For some time now, speculation has been running rampant about the current development status of Firesky's sci-fi MMO Stargate Worlds. Monday evening, Kevin Balentine, the game's Senior Marketing Manager issued an official statement assuring fans that the game is still under development.
"The lights here are still on and the development team is working hard every day to get this game built," said Balentine in the statement. "Team members are in the office seven days a week to deliver Stargate Worlds."
There have been numerous cues over the past few months that the game might be in trouble, beginning with rumors based on a website called days-since-cheyenne-mountain-employees-have-been-paid.com that, as the URL would indicate, employees of the company hadn't been paid in a count that breached the 20 day mark.
Firesky responded to these rumors and reports, stating that they were a new company and as such were having cash flow problems based on the fact that they were a pre-revenue company (ie: Hadn't produced a title yet and as such have no money coming in from game sales).
More recently, we learned that Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment (known today as Firesky) was being sued by a company called IO Capital Princess LLC for an unpaid account. This added more fuel to the speculation fire.
The straw that seemingly broke the camel's back, prompting Balentine to release his official statement to a number of media outlets including MMORPG.com, were comments made by Stargate Executive Producer (and also a Creative Consultant on the game) Brad Wright during an interview with Gateworld.net. When asked about the future of the game, Wright replied:
"It's a shame. If it doesn't happen -- and, let's be honest, it should be happening now if it was happening. It's a shame. It's a terrible shame.
"They had an opportunity and they got our support, and they obviously had significant funding, and it didn't happen. It's kind of a drag for the fans and the time that we invested -- what little of it there really was, in comparison to what they did -- was still a shame that it was wasted, because it should have happened."
Later in the article, Wright lamented the lack of a Stargate video game on store shelves, and why shouldn't he? Both Star Wars and Star Trek have spawned a mountain of games over the years. Even the relatively short-lived series Battlestar Galactica has a title or two on store shelves. If and when Stargate Worlds releases, it will be the first launched title for the franchise.
"Team members are in the office seven days a week to deliver Stargate Worlds," Balentine said, addressing the apparent miscommunication between Firesky and their Creative Consultant. "Brad Wright is the Stargate expert and a creative consultant on Stargate Worlds who advises us on the story; unfortunately we had not recently updated him on our progress or the impact from the current global economic crisis, and he was not fully aware of the continuing progress on our game."
It's easy to see, looking at these incidents as a whole, why many assumed that Wright's statements were the final nail in the confirmation coffin of Stargate Worlds' demise and while Balentine's statement does indicate that the game is still under development, it also admits to the fact that while they're still operating, everything isn't roses and sunshine, referencing both the economic crisis and the need for angel investors (which wikipedia describes as: "an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.") to keep the dev team working.
"We are currently negotiating several deals that will cover our financial responsibilities and fund the remainder of development," he said, indicating that they weren't completely out of the financial woods yet. "When we sign those deals, you'll hear about it. Until then, we'll keep building Stargate Worlds, because right now, that's the only thing that matters to us."
While it is difficult at this point to know exactly what's going on over at Firesky in terms of Stargate Worlds development, it seems that, for now, the seventh chevron is still locking on Firesky's gate, indicating that it hasn't been buried just yet.
MMORPG.com will continue to follow this story as it progresses.