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Camelot Unchained, the MMO that raised more than $2.2M on Kickstarter in 2013, actually has a release target

Remember Camelot Unchained? A spiritual successor to the old Dark Age of Camelot MMO, it raised more than $2.2 million in a just-barely-successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, but then fell way behind schedule through alpha and beta testing, and then basically fell off the map entirely. The last we heard of it was in 2020, when developer City State Entertainment managed to irritate backers by announcing plans for a new, entirely separate online game before the one they were supposed to be making was anywhere near complete.

But now it seems that things are finally starting to come together. In a press release (via MassivelyOP), the studio—now known as Unchained Entertainment—said that second online game, Final Stand: Ragnarok, is now going to be its first, as it’s set to launch into early access (more on this later) in March, while Camelot Unchained is expected to finally arrive sometime in late 2025.

The focus of the press release is actually on the Unchained Engine, which Unchained president and CEO Mark Jacobs said is “a dream I’ve been obsessing over for more than 30 years.”

“Our engine delivers massive battles similar to those seen in major Hollywood productions like Lord of the Rings, to videogames where thousands of real players interact and share an epic experience in real time,” Jacobs said. “We’re excited to launch our own games, and to share our technology with fellow dreamers in the not too-distant future.”

Unchained and its associated games have “picked up speed” thanks to investment from sources including A16Z Games, a venture capital firm co-founded by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen. With the infusion of an unspecified amount of cash, Unchained Entertainment “is ramping up its financing, hiring and publishing efforts for the launches of Unchained Engine, Final Stand: Ragnarok, and the long-awaited open-world MMORPG Camelot Unchained.”

It’s interesting that Unchained seems to have Unreal-style aspirations for its game engine. The field is already dominated by heavyweights like Unity and Unreal Engine, with various proprietary engines filling in the spaces, and I have a hard time imagining that the Unchained Engine will be able to find space for itself beyond Unchained’s own games unless it does something really special.

And it may—but the first game to use it, Final Stand: Ragnarok, has not exactly made a big splash so far. It’s been in early access on Steam since October 2021 and has thus far garnered just six user reviews and a peak concurrent player count of 32. That’s obviously more a reflection of the game than the underlying technology, but even so it does suggest that it’s not doing anything that immediately grabs attention.

It also causes some confusion regarding today’s announcement: Final Stand: Ragnarok is already in early access. In a statement provided to PC Gamer, Unchained Entertainment explained that the current release on Steam is “a very early version of the game which we called ‘first access’ internally and in the game’s EUALA.”

“This will be replaced with an Early Access EUALA soon,” an Unchained rep said. “Since launching First Access, the team has been refining and developing and the next big milestone for the game will truly be the ‘official’ launch into early access in March which features more content, more polish and more systems. From there, we will build and add over time as well as invest in marketing the game for the first time—this is really just the beginning.”

The Final Stand: Ragnarok EULA on Steam does not actually make reference to a “First Access” launch, for the record, but the one on the game’s website does.

What I think is even more interesting than all of that, though, is the announced release target for Camelot Unchained. It’s equal parts distant and vague, so you can hardly call it carved into stone, and the reaction on Reddit is largely dismissive: The response seems largely split between disbelief that it will actually happen, and an expectation that it will not be good if it does. Personally, I have no idea how it’s going to shake out, but after this much time, money, and disappointment, I’m genuinely curious to see what all of this comes to.

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