Top 10 Multiplayer Games That Vanished



Top 10 Multiplayer Games That Vanished

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Steinberg
Some video games become classics, and others fade into obscurity! For this list, we'll be looking at online multiplayer games that were popular or had the potential to be, but for one reason or another, quietly disappeared. Our countdown includes “PlayStation Home” (2008), “The Matrix Online” (2005), “Evolve” (2015), “Infinite Crisis” (2015), “Battleborn” (2016) and more!
Top 10 Multiplayer Games That Vanished

It’s better to burn out than to fade away. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Multiplayer Games That Vanished.

For this list, we’ll be looking at online multiplayer games that were popular or had the potential to be, but for one reason or another, quietly disappeared.

#10: “PlayStation Home” (2008)

Believe it or not, there was a time when one of Sony’s most hotly anticipated PlayStation games was a social app where players could “meet up, hang out and explore a connected world.” Launched in 2008 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Home was far from the utopian virtual world Sony had initially promised. Cumbersome, prone to sudden crashes, and filled with far too much sexual harassment, Home seemed destined for an early grave. But while it never quite lived up to Sony’s original vision, Home eventually found a dedicated community and even proved profitable. But by 2015, Home no longer fit with Sony’s plans and the plug was pulled on one of the stranger experiments in social gaming.

#9: “Tribes: Ascend” (2012)

For a game that seemed to take the PC world by storm in 2012, it’s surprising how quickly Tribes: Ascend disappeared from public consciousness. Released as a free-to-play game when the pricing model was still gaining traction, Tribes was praised for its deliberate, class-based gameplay and seemed set for years of success. But just over a year after release, developer Hi-Rez Studios suddenly dropped support. Following a brief comeback in 2015, which saw Hi-Rez suddenly start releasing updates again, support was dropped for good. One last patch was released later that same year, but it was the final nail in the coffin for a game that deserved a better fate.

#8: “The Matrix Online” (2005)

The Matrix franchise saw its fair share of mediocre movie tie-in games in the early 2000s. Yet for all its flaws, The Matrix Online was an experience worth taking the red pill for. Released in 2005, this MMO continued the story of the Wachowski’s film trilogy by throwing players into a power struggle between warring factions. Despite a host of bugs and repetitive gameplay, players were hooked by the ever-evolving narrative, the focus on which made “The Matrix Online” a notable outlier in the MMO genre. Unfortunately, MMOs need players to survive and by 2009, The Matrix Online had less than 500 active users, prompting Sony Online Entertainment to pull the plug on July 31, 2009.

#7: “Evolve” (2015)

Talk about wasted potential.. An asymmetrical shooter from the team that made the original Left 4 Dead? Where do we sign up?! Unfortunately, a controversial pricing structure that locked significant amounts of content behind a confusing array of collector’s editions and pre-order packages soured many on the game even before release. But even if Evolve hadn’t been swimming in paid DLC and microtransactions, the multiplayer-only experience would have been a tough sell at $60. While developer Turtle Rock Studios tried to save it with a free-to-play version, support for Evolve ended in 2016. By the time servers went offline in September 2018, it was hard to believe this was the same game that won an E3 Best of Show award just a few years prior.

#6: “Infinite Crisis” (2015)

Although DC Comics has found success in the fighting genre with the excellent Injustice games, this foray into MOBAs was shockingly short lived. Developed by Turbine Studios, Infinite Crisis allowed players to duke it out in competitive online matches featuring characters like Superman, Batman, and other popular DC heroes and villains. However by 2015, multiplayer online battle arenas were already dominated by titles like League of Legends and DotA 2, making it difficult for a new game to make an impact. As it turned out, a cast of familiar characters wasn’t enough to pull players away from those more popular games. Infinite Crisis was shut down in August 2015, a mere six months after launch.

#5: “Battleborn” (2016)

While some games gain steam over time, others seem destined for failure from day one. Released in May 2016 right as the hero shooter craze was hitting its peak, Battleborn actually had a headstart over its main competition; Blizzard’s Overwatch didn’t hit the market until a few weeks later. Unfortunately for Battleborn developer Gearbox Software, it quickly became clear that the market only had room for one hero shooter. While Overwatch earned game of the year accolades and a player base numbering in the millions, Battleborn was left begging for scraps, despite being a quality shooter in its own right. Sadly, Battleborn was never quite able to recover from its early struggles and was removed from sale in November 2019.

#4: “MAG” (2010)

At a time when most console games were struggling to support 32 player matches, MAG’s massive scope felt like a feat of technical wizardry. Released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Zipper Interactive’s first-person shooter set a Guinness World Record for “Most Players in a Console FPS” with its 256 player online matches. While ambitious in scale and scope, the game’s unbalanced gameplay and technical issues only served to highlight the limits of the PS3 hardware. As a first-party title, expectations for MAG were high but the game never became the dominant online shooter Sony envisioned. In 2012, Zipper Interactive closed its doors, meaning Sony had little incentive to keep the studio’s games running. Sure enough, in January 2014, MAG’s servers were taken offline.

#3: “Paragon” (2016)

Released in early access in March 2016 and later as a free-to-play open beta in 2017, Paragon had a ton of money behind it. It was regularly featured on the frontpage of the PlayStation Store; developer Epic Games was heavily invested in making Paragon the next “big thing”. Then Fortnite happened. By late 2017, Paragon’s days were numbered, as Epic’s battle royale sensation became the company’s core focus. But even taking into account the massive popularity of “Fortnite”, it still came as a shock when Epic announced Paragon’s cancellation in January 2018. Although full refunds were provided to all players, it was still disappointing to see Epic kick Paragon to the curb so quickly.

#2: “City of Heroes” (2004)

Long before DC Universe Online became the definitive superhero MMO, there was City of Heroes. Released in 2005, the game attracted a respectable playerbase; no small feat given World of Warcraft’s market dominance at the time. Over the course of seven years and two expansions, this superhero MMO sustained a small but passionate community of fans, which makes its fate all the more unfortunate. Despite attempts from developer Paragon Studios to buy out itself and the game from publisher NCSoft, the studio was shuttered in 2012, taking City of Heroes with it. The game became playable again in 2019 thanks to unofficial servers, but NCSoft doesn’t appear to have any plans to resurrect the City of Heroes property in any official capacity.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Star Wars Galaxies” (2003)
Because The Old Republic Had the MMO High Ground.

“Umbrella Corps” (2016)
Because Not Every Franchise Needs to be an eSport.

“Hellgate: London” (2007)
Because Everyone Just Wanted to Play WoW Instead.

“Kill Strain” (2016)
Because There Were Already Too Many MOBAs.

#1: “Radical Heights” (2018)

Founded in 2014, Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key Productions’ first release was Lawbreakers, a unique first-person shooter featuring low-gravity gameplay. Despite positive reviews, Lawbreakers sold poorly and was shut down in September 2018, just over a year after release. As a last ditch effort to save the studio, Boss Key pushed out Radical Heights on Steam Early Access in April 2018. The game was immediately met with criticism for its rushed state and obvious attempts to cash-in on the popular battle royale genre. If given more time, there’s a chance Boss Key could have turned Radical Heights into a legitimate threat to Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Unfortunately, the studio never got the chance, as its doors closed just a month after the game launched.