TerraQuest Axed

TerraQuest game axed. I talked about TerraQuest earlier in mssv.net. I can’t say I’m particularly surprised about this development; not only were they offering a $250,000 grand prize, but also six prizes of $25,000. The total prizes alone are $400,000, and that doesn’t even take into account the production costs. Sure, they said they had ‘external funding’ and that the game wouldn’t be dependant on registration fees from players, but if only a few hundred people signed up, there’s no sense in continuing.

I suspect that they needed at least several thousand players to sign up to make the game viable – preferably well over 10,000 players. Frankly, I think that goal was unrealistic. Why?

Poor marketing and publicity; the only place I read about it was a short blurb on Gamespot. A quick Google reveals that they barely had anyone talking about the game on the Internet. For a game in such a young genre from a young company, word of mouth and media coverage is absolutely essential, and TerraQuest had none.

The entire game was single player, and since you were competing for money, it didn’t benefit you to talk to other players. So while the prize money may attract players, it also severely stunts the growth of a player community, which is one of the most powerful methods of generating word of mouth. Plus, I’m not sure if they had a free play period either, which is a really bad idea.

I don’t know much about the game itself; it was episodic, like Majestic, and the plot was prescripted – like Majestic. Consequently, that it came to the same fate as Majestic – cancelled due to lack of player numbers – should be no surprise. All the commercial game offerings in this immersive fiction genre following AI have lacked a few key elements; a strong, fanatical player community – a strong plot – a flowing, dynamic and realtime storyline – sprawling web content – and innovation.

Back to the drawing board then, I suppose.

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