In the case of Zentia, the closing is not as unexpected. There hasn't been much at all happening with the game for quite a while. MilMo, on the other hand, was a complete surprise.
When I first heard about the seeming lack of customization in Zentia, I knew from experience that this only meant each character would probably start off looking similar but be customizable inside the game. Heck, are there that many differences between Taurens in World of Warcraft? Would you really be able to pick out your friend's RIFT character in a line-up? The big differences come in the almost infinite combinations of items and weapons each character might use. Zentia's character models were more like several different, unique races. You could even play as a monkey!
"I tend to use certain words over and over again in my writing, and charm is a favorite. It means "inviting," an experience that leaves the player smiling. So many MMOs go right for the action first. What happened to asking the player to come into a world, showing her wonderful things, and sweeping her away?"
I tend to use certain words over and over again in my writing, and charm is a favorite. It means "inviting," an experience that leaves the player smiling. So many MMOs go right for the action first. What happened to asking the player to come into a world, showing her wonderful things, and sweeping her away? If we take most major titles as an indicator, we see that developers seem to think we should be jumping right into linear combat with explosions shaking our desks and lore being fed to us in quick batches of quests. Games like Ryzom, Mabinogi, and Zentia are worlds, not just a series of instant adventures tuned for those who want bigger and better armor.
The closing of a game like Zentia is, to me, just another sign that the Western audience tends to grind through a title and move on to the next one. We're often a snobbish bunch as well. We claim we need something new and different, but we flock to games like Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT. Western gamers generally do not want something different; they just want something new. Zentia is a game that took a lot of chances and played differently from most games. That doesn't normally pan out.
MilMo's graphics are some of my favorite. I love how I can make a big-headed character who looks like I do, thanks to the awesome cash shop included in the game.
I asked Ola Holmdahl, Junebud's CEO, for an official statement and got this response:
Junebud has been an awe-inspiring company, staffed from its first moment by remarkable people. I could not be happier to have had the privilege to lead a group of this creative calibre. The company was founded in the fall of 2008 in the midst of a financial crisis of historical proportions. Only through passionate work and brave investors were we able to bring a unique brand of games to market, exemplified best in our much-loved MilMo. We are humbled by the commitment and energy brought to the table by our players, from the very first brave souls to the most recent of all MilMonauts.It was a good run for Junebud (although MilMo might still survive), and I hope we see it return at some point. It's important to note that Ryzom, for example, has had a long, bumpy road but is still around and maintaining a playerbase. Perhaps the same can happen for MilMo? I certainly hope so. In the meanwhile, I'm not deleting any games or wiping out any bookmarks... both of these titles are staying right where they are on my PC.
Sadly, Junebud recently reached a stage where it lacked the funds necessary to continue operations. This is in part because we had been unable to grow MilMo large enough, but most importantly because we failed to reach any new agreement for the paid development of new games. We worked long and hard to save the company but finally had to accept the realities of the situation. It has yet to be decided what will happen to MilMo. Ownership of the intellectual property has passed to the manager of Junebuds's estate, who is working with the previous management team to look for solutions. In the meantime, a die-hard team of ex-developers, who are now neither employed nor paid, have volunteered to keep the game up for as long as the servers have been paid for. All user data and all game code has been backed up to make sure it's possible to restart the service in the future if the opportunity to do so presents itself.
All I can say is that we expect to know more within a few weeks once we have had time to better assess the different options. On behalf of the Junebud Crew, I wish to thank our wonderful players, our partners in creating a unique internet destination where imagination, at least for a little while, has been able to run free.
Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!