The first season of Blaseball—not baseball—ended with the opening of the Forbidden Book. A solar eclipse immediately followed; the umpires' eyes turned white, the Moab Desert disappeared into a gaping Hellmouth, and star player Jaylen Hotdogfingers burst into flames. That was the beginning, not the end, of the deep, awesome weirdness that was the hallmark of the browser-based sports gambling horror sim—a later season ended "with a goddamn JRPG boss fight"—but three years later, the strange beauty has finally run its course.
"It is with a heavy heart we announce that we are not going to run the Coronation Era as planned and are making the decision to end Blaseball today," developer The Game Band announced today.
"The short of it is that Blaseball isn’t sustainable to run. Since Blaseball’s inception, we’ve been fighting against the amount of work it takes to keep Blaseball true to itself while financially supporting the team and keeping our staff healthy. We’ve tried countless solutions to make it work, and we’ve come to the conclusion that this fight isn’t one we can win in the long run. The cost, literally and metaphorically, is too high."
Because of that, the studio has elected to put a definite end to Blaseball, rather than changing "into something unrecognizable." That also means, unfortunately, that many members of The Game Band are being let go: The studio said the size of the team "has to change to give us enough runway to even begin to make something new." The number of layoffs isn't known, but The Game Band said those being let go are getting severance, healthcare extensions, and dedicated resources for finding new work.
Signs of trouble for Blaseball have persisted over the past several months. The most recent season concluded in early February, and a start date for the next still hadn't been announced. Just before the conclusion of that season, The Game Band put Blaseball on hiatus, saying that after a year of rebuilding the game so it could run "in a way that's sustainable for us as a team," it hadn't been able to fully achieve its goals.
"Our hope was to be able to iterate and improve post-launch, but as we tried to do that, we realized it just wasn't realistic for the amount of work that needed to be done. And it was negatively impacting your experience," the studio wrote. "We need to make improvements. We've heard your concerns about things like accessibility, missing features, site navigation, and other performance issues, and often found you saying the exact same things we were saying to each other."
In order to enable the required work to be finished, the Coronation Era of Blaseball was paused, with a promise that "we are going to come back as soon as possible." But the situation was clearly more dire than The Game Band anticipated.
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"Blaseball was about finding connection when the world feels out of your control," the studio wrote. "It was meant to bring people together and connect us across unfathomable distance and despair, and it did. All of you found us, and every person who touched it was a part of this story.
"To Fans of Blaseball, who have cheered and cried with us, who watched Suns die and Eras pass, who have defied the Gods and death itself, who have been with us through the end of the world as we knew it and then what came after: thank you. It has been one of the great joys of our lives to make Blaseball for you, and we will grieve its loss like everything else — together."