Sigil’s Vanguard to be published by Sony, Microsoft punted…

A few years back, several of the key players in the development of EverQuest left. Brad McQuaid, Jeff Butler, and numerous others set out on their own to form up a new game company (Sigil) to develop a new game (Vanguard). Microsoft funded Sigil, and there were great expectations amongst some gamers regarding how much better Vanguard would be than anything Sony could make.

Jump forward to the present day, and we find that Sigil is terminating their publishing agreement with Microsoft and signing up with Sony Online Entertainment. Yep, that’s right: Vanguard will be published (hosted, mostly) by Sony, right along side EverQuest and EverQuest 2.

That’s gotta smart for the Sigil folks- right back where they started. Presumably they left Sony Online for a reason: they must have assumed they couldn’t create the kind of game they wanted within that company. I’m sure there are all sorts of agreements to ensure Sigil retains their “creative freedom” and so forth, but…well, I find it a little tough to believe that Sony won’t be right in there, offering their “suggestions”.

And I have to wonder what exactly Microsoft was trying to do to the game that drove Sigil away. Maybe they were trying to force them to release it on an XBox? Curious minds want to know…

5 thoughts on “Sigil’s Vanguard to be published by Sony, Microsoft punted…”

  1. The best part of this whole thing, are all the fanbois screaming bloody murder.

    I love reading the message boards on the vanguard site…to a lot of people, SOE publishing this game is the end of the world.

    Brad using words like “microsoft was TOTALLY (yes he types it in caps)cool with this, and SOE was TOTALLY cool with this, and I am SUPER excited” just screams of a late night infomercial.

    All of this back pedalling now like “we don’t want to have to worry about servers, we just want to make games!”.

    That sounds great, so how about making “A” game, a single game of any kind would be a great start :).

    I bet that this was a last ditch effort by Sigil (maybe they are finally hurting for cash?) to get this game out. It (vanguard) was (imo) starting to become a bit of a vapourware situation.

    To me, the game being handled by SOE is only a positive step, as my only experience with an mmorpg by Microsoft was the utter failure that was ac2.

    What I do find funny, is that 2 years ago, when Vanguard was the next best thing around the corner, Brad had no problems with Sigil being responsible for servers and all that…how times change.

    I saw a term today for an AAA MMOPG..wth is that?

  2. I’m not sure whether Vanguard was becoming vapourware- more likely, from what I can piece together, that Microsoft wanted them to release sooner than Sigil wanted to. Sigil hasn’t been talking concrete release dates- maybe Microsoft wanted a specific date?

    Guessing is about the best I can do, though- neither Microsoft nor Sigil are likely going to give the full details. Like you did, I noticed how hard Brad was selling the whole “win-win-win” thing.

    Triple A (“AAA”) games- If I’m on the right track, that’s like triple A beef. The premier, first class stuff. In the gaming world, it generally means games with huge publishers, written by well established developers with massive budgets and huge teams, appealing to an already-sold audience. Examples would be EverQuest 2 and World of Warcraft in the MMOG world, or Halflife 2 and Doom 3 in the First Person Shooter world. This is as opposed to (for example) Second Life or Asheron’s Call (MMOG), or Serious Sam (FPS).

  3. Thanks for the AAA explanation. Sounds kind of pretentious for developers to be labelling their own games with that kind of comment, but I guess it all boils down to marketing it the best way that they can.

    Calling their “AAA” before it is even out, is a little much though 🙂

  4. Sigil had a release date of mid 2006 they couldn’t meet. Microsoft said meet it or find another publisher. It’s no more complicated than that. You guys sound like the black helicopters crowd, lol.

    Sigil couldn’t meet the agreed upon date so they HAD to find another publisher. Enter SOE. This gave Sigil a 6 month extension to late Jan 07, and a debt to Microsoft. That has come and gone, and even THEN Sigil tried to talk SOE into a delay. SOE wouldn’t have it either. So the game’s released, but somewhat unstable (my client crashes a few times per evening) and adventuring content above 25th level or so is scarce. Diplomacy beyond the in-town trainers is all but undoable due to overstacked decks in favor of the NPCs (it’s played with “cards” thus the reference to “stacked decks”). Crafting can be progressed through in terms of level, but useful end-item recipes are not fully fleshed out over 20th level (tier 3).

    SOrry Shane but the reaction to SOE was NOT over the top is was well warranted. SOE sucks because they can’t leave games alone. They ruined EQ and SWG, as any serious player will witness to (unless they are a Sony fanboi).

    If all SOE does with V:SoH is host the servers, it MIGHT stand a chance.

  5. Hi, Wil, and welcome to my blog!

    I don’t know about the “black helicopters” crowd. The only “official” explanation for the Sigil/Microsoft split that I’ve ever seen came from Sigil, and basically boiled down to “creative differences”. It was vague to say the least. I still suspect there was more to it than simply differences regarding a release date. Do you have a more specific official release on the topic that you are referring to?

    As for “Sony Fanbois”…I’m not 16 years old, and I’m nobody’s “fanboy”. The whole “evil company” or “glorious benefactor of mankind” thing various people have irritates me. Companies are companies: they are in business to make a profit and to satisfy stockholders. Good and evil in the context of a corporation is almost entirely without meaning- companies will do what they think they need to in order to grow, profit, and survive. Google filters content for the Chinese…Apple builds disposable iPods…Microsoft gives new features away for free…and so on.

    I played EverQuest for several years: I can’t say I liked Sony, but they gave me several years of fun despite the way they screwed things up at times. The folks who consider them evil incarnate are as full of crap as the ones who think they can do no wrong.

    But this is old news- if you check the date on my post (May, 2006), its something like 10 months ago. Vanguard has been released, and folks can see the real game. I’ve been trying it out since final beta, and am still forming an opinion. As you say, the game has various problems, but having extensively Ultima Online, EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, Asherons Call 2, Dark Age of Camelot, Final Fantasy Online, Anarchy Online, D&D Online and a bit of World of Warcraft…I can’t say I’ve seen a single MMOG release that didn’t include at least some bugs and content gaps. Some of them (E.G.: AC2) were so severely bugged as to make the world virtually unplayable. Vanguard is about “middle of the road” in terms of quality/stability at release. That isn’t exactly glowing praise, but it’s not bad either.

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