, as with all the other games on this list, that wasn’t to be. Sadly, while Imperator Online looked like it was going to be a very promising Sci-fi MMORPG Mythic opted to cancel it as they felt it wasn’t coming together as a AAA experience. They instead went on to make Warhammer Online.


Of course, all of this is a very incomplete list of games that were canceled before they launched. We also have an article on games that never made it out of beta and one on canceled MMOs if you’re itching to read more on the topic. You can also browse our Shut Down tag where you’ll find a whole lot of news announcing the shut down of beloved games.

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Is Breach Finally 4v1 Done Right?

The idea of asymmetric PvP has a long history in the online gaming world that has never achieved its full potential. Back in the early MMORPG days of EverQuest and Asheron’s Call, developers actually spawned into the online words as raid bosses. Due to the unbalanced nature and resource constraints, these types of events haven’t been implemented in more recent MMOs. A few years ago, we had a small-scale take on players controlling raid bosses with Evolve while Shadow Realms attempted to recreate the Dungeon Master experience from Dungeons & Dragons. Now Breach is trying its hand at the asymmetric PvP subgenre as a 4v1, third-person action RPG that puts a twist on ancient mythology.

Breach Veil Demon


In Shadow Realms’ Shadow

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Dallas Dickinson (President) and Gabe Amatangelo (Chief Creative Director) of QC Games to get a hands-on demonstration of Breach. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they were previously part of Bioware’s Shadow Realms development team.

A few minutes into the game, I was instantly reminded of my time with Shadow Realm back at PAX 2014. The idea of taking over the Dungeon Master, or Shadowlord, role definitely intrigued me, especially as someone who very much enjoys PvP focused games. Setting traps, taking over monsters, and picking off heroes one by one was great in concept, but what was presented at the time lacked a special something. It could have been the generic characters, settings, and skills or the combat just not feeling quite right. It felt like the team had great ideas with Shadow Realms but wasn’t able to quite build the gameplay to deliver on them.

Already having those ideas to pull from, it seems as if the QC Games team has been able to spend more time building the core game mechanics such as combat, setting, and character progression . With that in mind, let’s look at what Breach is doing to set itself apart.

Breach gameplay


What is Breach?

In the short time that I spent with Breach, it was very apparent that the game does not simply fit into one category. It’s clearly a lobby-based, co-op third-person action RPG, but it also embraces pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons and pulls parts from the MOBA genre. Breach can be played solo as a hero or Veil Demon, co-op, or in full 4v1 PvP mode.

These varying game modes have the ability to draw in all kinds of different gamers and not just those interested in PvP; you can dungeon crawl with your friends or torment AI heroes as the Veil Demon. The standard game mode will have four heroes face off against a single Veil Demon that can manipulate the battleground and control hordes of monsters, but the number of players can be modified in the custom game mode.

There are the typical roles that one would expect from a team-based RPG: Mage, physical DPS, healer, and tank with a wide-variety of classes ranging from Necromancer to Nighthawk. Currently, there are 18 classes for the Heroes and 6 for the Veil Demon, with more on the way. Furthermore, players can mix and match skills between certain classes to tailor their own unique playstyle. Unlike traditional MMORPGs or MOBAs, players aren’t locked into a single class or hero but instead can customize an avatar that can change or modify classes before any match. In a way, it’s similar to Final Fantasy XIV where players can access every class on their main character and are granted extra ability options based on the number of unlocked jobs.

Breach God

Before a match starts, players will hang out in a central hub similar to Destiny or most other current lobby-centric games. This is where they can modify their equipment, talents, skills and practice on the training dummies. When a match begins, the two teams will take turns drafting. The heroes will draft their classes while the Veil Demon first chooses their class and then two elite monsters. In the current build, players aren’t forced to fill certain roles, and this can lead to some interesting team compositions. However, as I experienced in one of the play sessions, a team of all Demon Hunters isn’t the best choice and a good balance of roles will likely be optimal in most situations.

After the draft ends, players will be transported to the battleground and be required to complete various objectives as they move forward. These include missions such as killing a certain number of enemies before the timer expires or capturing points. While this seems simple enough, the Veil Demon is doing its best to stop the heroes from succeeding. The Veil Demon this omnipresent entity that can’t directly engage or be engaged by the heroes but it can spawn traps, take control of minions, or summon powerful elite monsters. At the end of each map there is a powerful boss that the Veil Demon can either take control of or work together with as a final attempt to stop the heroes.



According to the story, 70,000 years ago humans lived alongside mythological creatures where they were enslaved and hunted. Taking pity on the humans, a group of Immortals split the Earth into two realities by creating the Veil. The humans were separated from the other mythological creatures and allowed to live in relative peace. However, the Veil is starting to collapse and the worlds are colliding. This has simultaneously allowed demons to invade the human world while also providing certain individuals with a power called “The Spark,” which grants them magical abilities.

Breach Environment

There are a lot of legendary myths from around the world and not focusing on a single one, such as Roman or Greek, allows the QC team a huge amount of freedom in level and enemy design. Each of the battlegrounds embodies a different culture from Egypt to Japan, and the final boss represents one of their gods or mythical beings.

This initially made me think back to SMITE, which currently has close to 100 gods from 12 different pantheons. Hopefully, this will give the development team a lot of inspiration to draw from and continue to create new content while allowing players to experience cultures from a multitude of backgrounds.


Game Mechanics and Features

Before meeting with QC Games, I had the opportunity to play through the tutorial on my own. One of the first things I noticed was how smooth and responsive the combat was. When you press a button, there’s no awkward delay or animation before the attack or skill initiates. The overall control and feeling of combat reminded me a lot of Neverwinter, albeit with better visuals , and specifically playing the Assassin was reminiscent of the Trickster Rogue.

Attacks have a nice ‘snap’ to them and you can feel the impact on enemies. Standard attacks can be performed without a target, but there’s a sort of soft-lock when correctly aiming at an enemy and using certain skills. This aspect is also similar to Guild Wars 2 and The Elder Scrolls Online, but the controls are much less floaty.

According to the development team, the game will be free-to-play once released and there will be no pay-to-win aspects. For monetization, Breach will be using a League of Legends style where players can pay to unlock new classes faster or purchase cosmetics.

For the most part, the game will feature horizontal progression, which should also decrease chances for pay-to-win features. Unlocking new gear won’t provide a direct power bonus but will instead increase options available to the players. For example, each item for a class provides access to certain talents that are unlocked during a mission. Swapping out that item won’t make you instantly stronger but it could provide talents more suited to your play style. Furthermore, classes can mix and match certain skills, which means that unlocking more classes provides more cross-class combination options.

Breach Elementalist


What it Needs

I feel like the elephant in the room is the lack of a map editor. With Shadow Realms likely never seeing the light of day, Breach is the closest we’re getting to that Dungeon Master experience. And while it’s fun to spawn traps and monsters on the fly, getting to create and setup an entire campaign ahead of time is exactly what this type of game needs. Player created content has a history of driving longevity in games and it often spawns entirely different ways to play or even creates new genres.

To answer my initial question of whether Breach is finally the 4v1 game we need… the answer is maybe. For being in Alpha state, the game already feels great mechanically and the tools are there, but it just needs a few more features and to give players a bit more control over design.

Breach Heroes

In its current state, Breach is a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to what QC Games has in store for its future. For those of you interested in trying out Breach, it will enter paid Early Access on Steam later this year with an expected free-to-play launch in 2019.

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