'Next Gen' Runescape project accidentally leaked during developer livestream

The Runescape community is in a tizzy trying to figure out the meaning behind a logo that was accidentally revealed during a developer livestream on Friday. Runescape's community manager, 'Mod Shauny,' was hosting a walkthrough of the game's latest patch notes when, as the stream wound to a close, he apparently misclicked and displayed the logo for a few seconds. Once he realized his mistake, he faded the screen to black but forgot to mute his microphone and began panicking and saying that he was "about to lose [his] job." Another Runescape employee who was hosting the stream alongside him began to comfort him, explaining it was a simple mistake. All of this was being relayed live to an audience of hundreds.

Aside from that single image, there are no details on what this "Next Gen" project is or whether it's even related to Runescape at all. Jagex has apparently been working on something related for quite some time, according to a Reddit thread from 2015 linking to a now deleted job listing that was for a "next gen" MMO.

Runescape has received some massive updates in its time, bringing it from a game that used to look like this and now looks rather gorgeous. That said, the most recent overhaul, called NXT, happened only last year. It might be a stretch to think Next Gen is any kind of sequel to Runescape, but could either be another overhaul or something else entirely. 

It'll likely be some time before we find out for sure, according to David Osborne, Runescape's lead designer. "This was a slide from an internal company livestream, so there must have been something leftover from that," he wrote, before adding in another comment that people shouldn't "expect any further information any time soon."

Of equal concern to many has been whether Mod Shauny would be punished for the slip. The moderators of the Runescape subreddit were supposedly, for a time, suppressing threads about the leak in order to minimize the damage. Other Jagex employees hopped into the comments section of a Reddit thread to say that Mod Shauny will be fine.

This adds weight to the theory growing theory that the leak was actually intentional. As commenters have pointed out, it seems pretty odd that they'd have a hotkeyed button to display an internal project logo if they didn't intend to use it. "You don't put confidential material that could jeopardize your career on a computer you're streaming from," wrote 'JaredWsSb' in another thread. "This was an intentional leak, probably to generate hype for Runefest. Nobody's losing their jobs over a black screen with an ambiguous icon and meaningless buzzwords."

We've reached out to Jagex for more information and will update if we hear back. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.