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Exclusive Reaction from Turbine

Dana Massey Posted:
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Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna Answers Our Questions In The Wake of The Game's Demise

In the wake of Turbine announcing Asheron's Call 2 is coming to an end, Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna, the Director of Community Relations for Turbine, took some time to sit down and answer a few questions, exclusive on MMORPG.com. Below we find out what, if anything, is in store, why it happened and more.

MMORPG.com: Obviously, Asheron’s Call 2 was no longer making money, but can you explain the various factors that went into this decision and what milestones were missed on route to the eventual announcement that you were pulling the plug?
Jonathan Hanna:

Really the biggest factor was the subscriber numbers. We spent a lot of time trying to come up with various ways to keep the game running at the subscriber level we were at, but in the end none of them worked in the long run. Once we exhausted all of our options, we made the final decision. Nobody at Turbine was happy about that, but it had to be done.

MMORPG.com: What was the logic of releasing a new expansion pack, then promptly ending the game? Are you worried about a backlash from those who spent money on an upgrade that will soon be of no value?
Jonathan Hanna:

The expansion pack was meant as an attempt to bring more people in the game by getting AC2 back on store shelves. We advertised the game on the web and in magazines too. Unfortunately the expansion pack didn’t really grow the game.

MMORPG.com: Obviously, when AC2 goes down, one cannot help but wonder about the health of AC1. What impact, if any, does this announcement have on the original game?
Jonathan Hanna:

It doesn’t have much of an impact at all. AC1 and AC2 are run very separately from each other. Separate development teams, separate QA, etc. AC1 is also in a better situation as far as subscriber numbers. We don’t plan on shutting down AC1. Right now we’re working on the next update as well as live events.

MMORPG.com: Will Turbine offer any support, or at least the legal ability, for players to host their own independent free AC2 servers?
Jonathan Hanna:

No. We have no plans to open source the server code.

MMORPG.com: How many active subscribers did the game carry at the time of the announcement?
Jonathan Hanna:

I can’t give out exact subscriber numbers.

MMORPG.com: Will this announcement mean any job loses at Turbine or will everyone left on the AC2 team be transferred to other projects?
Jonathan Hanna:

There were no layoffs as a result of this announcement. All of the folks involved with AC2 have been moved to other projects.

MMORPG.com: A game must, in the end speak for itself. As a sort of post-mortem, completely independently of outside factors, what do you feel went wrong with AC2 as a game to cause its eventual failure? What lessons has Turbine learned from it that can be used to enhance future projects?
Jonathan Hanna:

There are many factors that contributed to AC2’s ultimate fate, and it’s really hard to single one factor out above the others. There are a lot of things that Turbine has learned from AC2, and we’re constantly applying those lessons to Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. One of the key lessons that we learned is the customer perception of sequels in the MMO space. They end up splitting your community more so than growing it. So they are counterproductive, unlike sequels in other game genres where they can be really successful.

It is a tough time to have been a developer or a player of Asheron's Call 2. We hate to see games meet a bad fate and are glad to hear that everyone at Turbine has found new homes.

Comments? Memories? Post them here.


Dana Massey