It hasn’t been a great start to the year for battle royale games as yet another one, Proletariat’s free-to-play magic shooter Spellbreak, will shutter in “early 2023.” There isn’t an exact date on when the servers will get turned off, but company CEO Seth Sivak explained in a Reddit post that because the game was “not able to break through and reach a sustainable place,” Spellbreak’s development was no longer viable. On top of the unceremonious shutting down, the entirety of Proletariat was absorbed into Blizzard to support World of Warcraft’s development.
It’s not lost on me that a lot of the entries on this list are free-to-play, games-as-a-service titles. I think that’s indicative of the state of the genre which has been dominated by other tentpole releases such as Apex Legends and Fortnite. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or players in the world to sustain so many live-service games when they’re developed to almost function like secondary jobs, replete with daily login bonuses and enough challenges to complete that you feel as if you’re clocking into a digital workplace after clocking out of your real workplace. It’s only the start of the year, though, so while a handful of games have already died, maybe the end of 2023 won’t look so bloody.