The Dead Island franchise has taken its knocks lately. Dead Island 2 got delayed into 2016, and, a few months ago, publisher Deep Silver kicked the game’s developer, Yager, off of the project. In yet another blow to the franchise, the MOBA spinoff Dead Island: Epidemic will be closing its doors on October 15th. Until then, characters and boosts in the game’s online store will see heavy discounts.
Even though Dead Island: Epidemic got through closed alpha and closed beta into the open beta stage, it sounds like the game was not financially viable. In a released statement on the game’s homepage, the game’s team released the following from a larger statement: “Over the past weeks and months we’ve been evaluating how to proceed with Dead Island: Epidemic and looking towards the future of the game. We’re sad to announce today that we’ve come to the conclusion to cease further development.” They end their statement with, “We want to thank everyone for their support, their feedback, and their time playing Dead Island: Epidemic. The game would not have been the same without you.”
Even though free-to-play MOBAs tend to dominate the eSports community, the nature of the genre leaves little room for competitors to break in. Dota 2 and League of Legends are obviously the leaders of the pack, with Heroes of the Storm and Smite tending to claim the rest of the pie. Most likely, games will need to develop some dramatic changes to the genre in order to bully their way in. Having an established license is not enough to bring over a large enough pool of players to keep these games running financially. Just a few months ago, the DC universe-based MOBA Infinite Crisis shut down its servers, and that is a much larger and more popular license than the Dead Island franchise can bring to the table.
Did you play Dead Island: Epidemic? Any other free-to-play MOBAs out there that people should try out besides the big timers? Let us know!