Sci-fi MMORPG Tears of Polaris development put on hold, but not cancelled.
After 4 years in development, highly anticipated sci-fi mmorpg Tears of Polaris has been put on hold. Although it had built a forum following, an open beta stage was never reached. The only part of the game available for public testing was an early introduction tutorial, which was reviewed favourably.
The announcement came on the official forums. Iron Realms President Jeremy Saunders posted:
At this point we have decided NOT to continue with Tears of Polaris development, and we are putting the project on hold, but not completely cancelling it.
There are a few reasons for this, but let me hit the main ones.
Some of the major code shared across the IRE games has been completely changed beyond repair. These systems have to be the same so that we can universally apply IRE code updates to the game. These updates have not been done on ToP for many, many months.
For the most part, all the of the skills are just Achaea skills. Some not even reskinned. Any new IRE game has to be completely new from the ground up in regards to skills. We would literally have to start classes all over from the beginning.
The space system (one of the main reasons for playing a sci-fi game) is not close to being ready.
Matt and I have talked about this several times. We still want to release a sci-fi game, but ToP is not even close. In fact, it will be faster for us to start completely over.
For now, we are putting the project on hold indefinitely. We are currently working on several other large projects and upon their completion we may begin work on a new version of ToP from the ground up. Most likely we will pull from our existing pool of experienced producers when we do this. Most of them have expressed an interest in working on a project like this.
Being a sci-fi mmorpg, Tears of Polaris set out to establish itself as a unique experience from traditional IRE games. In one update to the forums, the producing staff described the space system; "In contrast to the traditional rooms of IRE games, space disregards such a concept which would be restrictive and limiting. There are no rooms in space, and as such there will be no commands for players to go north, south, up, down, etcetera. Instead, everything is based around coordinates such as <1, .5, 8>." Coordinates-based navigational systems in sci-fi games have been popularized by titles such as EVE Online and the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic.
While Tears of Polaris captured the interest of those eager for a sci-fi mmorpg from IRE, there was some concern over whether folks were ready for another IRE game. Some expressed the opinion that a sixth game would thin out the players across the servers. As an interesting note, Iron Realms second game Aetolia was created due to Achaea, IRE's flagship game, being unable to handle more players at the time. Since then the servers have become capable of handling far more players, but Imperian, Lusternia and Midkemia Online have joined the IRE roster over the years.
Thankfully, no matter what happens with the Tears of Polaris project, I'm sure Iron Realms has great plans for its current games.
Editor: Tony Celentano