After three years in early access, Second Extinction is over. Developer Systemic Reaction has announced that it is ending "active development" game, and has removed it from sale.
"After thoughtful consideration and exploration of our best course of action, we have made the difficult decision to end active development of Second Extinction," the studio wrote in a farewell message. "While Second Extinction is well-loved among our players and the gaming community, it regrettably did not achieve the success we hoped it would."
We were cautiously optimistic about the co-op dino shooter when it debuted in early access in 2020. "Even in its pre-launch state, the demo I played was amazingly smooth," staff writer Chris Livingston wrote in an early preview. "I did find it hard at times to tell what was happening, though the extreme chaos is absolutely part of the fun. The single mission, which took about 25 minutes to complete, isn't enough to judge how much fun Second Extinction will be in the longer term, but it was exciting and hectic, and there are a whole lot more dinosaurs out there that I'd like to blast."
But players didn't follow: Second Extinction's average concurrent player count only got above 200 once after the early access launch in October 2020, and while the rollout of crossplay and a horde mode in September 2021 goosed the numbers a little bit, it didn't last. The game's troubles were exacerbated by what Systemic Reaction described as "unforeseen show-stopping issues" that halted plans for a 1.0 release in 2022.
"Unfortunately, it became clear that our small team lacked the resources necessary to hit our quality targets and exit Early Access and Game Preview, and the investment needed to do so was too large for us to bear," the studio said. "After evaluating our options and working during this year to find other potential solutions, this became the reality our team had to face."
Second Extinction has already been pulled from sale, but the servers will remain up until sometime in 2024. The developers said they'll announce a server shutdown date "well in advance" of it happening, once a date has been set.
It's always too bad to see a game end this way, but it's an increasingly common outcome for shooters trying to find space in a crowded genre. In late 2022, the PvPvE shooter Scavengers pulled the plug without ever leaving early access, and 2023 has seen the untimely end of games including Super People, The Cycle: Frontier, Hyenas, and my favorite of the bunch, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt. Some of them were more popular than others, but none were able to put together stable, sustainable player bases.