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Every Game That's Died In 2023 So Far

Gaming doesn't just get competitive in battle royale arenas and multiplayer lobbies. The games themselves are constantly vying for players behind the scenes, trying to draw in enough dedicated fans to keep themselves going month after month. Not every game makes it. Every year, dozens of games are shut down forever.

2023 promises to be full of games that will blow you away, but it's already proven to be a particularly brutal year for games that have struggled to keep themselves afloat prior to the start of the year. Shutdowns have hit a number of classic games that just happen to be past their prime, but newer titles haven't exactly managed to escape the fray unscathed. Some of the most shocking sunsets of the year have fallen on games that are barely out of their infancy — ones that might have broken through if they'd only managed to stay online a little longer. More games will surely fall, but now is as good a time as any to remember every game that's died so far in 2023.

Apex Legends Mobile

What could be better than playing your favorite battle royale on the go? For years "Apex Legends" has brought in fans playing on a wide variety of systems, but in 2022 Android and iOS users got in on the action. "Apex Legends Mobile" debuted on May 17, and at the time it seemed like the game could be a dream come true for "Apex" fans who just couldn't get enough of the game on their home consoles or PCs.

Sadly, that dream didn't last very long at all. On Jan. 31, 2023 Respawn Entertainment announced that "Apex Legends Mobile" would be coming down. The developer said that there were concerns about the quality and quantity of content being pushed out for the game, so on May 1, 2023 its servers would officially be shut down. A live service game lasting less than a year is a major blow to fans of course, but the situation is worse for anyone who spent money in the game because no refunds are coming their way for any of the content they're losing access to.

Babylon's Fall

A team of four Sentinels plans to climb a seemingly endless tower whose floors are flooded with enemies. Luckily, every squad member is armed to the teeth, and thanks to the support of an implant called the Gideon's Coffin, everyone has four weapons that can help shred through their opponents. They crawl upwards floor after floor, fighting, looting, and leveling along the way.

"Babylon's Fall" aimed to give gamers a cooperative action RPG with endlessly engaging combat. Instead, it completely bombed and dropped the ball on almost every level. Lackluster gameplay, terrible graphics, and an overpriced battle pass all added up to a colossal failure. Setting aside the game's many flaws, "Babylon's Fall" also released just a week after "Elden Ring," so it was doomed no matter what. In September 2022, just seven months after the game's launch, the production team announced that "Babylon's Fall" would be shutting down at the end of February 2023.

Battlefield Mobile

It's tough to see games getting shut down less than a year after they launch, but maybe those games were lucky to have been played at all. In another attempt at securing new players by porting a game to mobile devices, EA spent some of its time in 2022 developing "Battlefield Mobile." The game's open beta began in November, and for a moment it really looked like the classic "Battlefield" experience could find its way to Android devices around the world.

Apparently EA had a complete change of heart about focusing on mobile titles. At the same time as the publisher, along with developer Respawn Entertainment, put an end to "Apex Legends Mobile," it killed all hope for the "Battlefield" title. In a short blog post, the company said its decision was motivated by its current view of the industry and a desire "to create a deeply connected Battlefield ecosystem." Whatever deep connections EA is aiming for won't involve a smartphone for the time being.

Crimesight

"Crimesight" is a classic whodunnit through and through, but the game's slight twist is that players are attempting to solve a crime that's yet to be committed. Six characters are brought together in a manor, but one among them is a killer and another is a doomed victim. The game is geared toward online play and even encourages people from different countries to cooperate by communicating through in-game stickers when language barriers would otherwise threaten the group's mystery-solving abilities.

What could have been a great party game will likely end up forgotten forever. Konami announced on Steam that support for the game would be ending on May 1, 2023, though it continued selling copies of the game through February. "Crimesight" only launched in April 2022, so the game's players were caught off guard by the announcement, and Konami didn't list any specific reasons for shutting it down. Maybe that's the last mystery the game has to offer.

CrossfireX

2022 seems to have been a particularly rough year for online multiplayer games, but there's a good chance "CrossfireX" would have run into problems no matter when it was released. Developed by Remedy Entertainment and Smilegate Entertainment, "CrossfireX" looked to be a fairly typical military-themed shooter with a single-player campaign and a free-to-play multiplayer mode. The Xbox exclusive earned poor reviews because of its poor map design, frequent bugs, and nearly broken shooting mechanics.

"CrossfireX" is yet another would-be live service game that met an untimely end. The companies behind the game aimed for the moon but ended up missing even the stars. The developers said that the game's servers would shutter on May 18, 2023, barely a year after they went live. With how poorly "CrossfireX" was received, it's not likely that many gamers will miss it, and if the game's failure helps put an end to the trend of poorly planned live service experiments, they might even cheer on its demise.

Dragon Quest the Adventure of Dai: A Hero's Bonds

"Dragon Quest" has been around for decades, and it's one of Square Enix's most beloved RPG franchises. "The Adventure of Dai: A Hero's Bonds" came to Android and iOS in September 2021 as a free-to-play game that offered a low-stakes way for new players to check out the series and gave longtime fans a new way to enjoy "Dragon Quest." Rather than relying on the traditional JRPG combat formula, "A Hero's Bonds" lets players hack, slash, and magic blast their way through waves of enemies while exploring various dungeons in a party of four.

Thanks to the strength of the existing franchise, genuinely entertaining battles, and a set of microtransactions that weren't entirely overwhelming, "A Hero's Bonds" enjoyed a healthy lifespan. Players were treated to regular updates and an expanding story, which made Square Enix's sudden announcement about the end of the game all the more surprising. On January 25 the company stopped selling content in the game ahead of shutting the whole thing down on April 26. Square Enix promised to deliver the final chapters in two different in-game storylines to give players some sense of closure, but it gave only vague reasons for ending the game in the first place.

Dreadnought

All good things must come to an end, and after five years of high-flying action, Six Foot revealed that "Dreadnought" will be wrapping up on March 19. Since 2018 "Dreadnought" has been filling a niche in the free-to-play market and doing it exceptionally well. The game is focused on spaceship combat at an epic scale. Teams of players send their capital ships into battles that really summon all the spectacle a sci-fi fan could want. Of course, actually navigating through encounters is only half the battle. "Dreadnought" gives players minute control over every facet of their ships, and putting together the perfect loadout is the key to victory most of the time.

"Dreadnought" really had a good run, and Six Foot is trying its best to give the game the finale it deserves. Multiple in-game events are scheduled for the closing months, so fans can soak up all the glory of battle before the servers go quiet. It might be a while before there's another free-to-play game that can deliver spacefaring combat with quite as much style.

EA is cleaning house

The mobile versions of "Apex Legends" and "Battlefield" are far from the only games that EA is putting an end to in 2023. The company released an update addressing its decision to shut down online services for dozens of other titles at the beginning of the year. It said that many of the games had dropped below 1% of peak player levels, and at that point the cost of keeping the games online became too much.

Most of the games that EA is sunsetting throughout 2023 have been around for a long time and have more than enjoyed their time in the sun. Dozens of sports games, from "Madden" titles to "Nascar" entries, will be going offline at some point in the year. Shooters like "Crysis 2" will also see their servers closed, along with games that have only limited online options like "Mirror's Edge" and "Dragon Age Origins." While it's sad to see so many games go dark, it's also a startling reminder of just how many titles EA publishes.

Echo VR

No genre or platform is safe from surprise closures. Echo VR debuted on the Oculus Rift in 2017 and gave VR one of its most popular competitive titles. The game looks and plays like a round of frisbee football held inside the Battle Room from "Ender's Game." Players move through a zero-g environment passing a disc to their teammates and trying to dodge punches from their opponents.

Developer Ready At Dawn announced that "Echo VR" would be coming offline in August, much to the dismay of the game's fans. The studio said it needed to close the game to focus more attention on its next project, but that reasoning doesn't make sense to many of the game's fans. Pulling the plug seems like a drastic move when "Echo VR" doesn't get many content updates already, and even with a low amount of support, it's still a hugely popular Quest game with an active competitive community. Whatever Ready At Dawn has planned next better be something really special, or fans are sure to abandon the studio.

Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier

"Final Fantasy" meets "Fortnite" doesn't sound like a surefire elevator pitch, but that didn't stop Square Enix from giving it a go anyway. In 2022 the company released a game that could capitalize on the popularity of battle royales, the ubiquity of smartphones, and the gaming world's endless passion for a certain Buster Sword wielding protagonist. That Frankenstein concept became "Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier," and it almost worked.

The game's core concept turned out to be pretty fun, but its main issue was something Square Enix probably should have seen coming. Battle royales just don't translate particularly well to iOS and Android. The game suffered from a messy control scheme, and plenty of devices struggled to get it to run properly in the first place. "The First Soldier" definitely deserves some credit for trying something new, but that wasn't enough to keep the game alive. Square Enix made the end of service announcement on Twitter, and the servers shut down on January 11, 2023.

Guns Up

Not every war game has to take things seriously to be seriously entertaining. "Guns Up" is a free-to-play game that has been entertaining PlayStation gamers since 2015 and PC players since 2018. The game takes a pseudo-tower defense approach to its warfare. Players get to construct their own bases and layer in artillery and upgrades to defend them from incoming soldiers. The more battles they survive, the more they get to boost their own soldiers and defenses.

Fans of the game were able to sink countless hours into building the perfect army, and the game's PVP options gave players a means of pitting their toughest troops against each other. It's great that "Guns Up" lasted so long, but it will be sad to see it go. An unceremonious Twitter announcement from Sony revealed that the game will be going dark on April 14. Luckily, fans of the game might be able to move over to "Guns Up Mobile," which is less an iOS/Android port of the original and more of a spiritual successor that still hits the same mark as the original.

Hellfire Tactics

In the center of a Venn diagram of autobattlers, card drafting, and competitive multiplayer sits "Hellfire Tactics." Players choose from dozens of different combat units to put together a (hopefully) unstoppable team before heading into battle against their friends in 8-player online match ups. The combatants on offer include demons, hunters, magic users, and a wide array of fantasy creatures.

Among a crowded field of tactics-focused indie games, "Hellfire Tactics" really stands out, but that just makes the game's short lifespan all the more tragic. It launched in November 2022, and despite a promising start, it quickly lost too many players to keep going. On January 21, 2023 developer JWaffle Games made the sad announcement that "Hellfire Tactics" would be putting all future battles to rest on February 28. According to the developer, running the game's servers became too expensive with the size of its player base, and in the future JWaffle Games will be looking at projects that avoid that one big expense.

Knockout City

This one definitely hurts. Just two years ago "Knockout City" was nominated for Best Multiplayer Game at the Game Awards, and it's easy to see why. In a world overloaded by competitive shooters, "Knockout City" instead takes its inspiration from a childhood game and middle school nightmare: dodgeball. Securing victory in a match requires some clever footwork, quick reflexes, and the help of a power-up ball or two.

"Knockout City" was the breath of fresh air many gamers didn't even realize they needed. EA had a surprise hit on its hands, and 5 million players showed up for a free trial event called Block Party in the game's early days. All that enthusiasm, however, turned out not to be sustainable. In February 2023 the game's days became numbered. Game director Jeremy Russo revealed that Season 9 would be the end for "Knockout City," and the game would go offline in June. Russo wrote that, "There are several aspects of the game in need of major disruption to better attract and retain enough players to be sustainable." Velan Studios can't make those changes to the game, but it can keep those things in mind for its next endeavor, and "Knockout City" will survive on PC through private servers.

Rumbleverse

"Rumbleverse" wanted to take the battle royale genre and put it in a choke hold. The game shook up the traditional formula by making melee combat the center of attention and wrapping the game in enough bright colors to put a group of luchadores to shame. Developer Iron Galaxy Studios really gave the game its all, and with the support of EA as a publisher, it seemed like the brawling action of "Rumbleverse" could entice enough players to keep the game alive.

It didn't pan out that way. Less than six months after launch, EA shuttered "Rumbleverse," much to the disappointment of gamers who'd long ago burned themselves out on "Fortnite." The game lasted only two seasons before sunsetting on February 28, 2023. As a small consolation, any players who spent money in the game became eligible for refunds, which makes sense with how quick the turnaround came for "Rumbleverse." Iron Galaxy isn't out for the count, though, and with any luck the company's next game will hang around a little longer.

Spellbreak

A game can still be successful even if it doesn't manage to have much staying power. "Spellbreak," from indie developer Proletariat, might have lasted less than three years, but it still gets to hold onto some bragging rights. Proletariat CEO Seth Sivak laid out some of the game's accomplishments in a lengthy Reddit post. Not only was "Spellbreak" the first game with day one crossplay between PC, Xbox One, PlayStation, and Switch, it also pulled in over 10 million players over the course of its short lifespan.

The game put players in the midst of PvP action where spells were flying and seemingly anything could happen. From elemental abilities to teleportation and flight, the battlemages of "Spellbreak" always kept combat exciting and fresh. Sadly, the game existed in a highly competitive market, and it just couldn't hold its own. The game's servers are officially down, but Proletariat itself has been acquired by Blizzard, and next it'll be bringing the magic in "World of Warcraft."

Angry Birds

"Angry Birds" is a classic that set the standards for mobile titles when it first released in 2009. The deceptively simple catapult game has players launch birds with various special abilities at entrenched pigs. It has hooked millions of players and spawned an entire franchise. Sequels and spin-offs have debuted and "Angry Birds" has managed to take itself well beyond smartphones. The IP boasts two feature-length films and an entire theme park dedicated to it.

"Angry Birds" developer Rovio shared its plans to take the original game down, at least for those who don't already own it, via Twitter. On February 23 Rovio removed the title from the Google Play Store. It also highlighted its intention to shift the name from "Angry Birds" to "Red's First Flight" in the App Store. According to Rovio, the original "Angry Birds" negatively affected new games that the company wanted to promote.

A similar situation actually unfolded a few years prior. Rovio tried to get rid of "Angry Birds" back in 2019, and for two years the game was unavailable. In 2021 the company published a letter apologizing for not supporting its older releases, and "Angry Birds" came back a year later. It's hard to say if this time Rovio will stick to its guns and keep the game out of circulation.

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