Sony planned to pull the plug on Gravity Rush 2’s online servers next week, but an impassioned campaign from the game’s fanbase appears to have extended the game’s life.
Gravity Rush 2’s online features were set to go dark on Jan. 18, Sony announced back in September. But Sony announced a change of heart less than a week before the shutdown, saying that the game’s servers will now remain active until July 18 at 10 p.m. PT.
When Gravity Rush 2’s servers finally close, players will no longer be able to view leaderboards, collect special content or send each other various challenges. The extension counts as a big win for the PlayStation 4-exclusive’s fanbase, which has pleaded with Sony for weeks to keep Gravity Rush 2 alive.
For Gravity Rush Central, a young, small fan community centered around the two Gravity Rush games, the extension feels like a major, personal achievement. It’s managed to make a large impact thanks to its founder, who launched a hashtag campaign on social media that encouraged fellow fans to make their love for the franchise known.
“Before the game’s release, the game’s director Keiichiro Toyama stated that ‘a lot of work went into online features that allow for asynchronous player interaction,’” Gravity Rush Central founder Miguel (aka “Draikin”) said last month in a post, hoping to galvanize fellow players. “All that work is about to be thrown away. And looking forward, if Sony is already pulling support for the online components of the game, it’s questionable if they’ll ever want to invest into a future sequel.”
There was still time to convince Sony not to give up on Gravity Rush 2, Miguel argued. With the Jan. 18 shutdown date still a while away, fans could start voicing their support for the game, hopefully gaining Sony’s attention before it was too late.
#DontForgetGravityRush was born. Miguel requested that everyone tweet at Sony’s Japanese branch and president Shuhei Yoshida with the hashtag to make them aware of the contingent that wanted to keep Gravity Rush 2 from going offline.
@SonyJapanStudio we fans would like to see #GravityRush 2 servers still continue on pass the January deadline. If you can't reconsider at least give players another way to get those unique online-only items. #DontForgetGravityRush https://t.co/b2PxCtG4QJ— catwithmonocle (@catwithmonocle) January 4, 2018
Whelp, that's how that went. Ey @playstation, how about you keep these servers up? Y'know the ones for #GravityRush2 pic.twitter.com/3uXvzylN6w— Optional Objectives (@opobjectives) January 6, 2018
But it was slow going at first, Miguel told Polygon.
“I knew it would be unlikely for Sony to respond directly, as acknowledging that the delay of the closure was a direct result from the #DontForgetGravityRush campaign could give fans of other games the idea of starting a similar campaign,” Miguel said.
We’ve reached out to Sony about whether the hashtag played a part in the delay and will update accordingly. Yet just as the community got ready to launch its largest Twitter tactic yet — tweeting “en masse” at Sony to get their attention — Sony kicked back the server shutdown date.
The six-month delay is a win for Gravity Rush Central, albeit a qualified one.
“It doesn’t really fix the problems that would be caused by the closure, such as new players being unable to obtain unique in-game content (such as costumes) and all of the leaderboards being removed (even though they’re still online for Gravity Rush Remastered),” said Miguel. “But we’ll see what the future brings.”
Gravity Rush’s future may now seem murky. The game is primarily single-player and story-based, so disabling its online components may not seem like a major loss. But to some, it may suggest a small player base and meager sales. The sequel to an acclaimed PlayStation Vita game, Gravity Rush 2 didn’t receive the biggest buzz when it launched in early 2017; Sony has not made sales data available.
It’s too early to write off Gravity Rush as a franchise, though. Miguel is optimistic that the impact of the campaign and server delay could help bolster interest in this stylish, unique title.
“When Sony first announced the closure, it basically branded the game as a failure,” Miguel told Polygon. “Now, this news means the game and its community is now being featured in gaming media in a more positive way again. I hope that the game’s sales can add up over time.”
Polygon had some serious fans of Gravity Rush 2 when it launched last year; the game also made it onto our list of the 50 best games of 2017. It’s worth checking out, online mode or not — but at least you’ll still be able to make a choice to go online, until July 18, anyway.