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MechScape cancellation costs Jagex tens of millions

By on October 29, 2009
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It’s a brave CEO who cancels his company’s second largest project after four years of development and shortly before release.

Mechscape logo

But that’s exactly what Mark Gerhard of Jagex has done with MechScape. The new MMO from the makers of Runescape has been canned shortly before release.

When Mark was first appointed, I questioned the wisdom of moving an internal CTO up to be CEO of a company that was so dominated by the personality and thoughts of the original founder.

But this announcement suggests that I may have been wrong.

I have no particular inisght on MechScape – I’ve never seen the game and I don’t know if it was as disappointing as reports suggest.

But I do know that bringing out a successful sequel to Runescape is critical to Jagex. They need to prove that they are a scaleable business that can repeat their outstanding success otherwise they are destined to begin a slow slide into obscurity.

If MechScape was under par, it would have been an easy decision to launch it and see what the public thought. Instead, Jagex has canned it, despite tens of millions of investment, because it just isn’t good enough.

That’s a brave decision. And it shows that Mark has the courage of his convictions.

So good on them, and I wish them luck with “son-of-MechScape” or whatever it will be.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com