We’re barely one-twelfth of the way through 2023 and a surprising number of games are already about to get killed off, as devs have announced their impending deaths. Normally, we’d reserve this list for the end-of-the-year round-up, but we’re ringing the death knell early because, with 27 games already lined up for public execution, we need to start paying our respects now. So, let’s get right into it:
Update, 09/03/23 10:30 am: We’ve added 12 more games to this article that have already been taken offline, will no longer receive updates, and/or are scheduled to be delisted in the near future. This brings our total number of dead or soon-to-expire games to a whopping 27. Wow, that’s a lot of death.
Developer Dragonest’s eight-player strategy game Auto Chess will get pulled from the PlayStation store on June 1, the studio tweeted back in November. The game won’t receive any new updates, and cross-platform features have already stopped working as of March 1. Although this only affects the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game, if you haven’t synced your console account to the mobile servers, everything you’ve unlocked has now vanished since cross-platform features no longer work. At least you can still play Auto Chess on Android and iOS, I guess?
Fire Emblem Fates
The sequel to Fire Emblem Awakening, Fire Emblem Fates has already met its…fate. Developed by Intelligent Systems, this tactical RPG is no longer up for sale on the eShop because you won’t be able to buy anything from the Nintendo 3DS or Wii U digital storefronts come March 27. (Fates was unceremoniously delisted on February 28.) In a blog post about the stores’ demise, Nintendo confirmed that DLC for Fates will remain accessible until the 3DS and Wii U eShops cease operations. You can still play the game if you’ve already bought it, but otherwise physical copies will be the only legal method through which to play Fates. While we’re at it…
Nintendo 3DS, Wii Shop Exclusives
There is a swath of 3DS eShopexclusive games you won’t be able to buy anymore once March 27 rolls around. BOXBOY!, Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, Kokuga, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies are just a few games that will get delisted when the 3DS eShop goes offline later this month. There’s also an array of Wii U-only games that will be removed once the platform’s digital storefront closes up, including Devil’s Third, Dr. Luigi, and Pokémon Rumble U (not to be confused with Pokkén Tournament, which is now on Nintendo Switch). So, any digital download 3DS or Wii U game you enjoyed will become unavailable for purchase at the end of March, and a lot of those will be rendered completely unavailable through legal means. That’s a bummer.
The strategic tower defense game Fortress V2 will shut down on March 22, developer Retiad confirmed in an update on the game’s Steam page. The studio said that, “due to deteriorating revenue, it was impossible to maintain the service any longer,” leading Retiad to stop working on Fortress V2 entirely. Thanks were given to “the users who have sent us support and encouragement,” which is always a nice gesture. Unfortunately, for the folks seeking refunds, it appears those are “subject to Steam regulations.”
This was a lowkey death, as developer Sim World Games has already taken the fighting sports management game MMA President off of the Steam store. Released in December 2019 to mixed reviews, Sim World Games announced in an update that after over three years of work, the studio has chosen to “retire the game from Steam.” If you own the game, you can still play it. But for any newcomers curious about checking MMA President out, you’re out of luck.
Natural Selection 2
With 10 years of development under its belt, Unknown Worlds Entertainment’s team-based real-time strategy FPS Natural Selection 2 will no longer receive updates. The studio confirmed the news in a post on the game’s Steam page, thanking fans for the ongoing support and planning to “continue on to other projects within [Unknown Worlds].” It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The developer said that it will “still continue to host matched play servers” so that folks can still play with other players or bots. However, much like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, what you see is what you get with Natural Selection 2 now. There are no new additions or changes coming to the game. This is all there is.
Nerf Ultimate Championship
Did you know there was a virtual reality Nerf game? It sounds vaguely familiar to me, but I certainly didn’t know it was already delisted from the Meta Quest store. According to a blog post about the future of the competitive multiplayer FPS Nerf Ultimate Championship, the Oculus Quest exclusive was removed from the digital storefront on March 1. Sorry new Quest owners, but you can’t buy it now. Not that you’d want to anyway as once August 31 passes, Nerf Ultimate Championship will get taken offline and no longer launch on the VR headset. This is primarily because the developer, Secret Location, is shutting down and “will no longer have resources to continue supporting the game.” So, for those who happen to still own it, you’ve got a few more months to shoot some VR Nerf guns.
PlayStation Plus Collection
This only hurts PlayStation players, but it’s still disappointing to see all the same. Sony announced on February 1 that the PlayStation Plus Collection, a catalog of 19 of the company’s top-tier games (like Bloodborne and God of War), will no longer be offered come May 9. It’s not as if these games will get yanked offline; you can still purchase them from the PlayStation store, and if you’ve already downloaded them, they will remain accessible in your library. It’s just that all of them won’t come folded into the neat package that is PlayStation Plus anymore. By subscribing for a handful of dollars a month, you could download any of these games. But soon, you’ll have to buy them individually, which could run your wallet anywhere from $20-$60 depending on the game. That’s the bummer here. Sony had something good in this introductory collection that acclimates new PS5 owners to the company’s pedigree of developers. Unfortunately, that idea will be killed come early May.
Project Xandata, a 3v3 arena FPS developed by The Studio of Secret6, will get laid to rest in May. While no firm date was announced, the gut punch is that the game launched on March 22, 2022, meaning it’ll shut down forever just a little past its first birthday. Project Xandata will remain playable until May rolls around, but Secret6 said that “no more new updates and events will be coming,” clarifying that active development on the game has come to an end.
The servers for the mobile-exclusive adventure RPG Revived Witch will “stop operating” on May 7, developer Yostar Limited tweeted on March 5. The team said that “due to an adjustment in game development and operation strategy,” active work on the game is done and dusted. However, if you still happen to have Revived Witch installed on your phone, you’ll be able to play the game until early May, with Yostar Limited continuing to offer service updates and weekly supplies for the duration of Revived Witch’s operation. But once May 7 comes, the servers will go offline and players won’t be able to log in anymore.
Shikhondo: Soul Eater
Shikhondo, an anime-styled bullet hell shoot ‘em up, will be delisted from all console platforms on March 31. The game’s overseas publisher EastAsiaSoft delivered the news on February 27, confirming that a sale for the PlayStation 4 version should be happening “soon.” Meanwhile, the EU and U.S. publisher Digerati (which is in a legal battle with an indie developer right now) told Kotaku over Twitter DMs that “[because] our contract for the title is up and the developers have asked us to delist [it],” Shikhondo will also get removed from every digital storefront that has Digerati attached as the game’s publisher.
Wolflord: Werewolf Online
Another game that has already been quietly killed off, LizardFactory’s Among Us-like multiplayer RPG Wolflord – Werewolf Online is no longer available on the Steam store. In a rather heartbreaking update, the developer said that due to “health problems, mental problems, and financial problems,” the game became a rock that was “too heavy [to] keep pulling.” LizardFactory cited other issues with Wolflord – Werewolf Online’s development that made the project no longer viable as well, including “interpersonal problems” such as the need to recruit new players and prevent community toxicity. Folks seeking refunds should be able to get them, and the studio has “arranged with the new owners” to ensure that current players will get into the new version of the game, whatever form that takes. Unfortunately, it’s also entirely possible that whoever the new Wolflords are will shelve the IP for good, as it won’t be in LizardFactory’s hands anymore.
Original list from February 8, 2023 continues below.
Apex Legends Mobile
EA announced earlier this month that Apex Legends Mobile, the free-to-play handheld spin-off that very much resembles its console counterpart, will shut down on May 1. The publisher explained in a blog post that while the game had a “strong start” at the beginning of its lifecycle, Apex Legends Mobile’s content pipeline “[began] to fall short of [the] bar for quality, quantity, and cadence” that the team expected. Anything you purchased in the game won’t be eligible for a refund, according to EA. Thankfully, Apex Legends Mobile’s imminent shuttering won’t have any influence on the main console version of the game.
Arguably the worst PS5 game, Square Enix’s action RPG Babylon’s Fall is on the verge of breathing its last breath. The publisher announced late last year that the game will cease operation completely at the end of February, with all data being deleted and the servers getting turned off. I’m not sure who was still playing this game, but maybe the sole person keeping it alive at one point might be experiencing some heartbreak. Either way, Babylon has fallen and there is no chance for recovery here.
Another EA joint ending in a whimper, the publisher confirmed that just as Apex Legends Mobile is going down in flames, so too is the unreleased Battlefield Mobile. In a separate blog post, EA said that due to the industry’s evolution, the team will “pivot” from the formerly in-development game to focus on Battlefield 2042, with at least one studio, Industrial Toys, closing its doors in the aftermath. At least EA has confirmed that it’s also in “pre-production on our future Battlefield experiences at our studios across the globe.”
Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights
Square Enix’s Bravely Default has had a couple of sequels since the RPG series kicked off in 2012. One of these games, the free-to-play mobile spinoff Brilliant Lights (which only launched in January of last year) isn’t shining so bright, as the publisher confirmed at the end of last year that the game will be discontinued on February 28. Square Enix said in a blog post that Brilliant Lights didn’t “provide services that satisfy our customers,” leading the team to cancel development on the project. There are two silver linings here, though: The first is that any unused in-game currency will be refunded, and the second is Square Enix’s intention to “distribute an offline version” which lets you look back on various characters and their stories. How this “offline version” will play out is unclear, but for now, Brilliant Lights is getting dimmed.
I don’t blame you for not having heard of this game, as it seems to have flown under the radar after launching on April 14, 2022. However, Konami’s Crimesight, an Among Us-like whodunnit social deduction game, will shut down on May 1 alongside EA’s Apex Legends Mobile. The publisher shared the news on the game’s official Steam store page, citing various unspecified “circumstances” that led to the game’s shuttering. Game bundle sales have already ended, the Standard and Deluxe editions won’t be available after February 27, and the game itself is slated to become unplayable once Crimesight ceases operation.
CrossfireX, the Remedy Entertainment and Smilegate Entertainment co-developed free-to-play FPS that came out almost a year ago to the day, will cease operation on May 18. In a blog post, the team said the game was “ultimately not where it needed to be,” resulting in the unceremonious shuttering. Sales on Xbox, where CrossfireX was exclusively launched, will be halted and purchases made within the last 14 days (as of February 3) may be eligible for a refund. Otherwise, the servers will shut down in May and the game will no longer be up for sale.
Deathverse: Let It Die
This is a bit of a weird one since it’s only temporary, but GungHo Online Entertainment’s free-to-play battle royale hack-and-slasher Deathverse: Let It Die will see its development suspended on July 18. But don’t fret! The publisher shared a blog post on the decision, saying that although the developers couldn’t “resolve the underlying problems” with lag and matchmaking, the team will redevelop the game to ideally “re-release [it] with significant improvements.” As such, any content currently planned for season three will “only be partially released” and the game won’t be playable once services are suspended this July.
Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds
Here’s another game you might not have heard of that’s shutting down soon. Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds, a free-to-play mobile action RPG, will see its services end on April 26. Citing “the challenges and practicalities of delivering” a satisfying and varied experience, publisher Square Enix shared in a blog post that the sale of in-game items and the automatic renewal of the game’s subscription service have already stopped. Some content, including a treasure hunt and season-exclusive equipment, will still be delivered before development wraps up. But otherwise, A Hero’s Bonds will be no more.
Virtual reality has been going through it lately, and Ready At Down’s Echo VR was caught in the crossfire as Facebook owner Meta has announced that it’s shutting the game down on August 1. Ready At Dawn said in a blog post about the news that the studio is “coming together to focus on” the next project, which wasn’t disclosed as of yet. There are some things you can unlock if you play the game before it shuts down, including previous event rewards and in-shop items, but after August 1 comes around, Echo VR will be done and dusted.
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier
This one appeared on last year’s dead games of 2022 list. However, since Square Enix has finally laid Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier to rest on January 11, I figured it was worth briefly mentioning this frustrating albeit exhilarating free-to-play mobile-only battle royale game. Maybe, if it ever gets re-released on PC, it will find the audience it so desperately deserved. Only time will time, though. So for now, all I can do here is lay some flowers on the casket and pray we meet again soon.
Sure, this isn’t a game as much as it is a platform for games, but that alone justifies its inclusion on this list in my eyes, especially since Google Stadia shut down on January 18. Even more of a bummer here, one of the last games landing on the platform, the internally developed test title called Worm Game, is no longer playable. Pour one out, y’all.
Maybe another game you haven’t heard of, JWaffle Games’ free-to-play card-based auto-battler Hellfire Tactics, which came out in November 2022, will shut down on February 28. The studio shared an update on the game’s official Steam store page, saying that because server costs are expensive and the player base has dropped off, keeping the game up and running has become “unsustainable.” And that’s it. Once February wraps up, Hellfire Tactics will float down the river Styx.
This one’s a huge bummer for me, especially since I really enjoyed what Velan Studios’ Knockout City was going for. However, the developer’s free-to-play team-based multiplayer dodgeball game will have its servers turned off and get pulled from digital store shelves on June 6. The final season is already underway, so you’ve got time to play Knockout City with the rest of the world. But once June 6 comes around, Knockout City will be no more. There are plans for a private server version on PC to stay up for folks to play indefinitely; however, if you missed this train, well, it doesn’t appear to be making any more stops.
Another personal gut-punch, Epic Games Publishing has announced its free-to-play wrestling battle royale Rumbleverse is hanging up its latex on February 28. Developer Iron Galaxy said in a blog post that players who spent any money on the in-game store are “eligible for a refund,” with information on how this works coming sometime soon. In a follow-up post, Iron Galaxy also expressed some interest in bringing the game back, saying we “may not yet have seen the Rumble in its final form.” What that means right now is unclear, but one thing is for certain: Rumbleverse will become totally unplayable when February ends. RIP.
It hasn’t been a great start to the year for battle royale games as yet another one, Proletariat’s free-to-play magic shooter Spellbreak, will shutter in “early 2023.” There isn’t an exact date on when the servers will get turned off, but company CEO Seth Sivak explained in a Reddit post that because the game was “not able to break through and reach a sustainable place,” Spellbreak’s development was no longer viable. On top of the unceremonious shutting down, the entirety of Proletariat was absorbed into Blizzard to support World of Warcraft’s development.
It’s not lost on me that a lot of the entries on this list are free-to-play, games-as-a-service titles. I think that’s indicative of the state of the genre which has been dominated by other tentpole releases such as Apex Legends and Fortnite. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or players in the world to sustain so many live-service games when they’re developed to almost function like secondary jobs, replete with daily login bonuses and enough challenges to complete that you feel as if you’re clocking into a digital workplace after clocking out of your real workplace. It’s only the start of the year, though, so while a handful of games have already died, maybe the end of 2023 won’t look so bloody.