EverQuest Next has been cancelled

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game, highly anticipated by fans as a follow-up to EverQuest II, is no more.

Daybreak Game Company has announced that after almost six years in development, EverQuest Next has been cancelled.

The online roleplaying game, intended as a followup to 2004's Everquest II, was first teased in a 2009 anniversary book, and in 2012 it was announced the game was being completely retooled for the (as yet unfinished) Forgelight 2 engine. As recently as 2014, we heard that the game would "absolutely" be coming to Playstation 4 and possibly even the Oculus Rift VR headset "in some way, shape, or form."

Unfortunately, it appears none of that will find its way to players. In a statement released on Daybreak's official website today, company president Russell Shanks said that development on EverQuest Next has ceased, after internal deliberation concluded that the game "would not meet the expectations" of players.

In an interview with MMORPG, Shanks said that the cancellation "in no way was this an easy decision to make. [...] There was a lot of good work and learning that came out of EQN that we intend to build upon to make our future games even better."

You can find Russell Shanks's complete letter to EverQuest fans below:

To Our Daybreak Community,

I’m writing today to let you know that, after much review and consideration, Daybreak is discontinuing development of EverQuest Next.

For the past 20 years EverQuest has been a labor of love. What started as a deep passion of ours, as game creators, grew into a much larger passion shared by you, millions of players and Daybreakers alike. Watching EverQuest’s ability to entertain and bring people together has inspired and humbled us. It’s shaped our culture and has emboldened us to take aggressive risks with our game ideas and products. When we decided to create the next chapter in the EverQuest journey, we didn’t aim low. We set out to make something revolutionary.

For those familiar with the internals of game development, you know that cancellations are a reality we must face from time to time. Inherent to the creative process are dreaming big, pushing hard and being brutally honest with where you land. In the case of EverQuest Next, we accomplished incredible feats that astonished industry insiders. Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun. We know you have high standards when it comes to Norrath and we do too. In final review, we had to face the fact that EverQuest Nextwould not meet the expectations we – and all of you – have for the worlds of Norrath.

The future of the EverQuest franchise as a whole is important to us here at Daybreak.EverQuest in all its forms is near and dear to our hearts. EverQuest and EverQuest II are going strong. Rest assured that our passion to grow the world of EverQuest remains undiminished.

Yours truly,

Russell Shanks
President, Daybreak Games

It is not yet known what Daybreak's follow-up project will be, though it sounds like the company will shift its workforce back over to H1Z1 and Landmark, two of its other in-development MMOs.

Kris Ligman is the News Editor of ZAM. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisLigman.