The end of a game's life is a somber affair, but even more so when the game in question had only just officially begun its life. This is the case for Darwin Project, a streamer-driven, 10-person battle royale that left early access in Feburary of 2020, and is now, only months later, being put out to pasture.
According to a blog post on developer Scavenger Studio's website, the choice to discontinue development on Darwin Project was not made lightly. "It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to stop developing new features for the game. April’s update was the last one for the foreseeable future." writes studio founder's Simon Darveau and Amélie Lamarche in a joint statement.
"Over the past years, we saw a decreasing playerbase, and have been working hard on finding solutions –from a new platform development (PS4) to bringing new content (class system, battle passes, systemic maps, customizable craftwheel, new tiles, live events), spectator interactions extension, and continuous optimizations. We have assessed all potential solutions and scenarios, but unfortunately, Darwin Project is unable to sustain itself thus forcing us to come to this very difficult decision."
While Darwin Project will not be receiving any further content updates, the the game will remain playable in its current state until at least the end of the year. However, it's unclear what will happen after that point.
2020 has been a rough year for battle royales that haven't been able to break into the mainstream. Darwin Project's untimely demise only adds fuel to the conversation that the genre itself has been tapped, with the big players - Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Warzone - being the last to capture the market. With former heavy-hitters such as PUBG seemingly on the decline in the face of competition, we likely haven't seen the last of this year's battle royale casualties.
Scavenger Studio's decision to sunset Darwin Project comes just a day after Xaviant, the developers behind beleaguered battle royale, The Culling: Origins, announced their plans to restart their game with an ill-advised pay-per-play model.