Massachusetts game developer Proletariat has announced that its mage-themed battle royale game Spellbreak is going offline. Development on the game has already ceased, and its servers will be shut down in early 2023.
It's a sad end for a refreshing take on the battle royale genre. Instead of using guns or crafting, Spellbreak players competed by casting spells in a magical halfway point between Harry Potter and Avatar: The Last Airbender. It would seem that after acquiring over 5 million players in the three weeks after launch, it just never managed to find its legs.
The game also faced stiff competition from battle royale juggernauts like Fortnite, Apex Legends, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Call of Duty: Warzone. It's worth noting that said competitors not only benefit from huge playerbases and coffers of market spending, but most of them have struck licensing partnerships with other companies to introduce brands and characters from other fictional worlds into their games.
(Apex Legends has taken a lighter touch on this front, only running one partnership with fashion brand Market. Of this group, it's the one battle royale that seems to have found success solely on its own characters.)
Development on Spellbreak began to slow down in late 2021. The game's website shows that the last patch released for the game was in September of last year.
This likely isn't the last we'll see of Proletariat. The company has not announced any shutdowns or layoffs, and is still riding off of a $20 million round of investment led by Take-Two Interactive from 2019.
Hopefully the team will be able to take the lessons learned from developing Spellbreak into wherever their next project takes them.