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Crowfall going dark this month, another fallen hero of the MMO genre


The niche PvP MMORPG, Crowfall, is going dark. The warfare-focused game with a massive and procedurally generated world had a ton of potential, and a core fanbase. It looked like the game would be able to carve out its own segment of the MMO market, and it seemed like the game was going in a good direction. So how did we get here?

Crowfall is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game-real-time strategy game developed by ArtCraft, described as a “Throne War Simulator”.  The core focus of the game’s mechanics was a destructible world that would allow players to conquer and improve temporary worlds, with each world being reset when a new round of PvP combat begins. Players looking for a war-focused world that would allow for both customization and rule variety would find a ton of potential in the game. The goal with this approach would be to allow for a seasonal style of play where gamers would take their winnings from each round back to the main persistent world, earning more unique rewards when they did well.

The company that would become its original developer turned to Kickstarter to fund the game’s ambitious goals. The fans that the game would garner contributed a chunk to the game’s overall starting budget, but it would see that the company couldn’t keep going. It released on July 6, 2021. Its Kickstarter campaign ended March 26, 2015, with a total funding of $1,766,205, surpassing its original $800,000 goal. But as anyone knows, MMOs aren’t cheap to make.

The game suffered early delays when it was under initial development, being pushed back to 2018 after years of early access-style development. And it only got worse from there. Despite early success in developing procedural content for the game, the developer looked to be struggling. It would seem that a contributing factor here was the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the company took a PPP loan from the US government in 2020 for $1.63 million, which was in turn forgiven in full by the federal government.

On November 22, 2022, at 11 AM CST Crowfall will go dark, and the game servers will be unavailable, so says the game’s closure announcement. This is quite a big bit of news for the game’s remaining fans.

The game was brought onto the market by industry veterans, including Jay Todd Coleman who cut his teeth on other niche MMOs. The previous game that brought Coleman to the forefront, Shadowbane, was an accomplishment considering its small budget. It caught many genre fans attention and established a pedigree for the development team that would eventually become ArtCraft. But even industry veterans fail, it seems.

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