On October 18th, the team at Splash Damage published a news post detailing the future of their long-in-development, free-to-play, mulitplayer shooter Dirty Bomb. “It’s with a heavy heart that, after a bug fix build ships in the upcoming weeks, we will be ending live development and updates on Dirty Bomb,” the post opens.
After a short explanation which you can read in full at the end of this post, the team admits “the bottom line is that we can’t financially justify continuing to work on the game we love.” With no more feature updates planned you’d think the team would be announcing a deadline date but it seems to be left up to the fans. “We know many of you love DB and still play it religiously, so we will keep servers up for you to enjoy, as long as there are a meaningful number of players using them in the supported regions.”
Fans no doubt appreciate the decision but what exactly a “meaningful number of players” looks like is still up in the air. Since 2015 the game has averaged several thousand weekly players but through 2018 those numbers have dropped to a few hundred on any given day. I wouldn’t be surprised if the game held out through the rest of the year but headed for the sunset by the Spring of 2019.
In response, the team has detailed a number of changes to the game in a handy FAQ, also found below this post. In closing they added, “we’d like to say a heartfelt and sincere thank you for your support these many years. Dirty Bomb is a shooter that we always wanted to make, we could not have done it without you and are forever grateful. The future is bright at Splash Damage, we have many announced and unannounced titles in production that we can’t wait to work with you on!”.
I’ll add a tentative date to the Watch List calendar for the end of March 2019 and get a page ready for the site soon. Click through to read the team’s full statement and FAQ and visit DirtyBomb.com for more on the game and its community.
Thanks to Dead Game News on Twitter for pointing out Ubisoft’s Online Services Update Masterlist which shows ten titles that will be losing online functionality on November 19th, 2018. That includes online play, stat tracking, Uplay unlocks, and any in-game currency, for which there is a 60 day window to use-it-or-lose-it. Here are the ten titles in question:
- Just Dance 2018 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
- Just Dance 2017 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
- Just Dance 2016 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
- Just Dance 2015 (Xbox One/360, PlayStation 3/4, Wii/Wii U)
- Just Dance 2014 (Xbox One/360, PlayStation 3/4, Wii/Wii U)
- Rayman 3 HD (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- I Am Alive (PC)
- Tom Clancy’s EndWar (PC)
- Splinter Cell Double Agent (PC)
- Assassin’s Creed II (MAC)
🎵 Who lives in a pineapple under the sea (and just had his Xbox 360 game relisted)? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS! THQ Nordic announced back in March that they were working to bring some of their Nickelodeon properties back to life and that effort has finally resulted in the return of SpongeBob SquarePants Underpants Slam!
We got a tip this morning on Twitter that the game was back on sale but it looks like it made its official return in August; I’m a little behind on TrueAchievements delisting roundups which is where I found confirmation of this one. Unfortunately, no other Spongebob titles have returned yet but this fan favorite can once again be had for $9.99 in North America.
Want to take a crack at some delisted arcade games without downloading a thing? I still don’t understand the legal vagaries that have allowed it to stay online but Archive.org has a fantastic emulation project that ghacks.net just reminded me about. Launched in 2014, it was updated with over 1,000 arcade titles earlier this year and some of those include delisted favorites like X-Men, The Simpsons, and Turtles in Time.
You’ll need a little patience to play these games on a keyboard but it’s a great alternative if you aren’t interested in downloading ROMs, building a RetroPie, or configuring emulators. In most cases you just need to hit ‘6’ on the keyboard to insert credits and then the ‘1’ or ‘2’ keys for one or two players. Most games have a listing of the buttons and you can hit the fullscreen icon to get a bigger view.
I browsed through the offerings last night and pulled out this list of certified-delisted games that visitors to our site might be interested in trying out:
The emulator archive has even more to offer beyond arcade titles; check out their collection of 4,000+ MS-DOS games and over 5,000 home console games from the Sega Genesis, Neo-Geo, PlayStation, and more. Let us know if you find some other delisted titles among the thousands of listings.
About a year and a half after the Disney Canada team shut down the original, long-running Club Penguin, the same fate has fallen on their much younger, mobile follow-up, Club Penguin Island. A farewell announcement was made on September 27th revealing that the game would be around at least until the end of the year. The team’s farewell post can be found here and follows below:
To our Club Penguin Fans and Family:
There’s no easy way to say this but after 13 incredible years, Club Penguin will be sunsetting at the end of this year. We’ll be providing players with all the necessary information in the coming weeks via in-game messages and updates here on Island News.
Thanks to you, Club Penguin has been more than a game; it’s been a global community where you have gathered to socialize and express yourselves. In a time when games come and go within months, it was one of the longest-running kids’ games of all time and at its height, had over 200 million accounts. Players from countries around the world showed their commitment to the game by adopting 25 million Puffles and creating over 200,000 videos.
When we replaced the original Club Penguin game a year and a half ago, we always strived to make Club Penguin Island the best mobile successor to the original game. From day one of development, Club Penguin Island has been a true passion project for everyone here at Disney but, the time has come for the party to end.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued dedication to the Club Penguin and Club Penguin Island games and for being a member of our family. We are so grateful to have shared in this journey with you. We’re excited to bring you more new experiences around all of Disney’s beloved characters and stories across all platforms.
Please look out for more information soon and as always, waddle on.
– Club Penguin Team
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a decision that was left up to the team. According to Kotaku, they were informed just days before of the decision to shut down the game and lay off the team.
One former employee, who is anonymous for fear of retribution, told Kotaku that he felt “blindsided” by the news. Although employees working on the game knew Club Penguin Island wasn’t doing well, he said, the studio had been pitching other projects. “We were told three weeks ago that we’d been green-lit and would have jobs for at least 2 years while we built and launched a new product! The whole studio was basically popping champagne, only to have that pulled out from under us by someone way up the chain at Disney.” –Kotaku
I’ll add the game to the Watch List calendar for a temporary December 31st deadline and be back with more when the team updates again.
According to the recently updated PlayStation Store page for the game, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is going to get a lot more lonely by the end of October. The update reads:
Online features for PlayStation All-Stars (PS3, PS Vita) will no longer be playable from October 25, 2018. Functionality will be affected in the following ways:
– You can play the campaign offline as well as local (couch) multiplayer in shared screen mode.
– You will not be able to host or join an online game.
For the time being, the game remains available to buy and download on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Given the third party characters included in the game, like BioShock’s Big Daddy and Ninja Theory’s version of Dante, it seems like only a matter of time before the entire game gets pulled from digital sale. For anyone worried about that eventuality, rest easy knowing that it’s at least available on physical media.
After the news slipped to Kotaku at the beginning of September that both Carbine Studios and their MMO WildStar were to be shut down, the studio has made it official in a farewell statement posted on September 26th. Leading up to the game’s final day on November 28th, the team has some exciting events planned for existing players.
“From now until [November 28th] we’re going to do everything we can to honor the WildStar community, and show thanks for your support. In an attempt to recognize your dedication and love for WildStar and for those of you who have come to call Nexus your home, here are our plans from now until the servers close”
For starters new purchases through Steam have been disabled and all purchases made on or after July 1st, 2018 will be reimbursed in full. Further details are available for anyone who made additional purchases here. In the game’s final update the playing field has been leveled with currency conversions and drop rates increased so fans can enjoy as much content as possible. Seasonal in-game events are also being rotated out at a quicker rate so everyone has a chance to revisit their favorites. Check out the update notes for all the end-of-the-world changes.
“We are truly grateful for the vibrant community that grew around WildStar, and for all of your support throughout the life of this game,” Carbine’s post closes. “Our hope is that in these last couple months we can all celebrate the great adventures you’ve had on Planet Nexus—and have some fun along the way.
Again, a most heartfelt thank you goes out from all of us to you for sharing this wild, intergalactic ride with us, and to helping make WildStar an experience that truly could not have been possible without you. Thank you.”
My tentative date on the Watch List calendar has been updated and I’ll have a proper page for the game up soon.
After the news hit on September 21st that Telltale Games had laid off much of its staff and was preparing to close, I could already see the delisting dominos beginning to fall. The studio has made a living since 2005 by turning licensed properties into adventure games, but what I didn’t expect was that the first casualty after the announcement would be their latest release.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season was scheduled to be another episodic installment in the franchise running through 2018. But after launching on August 14th with episode one the game was removed from sale on the day of episode two’s debut, September 25th. The episode (and the season pass) appear to be available on Nintendo Switch and from Humble Bundle but the game has been removed from sale on Steam, GOG.com, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
In a note on the page for the game, GOG.com simply adds that “Telltale has requested a temporary pause of sales of The Walking Dead – Final Season. For all up to date Telltale news, please refer to their official Twitter page”. That account has yet to be updated but in a post on September 24th Telltale revealed that “multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to see The Final Season through to completion”. The sudden delisting gives the remaining staff at Telltale time to work with a new publisher and arrange a schedule for release, if a deal is ever made. Sadly, an unfinished season of one of Telltale’s most popular series is likely to be their legacy at this point.
Shortly before Telltale announced their plans to close, one of their other titles was delisted. On September 14th, Poker Night 2 was removed from sale with Telltale themselves outlining the reason. “Poker Night 2 has been withdrawn from sale on digital platforms due to the expiration of our digital distribution agreement,” reads the statement on their support page. “We currently do not have any plans to renew this agreement.”
The Walking Dead: The Final Season and Poker Night 2 will be added to the site soon with many, many more titles to follow as their IP licenses expire.
Q-Games founder and legendary coder, Dylan Cuthbert, took to Twitter on September 22nd to announce that one of the studios’ PixelJunk games would most likely be delisted by the end of the week. The game in question is the digital exclusive PixelJunk SideScroller released on PlayStation 3 in 2011. It was the sixth entry in the loosely connected series. On Twitter, Cuthbert wrote:
“Due to a time limited music licensing agreement between Sony America and the licensing agents (that I wasn’t involved in and thought the license was in perpetuity tbh) there is a possibility that you will not be able to purchase PixelJunk SideScroller after this week.”
A Facebook post shortly after added a little more detail but not a lot of hope for the game sticking around.
“Due to a time limited music licensing agreement between Sony America and the licensing agents (that I wasn’t involved in and thought the license was in perpetuity) there is a possibility that you will not be able to purchase PixelJunk SideScroller after this week, yes that’s right, we may have to take it off the store by the end of September.
I think they are still negotiating to extend but I doubt it will happen at this point in its life cycle (music licensing people want money to extend and Sidescroller is past its sell by date – great game of course!).
If you haven’t got it you might want to pick it up for posterity; once it’s gone it will be gone for good.”
As suggested, you can still grab the game right now on PlayStation 3 in Europe, Japan, and North America. But don’t wait much longer as it’s expected to be gone in just a few more days. I’ll have a page added to the site for the game once it’s been taken down as well.
Thanks to everyone who pointed out the news!
Saturnine Games, a small team that’s offered a handful of downloadable titles since 2010, announced on September 17th that all of their 3DS and Wii U eShop releases would soon be removed from sale. The full post from the team with all the details follows:
“All games from Saturnine Games are going to be removed from the Nintendo eShop for both the 3DS and Wii U platforms.
In the Americas, Turtle Tale, Antipole, and Cosmos X2 will be removed from the Shop on September 29. In Europe, the games will remain available through September 30th. In both regions, Turtle Tale will be on sale for 33% off from September 20th until it’s removal.
In Japan, Turtle Tale will be available through October 10th.”
No explanation was given but in reply to the condolences and backlash to the news on Twitter, the team offered that “there are many issues involved in our decisions. We have no interest in discussing any more of it in public than is necessary.”
Among those reasons could be dissatisfaction with Nintendo’s approval or support processes. Or perhaps Saturnine Games is no longer able to meet Nintendo’s criteria as a developer or publisher as they haven’t released a title since 2014. There are plenty of reasons to guess at but sadly Saturnine isn’t coming forward with any more info just yet.
For now take note of the deadline in your territory or keep an eye on the Watch List calendar. I’ll have each game added to the site soon.
Source: NintendoEverything and an anonymous submission to the site