After losing their publisher Digital Extremes, the developers of the MMO action game Wayfinder found themselves in a difficult situation. Portal journalist massivelyop.com contacted AJ LaSaracina, director of marketing, and asked him a few questions about the future of the project. We have prepared a translation of this interview for you.
My understanding – which may be incorrect or outdated – is that Digital Extremes was not short of money, so why did the situation with Wayfinder change so suddenly? Is Tencent to blame for this? Is it really that simple – Digital Extremes wants to leave the publishing business? Why does this happen so unexpectedly?
I can’t speak for Digital Extremes or Tencent. I can say that we started working on the DE transition plan immediately after we were told about it.
How exactly Airship Syndicate is going to support the game – what is the amount of funding, how long can it exist in its current form, is the company looking for a buyer or a new publisher? Does Digital Extremes anything to do with the management or funding of the game at this time? How about Tencent — could something like Level Infinite provide you with support?
Airship Syndicate now has enough resources, both in terms of personnel and funding, to support the game for some time. In the meantime, we will be negotiating with publishers, including those who have already expressed interest. We are confident that the terms of Digital Extremes’ release from the publishing agreement make the game attractive to a new potential partner.
Has Airship Syndicate itself lost anyone, or are we just talking about the Digital Extremes employees who worked on Wayfinder publishing and infrastructure?
There were no layoffs at Airship Syndicate.
Was there an increase in experience? [на прошлой неделе] calculated taking into account this step, or was it a coincidence?
Publishers set priorities, and 3 weeks ago we approached Digital Extremes and said we wanted to change focus. We believe that we need to fix the fundamental problems in the game before releasing additional content and a second season for “Founders’ Pack” purchasers (the two content updates that were released were made during the game’s launch). Digital Extremes approved this move.
Experience was high on that list. Next, we will focus on the user interface, game loading speed, technical characteristics, number of items dropped, and much more. Our number one priority right now is strengthening the base of the game.
It is important to note that the publisher controls all accounts associated with the game, so in our case we cannot update the PlayStation version at the moment. For now, these weekly patches are for PC, and as soon as we can update PlayStation, we will do so. These players will still be able to play as usual, but cross-platform play will be disabled. This is completely out of our control and we understand that this is not what we advertised or intended for the game and we will report the results as soon as we can.
Is there any refund plan?
Regarding refunds, this is entirely up to Digital Extremes as they handle all payments.
Assuming the game has funding, how have plans for its launch changed? What are the forecasts for the revival of the game through F2P and the return of the number of players to the profitable zone?
The honest and real answer is we don’t know. We are pausing our “seasonal” structure and evaluating our calendar. The team agrees that simply switching to F2P is not the answer. We remain committed to Early Access, where we work with the community to fix fundamental bugs and implement meaningful changes.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t release content. We will be working on the basics mentioned earlier while releasing content at the same time. The seasons were our kind of “wrapper”. These included a new character, a themed “Reward Tower”, new weapons, new quests, new locations, etc. Instead of waiting for a big seasonal update, we’ll be taking these pieces of content and releasing them alongside smaller patches and fixes, which we do quite often. We’ll also be updating our roadmap with a lot more information about what players can expect from the next patch, both in terms of content and fixes.
I really care about this game. I can’t believe that a project that has so much money and effort put into it is worth nothing.
The game certainly still has value. The Airship Syndicate team is motivated (perhaps even more than before) to make Wayfinder a success. There’s still a lot we don’t know about both the transition and the future, but we’re not slowing down. We’ll be doing a live stream soon to interact directly with our community and provide more information as it becomes available.