Posted in RIFT

Is there a scenario in which RIFT has a future?

Continuing with a recent spat of MMO tourism, I popped back into RIFT for a while to see if I could clear out Scarwood Reach — the zone that I bogged down in last year. And as the rule goes, whenever you come back to an MMO, the very first thing you do is whip up a new outfit. I have no idea what I’m going for with this one, other than a sort of breezy winter athletic tone.

RIFT’s continued existence defies the predictions of so many people who thought that Gamigo was going to shutter this years ago. Yet it’s still been trucking along, albeit with the bare, bare minimum of any development, PR, or events. CMs keep getting hired and then let go, and the company doesn’t talk about RIFT at all in any reports. It’s most likely that the best we can hope for — as things stand now — is for RIFT to continue on in maintenance mode for several years yet before the company does pull the plug. If that’s the case, then my time in the game now is a big final tour of an MMO that I’ve loved since its launch.

Yet some movement on the part of Gamigo last month — the anniversary celebration, a free Patron promotion, linking Steam and Glyph profiles together — raises a very outside possibility that the company may be trying to position RIFT to sell. This is really the only hope RIFT fans have of any other future than a prolonged death spiral. The scenario goes like this: Gamigo puts RIFT up for sale, an eager studio snaps it up, RIFT gets relaunched (with additional PR and fanfare and hopefully a better business model), and a small but dedicated team is tasked with developing and promoting it.

It’s a long shot, yes, but not unheard of in this industry. Broadsword took over development and publishing rights for UO and DAOC, even if that was just a small studio spinning off of EA. Gamigo sold ArcheAge over to Kakao, so there’s some precedent there. Fallen Earth and APB came under Little Orbit’s management. It’s not the most common, but for IP-independent MMOs, it’s far more common to see ones sold and shipped around the industry.

So why not RIFT? It’s never going to be the WoW challenger it wanted to be or even the hot game it was in the first few years, but there’s some genuine life in this MMO that could be coaxed to bloom once more. What’s keeping a lot of people away from it isn’t the nature of the game but its perceived lack of a future coupled with a disliked monetization scheme. People are attracted to titles that exude health and future potential, and they flee titles that look like they’re circling the drain.

I’d absolutely hate to see RIFT die completely. Like WildStar, this is a title that deserved a lot more love and care than it ended up getting, and with the right handling, it could have a much longer, healthier life than it’s getting.


3 thoughts on “Is there a scenario in which RIFT has a future?

  1. “””Continuing with a recent spat of MMO tourism”””

    It’s ironic you ask this question about a game’s survival, when that’s how you play MMOs.

  2. Rift had such an intriguing premise, and there is or was a ton of stuff to like about the game: housing, and relatively interesting progression system, and more. But I instantly disliked the locked-in factional conflict that was already tired in WoW. And the subscription model is so 2000s. Is that how it still runs these days? Given my schedule, I have come to seriously dislike the monthly commitment. Not that I want pay-to-win schemas, either.

  3. I never really get why people supposedly only want to play mmorpgs they believe will have a guaranteeof future development, when as often as not it seems to be the way mmod change when they do get that kind of attention that ends up driving people away. What’s wrong with a game reaching a solid, pateau stage of development and just staying there? It doesn’t have to be all about novelty, surely?

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