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EverQuest Next has been canceled

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Daybreak Game Company confirms its next-generation MMO is dead

The next iteration of the EverQuest franchise, EverQuest Next, is no longer in development, Daybreak Game Company announced on its official site today.

Daybreak president Russell Shanks said the game, which was announced in 2013, simply wasn't fun and didn't live up to the EverQuest franchise's standards.

"In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we — and all of you — have for the worlds of Norrath," Shanks said in a letter.

You can read his full statement below.

To Our Daybreak Community,

I'm writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.

For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest's ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It's shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn't aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.

For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn't fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Next would not meet the expectations we - and all of you - have for the worlds of Norrath.

The future of the EverQuest franchise as a whole is important to us here at Daybreak. EverQuest in all its forms is near and dear to our hearts. EverQuest and EverQuest II are going strong. Rest assured that our passion to grow the world of EverQuest remains undiminished.

Yours truly,

Russell Shanks
President, Daybreak Games

As Shanks notes in his letter to the EverQuest community, the original EverQuest and EverQuest 2 will continue development. In an interview with MMORPG.com, Shanks said that EverQuest Landmark, the online sandbox tool that lets players build and explore the world of EverQuest — originally with the intent that that content would transfer to EverQuest Next — will continue.

"The future of the EverQuest franchise is important to our company and you have not seen the last of Norrath by any means," Shanks told MMORPG.com.

The past few years have been a period of transition for the team behind EverQuest. The original company, Sony Online Entertainment, was sold off by its parent company and renamed Daybreak Game Company. Shortly after the transition, Daybreak laid off a number of employees, including key EverQuest staffers. SOE and Daybreak co-founder John Smedley left the company a few months later.

Daybreak is currently working on its legacy EverQuest titles, PlanetSide 2, DC Universe Online and open-world zombie game H1Z1. The developer announced in February that it was splitting H1Z1 into two games, H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Hill, and working to bring the franchise to consoles.

For more on the history of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak, read Polygon's feature on the developer.