2016's Let it Die is a F2P brawler developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, which found its way to PC in 2018 (opens in new tab), and it's a semi-decent game with superb presentation. The title was published by GungHo and, in October 2021, a sequel was announced, being developed by the Grasshopper spinoff Supertrick Games. Deathverse: Let it Die had a beta in summer of last year before launching in October, and was immediately beset by two problems: No-one was playing it and, when they were, connection issues abounded.
The game currently has ten players in it. Today's peak number of players was 33. Deathverse's all-time peak was 1,380 at launch (opens in new tab). These are not close to sustainable numbers for a F2P live service game and now, a scant three months after release, a new blog post announces the "suspension" (opens in new tab) of Deathverse this summer.
"There is no doubt that we experienced some challenges since the launch of our game, particularly with regards to in-game matchmaking and lag," writes Supertrick. "We deeply apologize for these issues that may have caused an inconvenience to our players.
"While we have tried various solutions to some degree of success, we have not been able to resolve the underlying problems. As a result, the development and operations teams have made the decision to temporarily suspend the game’s services while we redevelop Deathverse: Let It Die."
So it's a suspension, not an execution, or at least that's what they're saying now. Supertrick says the goal is "re-releasing the game with significant improvements" to a wider audience. It also gets a little philosophical about why it's doing this:
"Considering how much time goes into developing a game–and that there’s a finite number of games one can possibly make in a lifetime–it’s impossible to say at this stage whether this is the right choice. But we love this game and are proud to have developed it together as a team. Therefore, we believe this is the best possible decision at this time."
I haven't played Deathverse but looking among the Steam reviews there may be some glimmers of hope. If anything, players are frustrated that they can't play the game with others, and the connectivity issues, but when they can play do seem to be enjoying the experience.
The Deathverse suspension of service will happen at 7pm PDT on July 18, 2023, and sales of the game's premium currency will be stopped on February 7. There's content already prepared for season 2 so that'll be released as planned, but season 3 is only going to be "partially released."
Well, maybe we'll be back here in a few years discussing the successful re-launch of Deathverse, or maybe we'll never hear of it again. There is something quite poignant about how quickly things can change in live service: A game needs to attract enough players to keep it afloat for everyone and, when that doesn't happen, the fall can be as brutal and swift as this. That said, a live service game that has problems with its online functionality is not a combination likely to give Bungie any sleepless nights.