Developing MMO Lazarus put ‘a dangerous financial strain’ on Spilt Milk Studios

Indie team Spilt Milk has confirmed it has cancelled upcoming MMO, Lazarus, stating prolonging development would put “a dangerous financial strain” on the independent studio. It marks the third game using Improbable’s SpatialOS to have been cancelled since May, following Bossa Studios’ Worlds Adrift, and Cambridge Automaton’s Mavericks: Proving Grounds.

Lazarus – which has been in open alpha development for almost three years – will run “as normal” until the servers are switched off at noon (UK time) on September 12th, 2019. As you might expect, there will be no more updates or fixes over that time.

“Lazarus is a brilliant game and the people who play it with us are amazing, but it did not reach a point during its alpha that would give us the confidence that it would launch successfully,” reflected Spilt Milk’s Andrew Smith in a blog post. “Running a game has many elements – things like server costs and software licenses, the cost of maintaining, running and updating the game as it grows with new features and content, and the licensing of all of the services we use to run things like player accounts and whatnot.

“Put simply, if we were to launch Lazarus, the cost of maintaining and expanding the game as we marketed it to more players and worked on our monetisation would put a dangerous financial strain on an independent games studio like ours. We love both Lazarus and the community that has grown around it, but we can’t take that risk.”

As for the studio itself? “Spilt Milk Studios is fine though – we’re alive and well, and this won’t affect us moving forward. We’ll mourn the passing of this amazing, ambitious game, and we will move forward stronger for the experience”, Smith added.

Bossa Studios announced it was closing down its MMO Worlds Adrift in July 2019. In a detailed post, the team insisted Bossa would continue as a developer and publisher of games but insisted Worlds Adrift was “no longer commercially viable”.

“At Bossa Studios we love taking risks and making stuff that no one dares to do in order to create great original experiences for players,” the post said. “Worlds Adrift was an ambitious undertaking for us: a community crafted MMO built on freedom and player agency with multiplayer physics, set in a huge world. We are proud of what we achieved with the game since development began five years ago out of a humble game jam.

“Creating an MMO like Worlds Adrift is a huge financial commitment and unfortunately the game is just no longer commercially viable.”

Thanks, PCGamesInsider.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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