From the outside, it appeared an odd decision that development on Landmark -- the interactive creation tool for EverQuest Next -- would continue once the game it was built for was cancelled. Whether this was a good decision wasn't immediately clear, but with Landmark's official release on Steam, we now have a better picture. And it's not good.
Landmark made its debut on Valve's online store yesterday and rather than bathing in digital accolades, it was instead drowned in a torrent of negative reviews.
It's currently labelled with the red-hued "Mixed"; only 40 per cent of reviews are positive. Delving into the reviews themselves, a few points become clear:
- Those that previously had access to Landmark during pre-release (and paid for it before Everquest Next was cancelled) feel they've been "locked out" now that the game requires a $US10 purchase to play.
- It plays like an "unfinished alpha" and is otherwise "incomplete".
- Related to the above point, it doesn't feel like a "game", which makes sense as it was meant to be a companion to an actual game and not by itself.
The first gripe appears to be the source of the majority of negative reviews and hey, fair enough. Being asked to pay twice to play a game that you were already on the fence about is terrible idea.
As for the other arguments -- I think it was always going to be a struggle to bolt more gameplay onto Landmark. OK, sure, following through with EverQuest Next and everything involved in running an MMO might have been out of the question, but sadly, the alternative doesn't seem to have worked out much better.