The market for Free-to-play games is a tough one and when you start to see the playerbase dwindle there is usually two things that can happen. Either the game changes (sometimes for the better) or the Publisher pulls the plug on the game. We’ve seen this sort of thing happen in the past, more recently with Ubisoft and Ghost Recon Phantoms, but now we can add Nexon to the list as they have confirmed that they will be shuttering Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online.
The studio announced the game will be sunsetting with a forum post which state:
We’re sorry to inform you that we will be sunsetting Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online in North and South America, Europe, and the Oceania region, with final closure scheduled for December 6.
This was a very tough decision to make. The game has been in development for a long time, supported by developer, publisher, and community effort. Ultimately, we decided that continued development wasn’t going to help the game become what we all hoped it could become.
We will be supporting the game for the next several months during the sunset period, allowing both the development and publishing teams and the community to say goodbyes and enjoy the game.
According to SteamCharts.com, First Assault Online was seeing a steady decline of players within the past couple of months, the average players listed at 441.4 within the past 30 days. This also occurred after the recent Renewal update which drastically changed the game, having characters separated into classes with specialized weapons and new abilities such as double jump and sliding.
The free-to-play shooter was based on the popular Ghost in the Shell anime series and took specific notes from the Television series – Stand Alone Complex, providing characters and maps that were featured in the series rather than after the Movies (including its recent Hollywood remake starring Scarlett Johansson).
I’m definitely disappointed to see the title go, while I was sceptical at first as being a fan of the Ghost in the Shell series, I couldn’t see how a game that was multiplayer focused would could represent the series. However several sessions later and the game quickly became one of my favourite Free-to-Play titles available.
Players have until December 6th to say their goodbyes before the game goes offline for good.