First we had our Top 10 Potentially Successful Upcoming Free Online Games, and now we’re taking a look at the other side of the coin – that is, the upcoming online games that we feel will have a hard time convincing players and becoming profitable.
Let us clear something right away – we’re not saying these will be bad games, quite on the contrary. These are most likely going to be good, maybe even great games that just happen to fall into a certain niche or, for some other reason, we feel that they won’t have the mainstream appeal that they deserve. We are the first to admit that it will break our hearts if a few of these games don’t become successful, but it’s just our hunch based on our experience and current free-to-play MMO tendencies. We could be wrong – hell, sometimes we really hope we are.
Anyway, no more chit-chat, here is our Top 10 Upcoming Free Online Games Likely to Struggle Despite Their Potential. Keep in mind that the order is based on which games will probably struggle the most, number 1 being the game that will have the hardest time.
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10 – ALBION ONLINE
Don’t get us wrong – we’re pretty sure that Albion Online will be a great game. In fact, it already is a good game. However, there’s this depth to it that we somehow feel won’t make it very player-friendly, or at least for those who want a streamlined, take-me-by-the-hand kind of experience. The top-down view places it apart from most MMORPGs out there and the classless system is just one of the many features that push it into a niche spot. This is actually one of our most wanted MMORPGs and we deeply want it to succeed, but will it manage to break boundaries and make all of its sandbox goodness user friendly and highly populated? We’re crossing our fingers!
9 – SURVARIUM
Survarium comes from the minds of some developers of the cult series STALKER and it shows – the game looks and feels just like the aforementioned series. At the moment of this top 10, it also has quite a few bugs and issues with hackers that are preventing it from getting better reviews. Ultimately, while it can work as a nice arena shooter, a lot of fans are eagerly waiting for the FreePlay mode, where your experience will resemble more the one from STALKER – a big map where survival is of utmost importance and where allies and enemies fight to accomplish several missions. Survarium will probably achieve some minor cult status, judging by how things are going.
8 – OTHERLAND
Otherland is now on Steam Early Access, but for many months it was canceled and as good as dead. It’s great to see this game coming back and while it went from a somewhat big profile status to the hands of an indie developer, it’s still a game with a unique universe. There are very few sci-fi MMORPGs, especially one dipping its feet in virtual realms, so we’re hoping that Otherland manages to be a decent game, and that the eDNA system actually brings some true value to it. We’re still not sure if Otherland will be polished and deep enough to capture a huge playerbase, as looks alone will only take it so far. At the moment, it’s not decided if Otherland will be free-to-play or not, but if Drago Entertainment chooses something like buy-to-play, we have a feeling that the game won’t be successful at all.
7 – CROSSOUT
Crossout is shaping up to be so good! It looks nice, the developers have already proved their worth with the cool space shooter Star Conflict, and it seems capable of having that extra depth to keep gameplay interesting. So why do we feel it won’t easily reach big player numbers? Well, mostly because of overall market tendencies – free-to-play vehicular combat games aren’t known for their following, with an exception or two such as World of Tanks. We want Crossout to be as good as it looks and to be a fair, rewarding experience that will keep players coming back for more. In this case, especially, a fair business model will make or break the game, convince players or push them away for other experiences. Competition isn’t too big, but what there is, is noteworthy, including the similar-themed build and fight Robocraft.
6 – BATTLECRY
Battlecry comes from a Bethesda studio and it has a couple of arguments in its favor: the art is directed by the acclaimed Viktor Antonov, of Half-Life 2 and Dishonored fame, and the gameplay has this Team Fortress 2 flavor to it. So why do we think it could struggle? Well, because games such as these need a lot of characters, balance and especially depth that take a lot of time to develop. If it doesn’t feel like a finished product at launch, with perfectly balanced classes and great controls, players won’t be attached to it and are going to move on. Also, in a world where you’re either a MOBA or a first-person shooter, third-person games usually aren’t the primary choice, but let’s hope Battlecry stands out as a good competitive action game.
5 – GLORIA VICTIS
We can’t say that there are many medieval MMOs around, especially those that are low-fantasy such as Gloria Victis. By low-fantasy we mean that it has a focus on realism, so you probably won’t see any dragons around and you surely won’t be shouting FUS-RO-DAH at every corner. Gloria Victis plays around slowly but surely, has non-target combat and an open world where you’ll probably feel lost for quite a bit, and a few players will give up before they get to the good stuff. Gloria Victis has all the makings of a niche game, one that won’t have that much mainstream appeal, but if the passion that its developers are showing fully translates into the game world, this could be a game that gets the playerbase and community it deserves – mature, helpful, and just profitable enough to sustain the game.
4 – WORLD OF SPEED
World of Speed is in development by Slightly Mad Studios, racing experts that worked on the Need for Speed series and the great Project CARS game. The devs call this game free-to-compete instead of the traditional free-to-play, and we’re hoping that they keep their word and deliver a fair experience for all players, with a clear emphasis on team-based gameplay. So, despite the studio’s experience and the promising arcade and simulation balance, what is holding World of Speed back? To us, it’s the genre itself, which hasn’t seen any big names in the F2P market, with the likes of Need for Speed World ending up canceled and Auto Club Revolution still not living up to the hype, despite the long development time. World of Speed could turn out to be a good game, but that alone may not be enough, sadly.
3 – FABLE LEGENDS
Let’s face it, the Fable series has lost pretty much everything it had going for it after the first two games. With a couple of serious misfires, Lionhead has a lot of work to do to regain the fans’ trust. However, we don’t think that this action RPG/MOBA hybrid Fable Legends will be the game to do so, as it strays even further from the franchise than the horse-riding, magic-ball-shooter Fable: The Journey. No matter how interesting it may look, taking the series into what is certainly the most crowded genre nowadays and where even quality games such as Dead Island: Epidemic and Infinite Crisis are forced to shut down, sounds like a very risky decision. Lionhead sure is ballsy, but the question is if it will actually pay off or kill the Fable IP for good.
2 – TRIAD WARS
Triad Wars comes off the back of the successful Sleeping Dogs, and it was a completely unexpected project. Instead of a proper, full sequel to the original GTA-inspired game, United Front Games decided to go for a free-to-play spin-off, but also a multiplayer kind of game that isn’t exactly multiplayer, except it is but in an asynchronous way. This means that you’ll never meet other players in-game, but you’ll get to raid their bases and compete against them, technically. This choice versus the one of a true open world hasn’t conquered many fans, but the game still looks good, plays in a nice, familiar way and actually deserves a lot more love than it is getting. Maybe open world gameplay is actually coming in the future, as well as larger scale battles, as the devs have already mentioned, and this would certainly improve the game a lot. The upcoming co-op raiding doesn’t seem enough to take Triad Wars to the next level, so we’ll keep following this one.
1 – ARENA OF FATE
Arena of Fate is one more MOBA. We can’t say it in a more enthusiastic way and it’s not entirely the game’s fault either – it’s just that we’ve seen so many MOBA games and most of them look a lot like League of Legends. This one is no exception, even if it’s coming from Crytek, a studio that has a nice reputation overall. However, Arena of Fate doesn’t seem capable of standing apart amidst a sea of arena based games and the major distinguishing factor, the heroes, doesn’t feel like a complete winner. Mixing fantasy characters with history names means we’ll have battles between the Little Red Riding Hood and Jack the Ripper, or clashes where Frankenstein punches Cleopatra’s face. It’s weird, even somewhat off-putting, and if there’s nothing remarkable beneath the surface, this game could be just another 5v5 MOBA to join the pile.
There you have it, ten games that range from ‘probably very good’ to ‘decent enough’, but that for some reason – genre, marketing, rivals or otherwise – could struggle to get the playerbase they deserve and need to keep the servers live. And which games do you think will have a hard time making it? Let us know in the comments and until next time.