I don’t have a link for this, but yesterday Joystiq reported that NCSoft is going to be closing its Austin development studio, shutting down Dungeon Runners and moving Tabula Rasa to another unit, probably ArenaNet, with the implicit message that if the latter doesn’t start doing better, it’ll be getting the axe as well.
You’ll forgive me for saying that I don’t consider the loss of Dungeon Runners to mean much. It’s not terrible, but there are a huge number of Diablo clones out there, some of them quite good, and Diablo 3 is on the horizon. It’s not a good enough satire of WoW to warrant survival on that count alone. And if Mythus does ever manage to materialize, the free semi-MMO space will have an entry that is, by all accounts, quite a lot better than Dungeon Runners ever was.
I do think that the death of Tabula Rasa would be a terrible shame. It’s a game with a nice, distinct atmosphere, and if it isn’t as innovative as the marketing people made it sound, it’s still got enough tweaks to the common formula to make it a fresh addition to the hobby in its own right. It’s a game that I would much prefer to see become a modest success.
One would hope that some or all of the current TR development staff would migrate to wherever the new studio is going to be. But the rumor, the way Joystiq seems to imply, makes it sound like it’s going on life support, in which case cancellation would seem to be an inevitability.
While this news is unconfirmed, it has the ring of truth to it – but I’m hoping that there’s some nuances in there that have not yet been reported.