Chances are, if you’re both a gamer and a Gundam fan, you may have heard of or even played Gundam Evolution. This online first-person team shooter, described as Bandai Namco’s answer to Blizzard’s Overwatch 2, appears to be entering its final leg, not even a year after its September 20, 2022, launch on Steam. As revealed in a July 19 blog post by executive producer Kazuya Maruyama, it was announced that the game will end on November 29, 2023, at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
Maruyama doesn’t divulge any specific reasons why the game had to be shut down. Nonetheless, in addition to promises about the game’s final updates, he makes the following remarks, which come across as both apologetic and gracious to fans for sticking with the game:
We wanted to create a title that brought FPS fans and Gundam fans together. We challenged ourselves to create an authentic Gundam FPS game that could be played globally. Unfortunately, we have determined that it is no longer possible for us to provide a service that satisfies our players.
We want to express our gratitude to everyone who has played the game and supported us to this point. At the same time, we would like to sincerely apologize to our fans and players.
While Gundam Evolution itself is, by all accounts, fun, the Steam DB entry (as of this writing) paints a more sobering picture. From an all-time peak of 56,911 active players ten months ago, it would be lucky to reach 400, let alone the monthly peak of 688, on an average night. Its over twenty thousand Steam reviews, of which only roughly 52% are positive, consistently bring up myriad issues. These range from lacking balance and the time needed to unlock new Mobile Suits to networking problems and the in-game monetization seen as excessive.
Moreover, as Dexerto noted, the console releases were not only released two months later, on November 30, 2022, but also staggered based on region, with nearly no marketing compared to the PC version. Then, there are Overwatch 2‘s frequent updates that year, which prioritized competitive play and seemingly laid the foundations for a planned PvE mode, which stole consumers’ interest further away from Namco Bandai’s foray. Thus, it doesn’t take long before you can guess why Gundam Evolution is shutting down so soon.
Which is a shame. When everything works as intended, the game can be addicting and fast-paced, capturing the thrill of piloting Mobile Suits with their own distinct quirks. Meanwhile, the fallout of Overwatch 2‘s production and PR woes by May 2023, and Activision Blizzard’s ill-timed attempts at damage control, could have served as a window of opportunity for the developers to exploit. Alas, time and technical issues were not on their side.
What next for Gundam Evolution?
This isn’t to say that all production is coming to an end. Those final updates mentioned by Maruyama in the blog post aren’t just technical tweaks or under-the-hood patches. From easing the death of microtransaction-based elements to introducing new maps and playable Mobile Suits, the developers seem to give the remaining player base as much as possible. Whether that means Gundam Evolution will go out with a bang, or a whimper, however, remains to be seen.
What are your thoughts on Gundam Evolution and how it’s shutting down? While you’re here, though, feel free to check out J-List‘s own collection of Gundam goodies. Now, with the August 2023 edition of Newtype Magazine, featuring none other than the lead heroines of The Witch From Mercury, available from Japan!