Even today, I like to trick myself into thinking that by purchasing Wizard101 with crowns, I'm buying those areas forever. But, when Wizard101 is no longer a profitable enterprise, it will go. And all of my money with it. We all assume and hope that it won't be any time soon, but recent signs seem to prove otherwise. Will Wizard101 shatter like glass?
There are three telling signs to me that Wizard101 is nearing a close. But let's take it...
From the TopJ. Todd Coleman left KingsIsle not long ago. While the reasoning was his being ready to move on to begin working on another game, I'm not sure that's all it was.
As Nicholas Lionrider mentioned, everyone in Azteca died according to the story, in a game where there were never to be any deaths. And how about the difficulty level? Not exactly ideal for that ten-year-old audience. But for a lot of this, this was an exciting twist. Turns out not everything is a happily ever after. And an increase in difficulty? Ideal for the crowd that sticks around long enough to play areas like Azteca, right?
But what if that wasn't J. Todd Coleman's intention at all? Was the game getting a bit too extreme? Perhaps Coleman was unsatisfied and left under the guise of creating a new game. That's not to say that he won't, of course. It just serves as a perfect excuse, doesn't it?
Another example? How about Electronic Arts and their recent decline in popularity as CEO John Riccitiello stepped down. It has been said that KingsIsle may go the same way.
To the CriticsOf course, whenever the end of Wizard101 is discussed, the fact that J. Todd Coleman said something about years of more adventures always seems to come up. I tracked down that quote, posted on October 24, 2012:
New W101 world announced - Azteca, lost world of the Aztecasaurs! Don't worry -- we have *years* of new adventures planned for Wizard101 !
Source: FB post HERE. Sure. But like any plural, years can mean as few as three... or two. Or, it could be many, many more. But even more importantly, look at the time frame in which new content has been released recently.
Azteca was released last November. Since then, we've gotten some PvP updates and fixes... a three-dungeon expansion... and then, for the most part, new crown shop items have been passed off as major updates. But no new world. Not anything even really close.
In years past, we were getting as three new worlds a year. In 2011, for example, we saw the release of Wintertusk, Wysteria, and Zafaria. Those were the titles of the Game Updates, not "Misc. Updates" or something similar. In 2009, we got Dragonspyre, Voiceovers, PvP, Housing, Grizzleheim, the Bazaar, crafting, mounts, and school housing.
Now the rate has slowed. In the past many months, it's been new bundles and hoard packs. That's not a bad thing, just another sign, but one that I'll visit later on.
J. Todd Coleman's Game Vision: A Thing of the Past?
Coleman was always, in my opinion, a model leader for anyone in the gaming industry. But perhaps it was his own visions that led to the success that Wizard101 sees today.
I believe that nothing in the world is more powerful than having a powerful vision, and the relentless drive to make it happen. If you really love doing something, you won't need a lot of convincing -- it won't feel like work, it will feel natural.
On January 25th of 2013, Coleman announced his leave from KingsIsle, saying:
... I have decided to leave KingsIsle and pursue my own course. This might sound crazy – and, full disclosure, it probably is – but it is something that I have to do. ... What is next for me? I’m a storyteller, so I will keep doing what I do best – dream up ideas, breathe life into characters, build worlds for you to explore… only next time, I want to do it for myself. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. A new company, a new game, a new story…
Some people's worry is that something left with him. Perhaps something did, but I believe Coleman's vision still exists. I think Wizard101 still has plenty of potential. I'm just not sure how much longer it'll live that out. But JTC's leave is only the beginning...
This mini-series has a few more posts before it's finished... but what about the game? Do you think it's coming to and end? On its way out? Or just getting started?
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!