We probably won’t learn what exactly went wrong at 38 Studios for a while – if ever.
But for most gamers, especially fans of the company and its Amalur IP, all they want to know is, what will happen to Project Copernicus? Will it ever see the light of day? And if it does, what will it be like?
As much as the game – and its dramatic flameout, culminating in today’s declaration of bankruptcy – is known, it seems likely that someone will pick it up and try to make something of it, especially if it’s as far along as some have insisted.
I foresee three possible outcomes:
Copernicus is never released. Sad as it might sound, this is a distinct possibility. If the state of Rhode Island can’t find a buyer for the IP in the price range it wants, that’ll pretty much be the end of it.
One analyst thinks the asking price is $20 million, but that’s just one person’s guess. We won’t know the true value until someone actually ponies up the cash.
If nobody does, then Copernicus will join the list of vaporware MMOs like Stargate Worlds, WISH… and is Huxley still in development?
On the bright side, the people who developed the game won’t forget what they’ve learned. One of the cool things we’re hearing about is that Copernicus‘ servers would each be unique, with events happening on one not necessarily being duplicated on another.
If you see an MMO in the next few years that utilizes this kind of concept, don’t be surprised if you find a former 38 Studios staffer behind it.
Copernicus is released with the help of the original developers. Probably the best possible outcome for fans is, in my opinion, the least likely to occur.
If we assume that someone purchases Copernicus, what’s the chance that some of the original staff will be hired on to help with development? The longer the game takes to find a home, the less likely it is that the game’s creators will be available to work on it.
And you can pretty much forget about Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore, and Todd McFarlane being involved – which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view.
The most realistic possibility involving this scenario? That a few members of the original dev team are still able to contribute to the game, either as full-time workers or as consultants. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Copernicus is released by a completely new company with none of the original team. I think this is the most likely outcome of all. There might be a brief intermediary period, with ex-38ers steering the game’s first new steps, but after that, it’ll be all up to an entirely new team.
Depending on how far along the game is in development, this could still lead to a fairly smooth launch, assuming the new dev team can adapt rapidly enough to the new toys it’s given.
If they can’t, it could instead lead to a long-delayed, incomplete release that satisfies virtually no one. One needs only to look to Gods & Heroes as an example of a game that was passed around for years before seeing the light of day, only to collapse into irrelevance shortly after release.
Admittedly, G&H was released with minimal content and a graphics and combat engine that looked at least three years out of date. Copernicus likely won’t face those issues, if the stories we’re hearing about its completion level and content mix are true.
Then again, MMO developers almost always overestimate their capability and readiness to launch a game – and that’s with the same crew working on it for years straight. A change at this stage of development could lead to a launch that’s plagued with several issues that nobody could predict.
So, what do you think? Will Copernicus ever get released? And if it does, what will it look like? Let us know in the comments below!