Development of Outbreak: New Dawn, the ill-conceived "spiritual successor" to the exceedingly controversial The War Z (later named Infestation: Survivor Stories), is being offloaded to a new publisher after just six months of development. The original studio behind it, Free Reign Entertainment, announced via social media that it had reached an agreement with Thailand-based Electronics Extreme for them to acquire the IP - including source code and user accounts.
"Today we are announcing the next step in Outbreak development and evolution. Free Reign Entertainment has reached an agreement with it's long time friends and partners at Electronics Extreme. Electronics Extreme will be publishing Outbreak: New Dawn worldwide in 2021." writes a cloaked, shadowy, and probably nameless figure at the other end of the official Outbreak social media account. " The game will get a much larger development team and resources it needed to make changes faster and improve the quality of the game where it matters - map layout, sounds, animations, etc. The game will get a proper QA team behind it to test everything before it is being released to the public. More marketing, better communication on social media channels, prompt support to our players needs and resolving of technical issues."
While the benefits of being developed a larger, allegedly more capable studio might seem like a win-win, it means that the game's future is a little more than uncertain, as its new owners could liquidate or, dare I say, cannibalize the game for use in another project.
That is to say that rather than rehashing Outbreak: New Dawn into yet another game (Note that Outbreak is itself a rehash of Shattered Skies - another one of Sergey's abandoned projects), Free Reign has opted to sell the game off entirely, similar to what they did with Infestation: Survivor Stories, which is already being published in Thailand by Electronics Extreme.
"As a result of this [sale], most likely existing Outbreak New Dawn social media accounts will be replaced by new channels managed by Electronics Extreme. Most likely game will use different brand/IP owned by Electronics Extreme instead of Outbreak name."
In any case, what the move ultimately amounts to is a final, audacious cash-out following a contentious, lackluster development period - something that Free Reign Entertainment is all too acquainted with at this point. After all, the company has a well-documented history of launching and abandoning unfinished projects.
If there was any question at this point whether or not Sergey and co. will have a role in Outbreak: New Dawn's future, the answer is apparently a hard no. "To clarify - Free Reign Entertainment is no longer will be publishing or operating the game going forward. Electronics Extreme will be responsible for that."
The silver-lining in all this is that Free Reign Entertainment is supposedly getting out of the game-making business, perhaps even for good. When asked what the company would be doing post-Outbreak, they were told that Sergey and co. would be focusing on investments and licensing.
Could this be the last time Sergey dupes gamers out of their money? Eh, I don't think we're that lucky.