Currently, on my daily train commutes through the Japanese countryside, I’m playing an all time favorite of mine. A wonderful little Zelda-clone called Alundra, and it is just marvelous. Fantastic! Better than I remembered even. However, what makes Alundra even better is knowing that it will always be there if I want to play it in the future. My original PlayStation disc, my PSN download on PlayStation 3 or PS Vita, and if all else fails, emulation.
No matter what, I can find a way to play the game.
This isn’t the case for SoulCalibur: Lost Swords. Bandai Namco has announced that the game will be shut down permanently on Nov. 30, and it even has an entire schedule laid out.
September 30 – AP Potion and Continue Tickets will no longer be sold.
October 27 – All in-game items will no longer be sold (exact time may vary depending on your region).
November 30 – Last day to play. Soulcalibur Lost Swords shuts down at the below time:
- November 30 at 17:00 JST
- November 30 at 00:00 PST
- November 30 at 03:00 EST
- November 30 at 08:00 UTC
- November 30 at 09:00 CET
- November 30 at 08:00 GMT
I originally sung high praise of Bandai Namco trying to make classic franchises work on a free-to-pay level, but its failure to make its efforts viable only strengthens my concern for the “games as a service” future. Granted, SoulCalibur: Lost Swords was so poorly received that I doubt anyone will be having happy memories of it twenty years from now, but it is just the latest in a series of cancellations which proves how disposable our hobby could become if free-to-play games that require servers become the norm.
This goes especially double for this title because SoulCalibur is a popular franchise, not some Johnny come lately series squeezing into the cracks to make a quick buck. What if it had been a good game? Would Bandai Namco still have shut it down when it started to wane in popularity?
What does this mean for Breath of Fire 6 or Ace Combat Infinity, two more classic franchises basing their futures on the free-to-play model? Will they fail to be as everlasting as their predecessors?
And no Bandai Namco, your forced sentimentality trailer doesn’t make it any better.
This whole thing just stinks, and I am more than happy that some franchises are staying as far away from this as possible. Dragon Quest XI, Final Fantasy XV, The Legend of Zelda, etc… fight the good fight, my friends. Don’t let them get to you, and you might have respect worth far beyond mere dollar signs 20 years from now.
The only thing that could make me feel better is SoulCalibur VI…