With thousands still playing, this extraction shooter is shutting down after barely a year online

The Cycle: Frontier
(Image credit: YAGER)

I'm pretty sure online multiplayer shooters are heading for some sort of demographic crisis, because the death rate must be outpacing the birth rate at this point. The Cycle: Frontier, a PvPvE extraction shooter that released on June 8 last year is shutting up shop for good, even though it still regularly hits player counts of around 2,000 and its lead producer once told NME he had "bet [his] career" on making it.

In an update posted to Steam, developer Yager says that, despite its best efforts and "meaningful improvements brought to the game since launch and up until the release of Season 3," it can't ignore the reality that "The Cycle: Frontier is unfortunately not financially viable". Because of that, the game "will be sunset on September 27, 2023".

Yager says the game actually got off to a great start. "Players started flocking en masse" to the game after certain "big streamers" began playing it in front of "hundreds of thousands of people," forcing Yager to scramble to upgrade its server infrastructure to support the game. 

Despite that, Yager says the game was heavily impacted by cheaters, and by the time the studio "... got additional partners onboard for [its] anti-cheat efforts … many of you had already been affected and as a result we saw a significant decrease in our player base". Its subsequent efforts to make the game more approachable in its second season "was still not enough to make The Cycle: Frontier financially viable," and, well, here we are.

That's Yager's version of events, anyway. In PCG's The Cycle: Frontier review, Sam Greer described her time with the game as "hours of boredom and frustration," and theorised that the kind of player who would enjoy the game would be one who "wants the worst of both worlds, to relish every inch of progress dragged down to an achingly slow crawl". 

Our own Morgan Park concurred, saying he "got bored pretty fast" once he "realized Frontier's core loop is more about looting than fighting". I doubt the cheaters helped, but I suspect the quality of the game itself might have had something to do with its fate, personally. Still, there's no denying those SteamDB charts: The game was still reliably pulling a couple thousand players each day, and I imagine they're going to be less than thrilled to see it close up entirely.

All of the game's real-money purchases will be stopped as of today, and if you happened to pick one up after 3 am on June 14 this year, you'll get a refund. If you want to dive in to see the game's last days, it's weirdly a pretty good time to do it. Everyone will be getting the game's premium season 3 pass for free, progression is being accelerated, and the special offers in the in-game shop are all getting a 95% discount. It's a real end of the world vibe.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.