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The Fall of Nosgoth

If you don’t know what Nosgoth was then check out the Open Beta trailer.

What was Nosgoth?

Nosgoth was one part third-person shooter, one part hack-and-slash while also having that special something that made the game stand out from the saturated crowd of multiplayer games. For those unfamiliar with the game, Nosgoth was a multiplayer game for the Legacy of Kain series. It was initially announced in 2013 but entered Open Beta in 2015.

I only joined the game when it entered Open Beta but many players from the Closed Beta days stuck around until the end of the game. Within one year of play I put in around 2000 hours of gameplay time and at least another 500 hours of watching other people play the game in casual livestreams and during the competitive ESL matches. This game meant a huge amount to me and the 1 year cancellation is almost here which encouraged me to write this article about how the game died.

The announcement for the cancellation was made on April 8th 2016 but the servers were shut down on May 31st that year. The official forums were later closed on June 14th and were moved to the Archive for the Legacy of Kain series.

Nosgoth was developed by Psyonix (yes, the developers of Rocket League) and was published by Square Enix. It’s difficult to say how much of a role both companies had in the closure of the game but I’m going to do my best to explain everything we know about what happened.

The official reason for cancellation

When Nosgoth was officially cancelled, the reason provided by the community manager was that the audience had not “grown enough to sustain ongoing operations”. As an ex-Nosgoth player, this made absolutely no sense for several reasons.

  1. Prior to this announcement the developers were talking about getting the game ready for full release later in 2016

  2. Two days before the announcement the developers released the League rewards only for the players who reached the correct rank

  3. In March the developers had an interview with MMO Games where they stated they were not interested in growing the audience until the game was out of beta

Thus the official ‘reason’ for the closure of Nosgoth makes very little sense. The first point is clear that the developers were planning to release the final class into the game very soon and that they were still actively developing the game. It suggests that the cancellation was a very sudden decision.

The REAL reasons for cancellation

Back when Nosgoth was still around, players were digging for information about what actually happened and why the game was cancelled. We discovered a few things that seem more likely to be the real reason behind the cancellation.

  1. Psyonix won a BAFTA for Rocket League on almost the same day as the cancellation

This is more symbolic than anything as it shows the clear difference between the game that Psyonix was contracted to make and their own pet project. It suggests that Psyonix focused their attention on their own game instead of working on the game they were contracted to make. There’s a clear correlation between the rise of Rocket League and fall of Nosgoth. Where Nosgoth needed updates, Rocket League was given them instead.

  1. Psyonix is focusing on their own projects

This is probably one of the most likely reasons for the cancellation. Psyonix simple decided they don’t want to work for other companies. It makes sense considering the popularity of Rocket League and the developer has previously stated that they were “developing new projects” which still haven’t been announced.

  1. Square Enix was losing too much money

It’s a fact that Square Enix was pumping at least $10k per month into the game. Or at least they did once the ranked league mode came into play. For several seasons, players were able to fight for a piece of the $10k prize pool in addition to the few hundred dollars that teams could earn from the ESL.

While the ESL on it’s own wasn’t an issue, the $10k per month for ranked may have been too much money for SE to be losing each month. Especially as they had a new Final Fantasy game getting ready for release and a fiscal report to publish very soon.

What led to the cancellation

It’s no secret that Nosgoth still had a lot of work to do. Both in terms of new content and fixing bugs which has been in the game since the alpha. The developers focused their attentions on adding new content to the game instead of fixing the current issues which caused some players to leave the game. Listing all of these issues would take forever but here’s a shorter version of the list

  1. Bugs and glitches

  2. Bad matchmaking

  3. Very weak tutorial system

For new players, getting into Nosgoth was a difficult process and the matchmaking issues would cause new players to be placed in matches with veterans that had over 1000 hours played. In addition to this, the tutorial at the start of the game was inadequate for teaching newcomers how to play the game. Fans of the game suggested many different fixes to this and before the game was cancelled, veteran players were looking to start a training system to help teach other players how to play the game.

Conclusion

The true reasons for the cancellation of Nosgoth is currently unclear and it doesn’t seem as though Square Enix or Psyonix are willing to discuss what happened to the game. In the end, veterans of Nosgoth are currently left stranded without another simlar game to move to. They’re forced to pick up several games just to try and replace one little game which did things that no other game did.

In our next Nosgoth Memorial article we’ll be looking at how the community of the game has coped with the loss of the game.

Vae Victis!

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