Publisher Barunson E&A drops Astellia Online, free-to-play switch predicted?

Astellia Online MMORPG

It seems that the ambition initially shown by publisher Barunson E&A for the western release of Astellia Online didn't pay off. Admittedly a very competent yet traditional MMORPG that was often compared to Aion and TERA, the sometimes stunning game reportedly failed to captivate an audience in North America and Europe.

Perhaps its was this sense of familiarity that resulted in a very low player base on Steam, but we're more inclined to think that it was the high price tag that you were expected to pay for what was inherently a free-to-play MMORPG in Korea. At around $29.99, it wasn't a cheap game to begin with – the infinitely better Black Desert Online costs no more than $10.

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Astellia Online

With a record of 769 concurrent players, Astellia's peak player count is sitting at 1,171 since its January 2020 launch. This may have been the reason for the departure of publisher Barunson E&A earlier this April, per the following statement:

“Some of you are wondering about the recent change in our organization structure and we thought we'd take this opportunity to clarify what's been happening.

To cut to the chase, we expect this change will improve our overall service.
As a result of the recent transition, Barunson E&A will no longer be managing Astellia, and, instead, Studio 8, the development studio of Astellia and a new partner will be directly managing operations. This means it's now easier for the developers to communicate with the players and therefore expedite the bug fixes and various development processes. We promise you will notice improved game service, and your game data will not be affected at all.

We apologize for any inconvenience this new may have caused. Thank you for your continued support. Please stay safe and have a wonderful day!”

The name of the new partner is yet to be revealed, but developer Studio 8 hopes that this change will be for the best. Usually, when an MMORPG fails to take off, it rarely recovers from the initial hit, but let's see where this new partner is going to take Astellia Online to. Perhaps into free-to-play territory, as it normally happens?

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