Remember The Repopulation? It first debuted on Kickstarter in 2012 as a concept for a sci-fi-themed sandbox MMO in the tradition of Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxy where it raised over $200,000. Developer Above & Beyond launched the game on Steam Early Access in late 2014. The game was developed on Idea Fabrik’s Hero Engine, an MMO-focused development framework. Hero Engine has a pricing model of 30% of all sales, and the lack of an upfront cost for licensing likely played a role in the selection of this engine.
However, The Repopulation was plagued by server issues, delayed bug fixes, and ultimately, a contract dispute between the game developer and the engine owner that led to the Alpha servers shutting down on 23 December 2015 and a stop to development in early 2016. Above & Beyond started work on a second title, Fragmented, in order to finance porting over The Repopulation to Unreal Engine which would have allowed them to host the game on their own. However, these plans did not work out and they ended up selling The Repopulation to Idea Fabrik in early 2017.
Yesterday, Idea Fabrik announced that the servers are now online again, with plans to deploy an update later this month and relaunch the game on Steam. On the plus side, we get to explore the world of The Repopulation with its intricate crafting and building system once more. On the other hand we are talking about a game that has, essentially, not been touched since the servers went offline and is now under new management, possibly lacking the direction and vision that has attracted players to TR in the first place. Yet, while some of the game’s backers are distrustful of Idea Fabrik taking control, others are more positive, not least because of the suggestion that TR would be a much-needed income stream for Idea Fabrik who have struggled in the past.
Myself, I will be cautiously following the progress of The Repopulation and might dip my toe back in once Idea Fabrik showed that they have the potential to, excuse the pun, repopulate the game. My first forays back in 2014 showed a game with potential that was very decidedly still in the Alpha, so we will see what comes of the new management. You can check out The Repopulation here.