Fantasy Earth Zeroed

Fantasy Earth Zero artwork

Conquest isn't going to fix this one

I’m really unexpectedly sad about the news of Fantasy Earth Zero’s imminent closing.  I have to admit that I was also hoping for Tipa’s take on the event, since she has a far more personal stake than I do.  She played the game avidly and sang its praises, which is part of the reason that I started chatting with her.  I just admired the game and worked with the people promoting it, so my perspective is kind of skewed.

And yes, it’s probably immensely telling that I never was quite motivated to actually play the game in a serious capacity, despite the fact that I essentially tripped over myself to cover it.  It’s equally telling that I was the only person who ever covered it, with every single story about the game having my name on it.  But darn it, the game had heart.  And there was something there for people to enjoy, something unique and interesting.

Gamepot’s handling of the closure is… well, it’s not unexpected, but it still leaves something to be desired.  The company as a whole has long since made its money back from acquiring a failing Square game, and I have a feeling that it coming over to the US was as much a stopgap measure as anything.  If it sells, great, if not, who cares.  The fact that the closure announcement comes with a built-in forum shutdown and an advertisement for another Gamepot game doesn’t reek of opportunism, exactly, although I’m struggling to find a better term.  Situational ethics?  Something like that.  They’ve shut down any recourse for players to talk and in the interim offered a small benefit to players who move over, which isn’t going to mollify anyone in the long run.

The really sad part is that this isn’t big news and is going to get overlooked.  It’s a shame that TERA gets high marks for having freeform targeting and skill-based PvP as if these were some sort of innovative point, when Fantasy Earth Zero did both of these things very well long before TERA.  But the latter features exceptionally pert breasts on women wearing metal lingerie, so by all means, let’s ignore actual chronology in favor of transparent sexuality and forgettable storyline trappings.

If I sound bitter, that’s because I am.

What really hits me is the human cost.  This is the first game that I’ve watched shut down where I’ve known some of the people involved, many of them quite enthusiastic and likable.  I might not necessarily be surprised by the outcome here, but I’m still saddened by it.  But much like my Auto Assault post a few days ago, the fact that I’m just noticing all this now probably says volumes about why the game is going the way of all flesh.

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About expostninja

I've been playing video games and MMOs for years, I read a great deal of design articles, and I work for a news site. This, of course, means that I want to spend more time talking about them. I am not a ninja.

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