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Sad news today from Danish developers Runestone. Seed, their non-combat MMORPG, is soon closing its doors after a few months of service. The company has simply run out of money. Below is a letter from CEO Lars Kroll Kristensen.
Weve reached the end of the road [September 28, 2006]
Open letter to the community
For the past two months, I and a few others have attempted to sell a partnership deal to a long list of publishers and MMO companies, trying to raise the capital we needed to finish the game properly, and re-launch it in a form it, and especially you the community, deserve. While we have received a great deal of interest, we have not been able to close a deal. The harsh reality is that we have now officially run out of money, and out of options, and therefore, we cannot pay salaries, rent or hosting fees.
What this means to you, is unfortunately that you will only be able to play Seed for a very limited time. We will have a little goodbye ceremony this Sunday at 20 CEST. I will be there, in the garden, as Magellan. He was the first character online, and he will be the last. I hope some of you guys will be there too, even if the occasion is sad. After that day, the servers may be less stable and reliable, and AD GMs will only be online on their own free time, if at all. Same goes for Runestone Staff.
For us, it means that the dream of Seed and Runestone is over. It has been a wild, weird ride, full of frustration, triumph, joy, stress and fun, but never boredom. We have all learned incredibly much about game development, the gaming business and MMOs.
Weve made some major mistakes, and some smart moves along the way, but in the end, we simply tried to do too much, with too few funds, which I guess is a typical Rookie, and even veteran error.
I, for one, would do it all over again, although I would do a great many things differently next time around.
For the MMO community and business as such, the rise and fall of Runestone probably doesnt mean that much, but I hope MMO execs out there reading this letter will draw the *right* conclusions from Runestone and Seed, and *not* the wrong ones.
One thing I would hate to see happen as a result of our failure would be a consensus forming that the idea about a non-combat, role play-centric MMO is a bad idea.
I am still fully convinced that a role play-centric game is not only a good idea: Its a great idea. It just needs to be better executed. Seed has many of the right qualities for such a game, and I still firmly believe that, given sufficient funding, we could have created a great game.
Unfortunately, we will never know.
Weve reached the end of the road, and to all those of you who have followed us along this wild, weird ride I say a big, big thank you. Its been a pleasure serving you our game, and your constant faith in us has been a major morale booster when times seemed tough.
I hope Seed gave you some enjoyment, some great times and some fun along the way, maybe even some new friends. I hope you will demand more from your future games in terms of role playing with other players, and in terms of player influence in the world.
Cause thats what role playing games and role playing communities are all about. The people playing them.
Lars Kroll Kristensen
You can find out more on the Seed website.
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios