Near Death Studios, has well, died. The company, which developed and ran the venerable MMORPG, Meridian 59, has shut down, according to an announcement made on the blog of NDS' Brian "Psychochild" Green.
Image Credit: Gameproducer.net
Meridian 59 fans need not fret, however, as the game will continue to run, just not as a commercial venture owned by Near Death Studios. According to Green, the writing has been on the wall for some time now, as Meridian 59 has essentially been on "life support" for the last several years, due in part to several failed attempts to grow the game's popularity. The real turning point for the game was apparently when the company decided to bring Meridian 59 into the modern era with a graphics overhaul, updating the game with a 3D engine in place of the game's previous DOOM-era software renderer.
This upgrade was expensive and was completed just around when World of Warcraft launched, ensuring that news of such a massive change to the game would be drowned out in the ensuing chaos that was the launch of what is known today as the 800lb gorilla in the room. The game simply never recovered after that.
If you're interested in reading more on the announcement, you can read the full thing over at Psychochild's blog.