January 29, 2018 // 10:38 a.m.
Epic Games has announced it is shutting Paragon, its free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title, before the game has even left beta, as it struggles to support the more popular Fortnite battle royale game.
Opened in pay-to-play early access form in March 2016 and as a free-to-play open beta in February 2017, Paragon offers five-on-five team-based multiplayer battles where players choose from a roster of 'heroes' with their own specific range of sills and abilities. While Epic has been claiming that the game is under active development, recent problems with its more popular Fortnite battle royale game appear to have impacted the MOBA with the announcement that Paragon is to be shut down this April - without ever having left beta.
'It's with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon,' Epic Games announced in the game's forum. 'We truly appreciate everything you've put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community. After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable. We didn't execute well enough to deliver on the promise of Paragon. We have failed you - despite the team’s incredibly hard work - and we're sorry.'
For those who have spent real-world cash on the game, either to access its initial paid-for test or as part of the game's microtransaction monetisation system, Epic is offering full and complete refunds across all platforms ahead of the servers being deactivated on April 26th 2018. Players seeking a refund are asked to link an Epic account if playing on console and then request a refund through the company's customer service portal.
The cancellation comes as Epic's Fortnite was hit by a weekend of instability and downtime caused, the company claims, by a 'big bump in player count [causing] a ton of issues'.