Lazarus, an expansive indie MMO from developer Spilt Milk has been cancelled after over three years in open alpha, making for the third game using Improbable's SpatialOS technology to be knocking on heaven's door this year alone. To announce the news, first reported by Eurogamer, the developers put out a sombre post on Steam detailing their decision to pull the plug, with the main reason being cost of operation.
As stated by Spilt Milk: "Put simply, if we were to launch Lazarus, the cost of maintaining and expanding the game as we marketed it to more players and worked on our monetisation, would put a dangerous financial strain on an independent games studio like ours."
The post further explained how development went for Lazarus saying, "We spent months and years with a tiny team, exploring the challenges and opportunities of a new design space - persistence, scale, the kinds of things that the cloud can offer - and in the process providing feedback to help our technology partner Improbable improve their tech as well as making Lazarus brilliant fun, and we're immensely proud of what we achieved."
What this means for Lazarus is that we won't be seeing any tricks resulting in the title coming back from the dead. As Spilt Milk put it:
"We're shutting Lazarus down. It's been in open alpha for three years - which has been incredible and is longer than some much better known MMO's - and we've made some tremendous new friends along the way. But Lazarus is dead. This was a tough decision, but since this was a pre-early access open alpha, made available free to our community, we hope you'll understand our decision, and join us in saying goodbye."
There is some good news, however, Spilt Milk has assured us that they are alive and well and that whilst the era of Lazarus is coming to a close, they intend to carry on, looking to the future.
"Spilt Milk Studios is fine though - we're alive and well, and this won't affect us moving forward. We'll mourn the passing of this amazing, ambitious game, and we will move forward stronger for the experience."
Considering Lazarus marks the third SpatialOS title to shut down this year, questions regarding the platform's viability are starting to be raised. After what seemed as bad luck for Mavericks: Proving Grounds (a 1000-player battle royale) and Ion (space simulator) is starting to form a pattern, which also begs the question, will other SpatialOS games such as Scavengers be affected?
What did you think of Lazarus?