The Culling is being culled. One of the first battle royale games on the market, The Culling originally launched into early access in 2016, just as the craze was starting to take hold. Billing itself as the first standalone battle royale game, it did rather well for itself early on, but unpopular patches and the disastrous launch of a sequel dimmed the game’s fortunes.
Developer Xaviant hit the reset button in September 2018, re-launching the game as free-to-play and reverting many of the game’s changes. That apparently wasn’t enough to keep it afloat, as Director of Operations Josh Van Veld today announced that The Culling would be shutting down on May 15.
In his letter to The Culling’s fans, Van Veld stated that despite “thousands of active daily users, the revenue was only a fraction of what our dev team required to continue daily operations.” (Steam Charts shows The Culling as not having topped 1,000 simultaneous users since September, with an average of 22.7 online in February.) All hope may not be lost, as Ven Veld appears open to selling the game to “a team out there who is interested in taking the reins from us and exploring the game’s potential.”
I never played The Culling, but watching some people stream it, I thought it was a nicely refined entry into a genre that had, up to that point, been occupied solely by rough-looking mods and tacked-on side modes (like H1Z1: King of the Kill) that lacked polish and style. That was three years ago, though. The space has changed enormously since then, and it’s tough to imagine The Culling winning back an audience, even if it does find another publisher willing to take it on.