Californian studio Near Death Studios has closed its doors due to sustained money problems.
The developer was set up in 2001 after acquiring the rights to the longstanding MMO Meridian 59, and in the intervening years has focused on maintaining and updating the subscription-based PC title.
“We had hoped that Meridian 59 would be the springboard to other successes. Unfortunately, [the game] never really grew,” company co-founder Brian Green revealed on his blog, as cited by Gamasutra.
“We were lucky that we got a lot of attention for keeping an old game alive from the press,” he added, “[but] we were in a purgatory where we had enough money to keep moving forward, but not enough to really grow like we needed.”
Green admitted that the studio had been “on life-support” the past five years.
“I haven't taken a regular salary from the company in many years now. There's enough money to keep the server running and someone to do the minimum maintenance required. But, little work has been done on the game.
“The killing blow was losing our billing provider. We no longer had a credit card processor for subscriptions. We talked to another company, but after several months of false starts they told me they were dropping the project since they had sunk so much money into it without result. Which is sad, because they didn't tell me that anything was wrong until they just dropped it.
“While deciding how to handle the situation, it was decided that closing down the company was the best option.”
Meridian 59 will no longer be a commercial concern, though the game will continue to run.
Green’s blog post also touched on the trailblazing success of World Of Warcraft – indicating that Meridian 59’s subscribers had been, perhaps understandably, “cannibalised” by Blizzard’s behemoth.