While we’re all still digesting the news from this year’s E3, let’s all go back in time a decade, to E3 2009. This idea came to me by accident, as I did a Google search for “free-to-play E3” in the attempt to find more current news. That sparked off a nostalgia ride that had me going, “Was that really 10 years ago?” It was, so time travel with me back to a time to June 2009, back before this website existed and even before Dungeons & Dragons Online went free-to-play and kicked off the trend among Western MMORPGs.
In my initials search, I came across the debut of new company Trion World Network and its unveiling of two of its upcoming games: Heroes of Telara and an unnamed sci-fi “MMOAPRG” that seemingly has ties to a series being worked on by Sci-Fi. Those are, obviously, Rift and Defiance, which are both still alive today, having survived their launches in 2011 and 2013, respectively, and their later conversions to free-to-play.
On the less-successful front, we have Global Agenda, which was also shown off for the first time at E3 2009. The MMO shooter was the first entry from a little company called Hi-Rez Studios, and while it didn’t exactly light the world on fire, it did pave the way for the developer to make bigger and better things later on.
Meanwhile, a couple of other MMORPGs were revealed for the first time, in shiny trailer form, at E3 2009. Ever heard of these two?
It’s worth noting that, despite their big budgets and big hype, both “failed” out of the gates. Star Wars: The Old Republic was forced to go free-to-play in less than a year (and was also the subject of another “10 Years Ago” article), while Final Fantasy XIV bombed so badly that Square Enix pulled the game out of circulation entirely and remade it into the better-received A Realm Reborn.
And then there was … this odd bit of MMO news. I don’t think it ever came into being, but a lot was going on back then, so maybe I missed it.
Ten years from now, will we look back at E3 2019 with the same sense of wonder after Roller Champions becomes the biggest hit of the 2020s or CrossFire X becomes the #1 shooter — or maybe, in 2029, Phantasy Star Online 2 still hasn’t come out? Maybe not, and I’m not in the business of making predictions that far out but hey, I have to tease Magicman about that at least a few more times before all is said and done, right?