Kickstarted MMO Crowfall (opens in new tab) is shutting down this month after launching just over a year ago. Developer Monumental shared the news with players on Monday, giving them only a couple of weeks to make the most out of the game before it goes dark on November 22. This is not unusual on its own—it's a tragically common fate for online games. But what makes this instance stand out is that the team isn't calling it quits.
"One of the biggest challenges has been the sheer amount of development effort required to build new campaigns and keep the game running daily," reads the announcement (opens in new tab). "In order to refocus our efforts from live operations to development, we have decided to take the Crowfall live service offline for the time being."
So Crowfall will be back, at least according to the developer. There's no hint about when that will be or what changes will be made, however, because Monumental doesn't know either.
"We're going to use this time to map out the future of the game," the announcement continues. "We have yet to determine what that looks like, but we are investing in and rethinking every part of the game—from the core technology and tools to art, design, and gameplay. Nothing is off the table."
I can understand the impetus to stick with it. Crowfall was in development for more than six years after the successful Kickstarter campaign, so packing it in after only a year would have been a very sad end to its story. That said, the ability to maintain a live game while simultaneously continuing development is a hallmark of live service games like MMOs, and a team without the resources to do this is always going to struggle.
Presumably, then, part of this big rethink will be figuring out a way to do both of these critical things, but it's hard to imagine how that will be possible without significant compromises or more investment. It's equally hard to imagine anyone coming back and spending money when the game's already been shut down once. It doesn't instil confidence.
It's also worth noting that Monumental has not been particularly communicative. Monumental acquired Crowfall from original developer Artcraft in December 2021, and at first posted updates quite regularly, especially in March 2022. Until yesterday's announcement, however, the last update on the Crowfall website was from April. The same goes for its social media presence.
With this in mind, I'd be very surprised to see Crowfall return, regardless of Monumental's intentions. And if it does come back, there are going to need to be some big incentives to get players to take another chance on it.
In the meantime, all the buildings, mounts and emotes normally sold on the Crowfall store will be free. Refunds will also be doled out automatically for any purchases made 90 days before Monday's announcement. If you uninstalled Crowfall and want to jump back in for a final adventure, however, you're sadly out of luck, as there's no longer a way to download the game.