Posted Fri, Oct 25, 2013 by Martuk
Earlier this week Mechanist Games announced that it had taken back City of Steam and would be self-publishing the steampunk MMORPG for an upcoming re-launch under the name of City of Steam: Arkadia. Today Mechanist Games opened up more about what led to that decision and what the future holds for City of Steam: Arkadia, which in many respects will be a completely redesigned game.
Mechanist has purchased back the publishing rights for the English versions of City of Steam.
That means Mechanist has paid R2 Games to buy back City of Steam’s publishing rights. This concerns the English version of the game only.
What exactly does this mean for the game’s future?
The publishing and operation rights and responsibilities for English City of Steam are now back in the hands of the game’s developer, Mechanist, us! We will be self-publishing the global English versions of the game from now on. Other language versions of the game will continue service unaffected.
Why has Mechanist purchased back the English version publishing rights?
Because we want to publish our game by ourselves now. This is not because of game license contract non-renewal (as speculated by some). Many factors contributed to our decision to purchase back the publishing rights. In their recent statement, R2 Games made it clear they had a “chronic lack of players” and this was a major factor in our decision.
Why are R2 servers shutting down?
City of Steam’s English publishing rights are back in Mechanist’s hands and other publishers must cease operation of the game. That means they must close their servers and stop publishing the game. That is why R2 is closing their servers. City of Steam development is not shutting down, just R2’s servers are.
Mechanist is not continuing the 1.X versions of City of Steam any more.
We are now developing newer City of Steam 2.X versions only.
All non-English versions will enjoy these improvements, and a smooth continuation of service.
Why buy back the game and not just publish a 1.X version? Firstly, we don’t feel that the current 1.X product line is a good fit for Mechanist or the new players of browser gaming platforms we want to cooperate with. Secondly, we believe that there are numerous improvements that need to happen to realize the game vision as we intend, many of which were duly noted by loyal players around the world and need to change for the continued prosperity of the game community. All non-English language versions will receive version upgrades without interruption of service.
Mechanist will publish City of Steam: Arkadia. Effectively, this is City of Steam version 2.0
CoS: Arkadia is the equivalent of our internal development version 2.0. It is not our intention to rebrand the game, nor disguise City of Steam as something completely new. However, the game changes are very significant, and come in line with the experience that we at Mechanist want to deliver. It is still recognizably City of Steam and retains much of the core gameplay that players know and enjoy. However, the changes are nothing short of major, and this will become clear in upcoming announcements. We feel that we are publishing something more than just City of Steam now, and the addition of the in-game public flying fortress Arkadia was something that really went beyond the previous versions.
How does this affect players in Russia, Turkey, Poland, MENA, China and other areas?
It doesn’t. Those game versions are not affected by the English version’s publishing handover. They can continue playing now, and enjoy the improvements that come along with City of Steam: Arkadia when it is ready. And just like any other version upgrade, all the non-English language versions will also receive it.
English Community Questions
Are you going to back your original Alpha and Beta supporters?
Yes. We will recharge all original supporter accounts their total Electrum’s worth on the new Mechanist servers. We want to restore faith in our players, especially those early adopters who believed in us.
Will the characters in R2's server be transferred?
Mechanist will be opening new servers, not continuing R2’s servers. But to honor the loyalty of returning players, compensation will be given on these new servers based on the specs of their old characters. We have a strong desire to give everyone the fresh new start this game deserves, but we also really want to thank the loyal players who stuck with City of Steam and welcome them home, whether they spent Electrum or not. That is why their accounts will be compensated on the new servers. Please understand how starting fresh and honoring loyalty conflict with each other –it is a very tricky situation for us, a sensitive topic, so we can’t release any more information until we are absolutely sure on the details of the compensation.
Will the developers be active in the community again?
The PR department had to be completely laid off, making us a much more development-focused team. The community personalities we used to have aren’t with us anymore, so there won't be enough manpower to respond to players as we did before. However, you’ll find that maintenance, patches, content and new features will be updated regularly, as you’d expect from any MMO. We will make the effort to respond to the main questions by the community every week or so, depending on how much time the developers have.
Will the game be reverted back to how it was in CBT?
We can’t be sure what exactly this means, but we think the answer to this question is “No”, based on what you liked and didn’t like in all the 1.X versions. But similarly, it won’t be like the 1.X versions either. The changes between version 1.3 and version 2.0 are very large, so drawing comparison could be speculative or misleading.
What is Mechanist’s plan for City of Steam: Arkadia?
Mechanist is not a massive publisher, so our only game needs to sustain long-term development and suit browser-gaming demographics better in order to keep alive. Being a browser game with an optional downloadable micro-client, it is neither comparable to a client-install MMO nor a social platform browser game in that sense. It’s something else, and many folk have trouble deciding what that is. We want CoS: Arkadia to be a fresh experience for old and new players, no matter how you classify it.
Forums will be available for City of Steam on our own hosting at www.cityofsteam.com for the English-speaking community to migrate to. We will make an effort to answer the major questions in the near future.
For more news updates in the coming weeks, please check back on www.cityofsteam.com regularly. We will announce more about City of Steam: Arkadia as events unfold, and expect to publish very soon.
TLDR version: Mechanist bought back the rights City of Steam from publisher R2 Games after a number of factors contributed to the decision, one of which was R2 Games citing a "chronic lack of players." Mechanist will self-publish its re-launch, which will be a completely redesigned game under the name of City of Steam: Arkadia. Non-English versions of City of Steam will continue without interuption and receive an upgrade at a later date.
Backers of the original City of Steam will receive compensation in the form of Electrum, and former players will receive some form of reward for their loyalty, but characters from the original may not be transferring over. More information on this will be revealed later.