Imperator development put on indefinite hold

[UPDATE] Citing quality concerns, Mythic Entertainment shelves its sci-fi MMORPG.

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After more than three years of development, Mythic Entertainment's sci-fi-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Imperator, has been put on the shelf because of quality concerns.

"The two major issues with the game was that first, while it was fun, it was not fun! The second was with our perception that long-term stickiness of the title was not as it needed for be for 2006 and beyond," said Mark Jacobs, CEO and president of Mythic Entertainment told GameSpot.

While Imperator has not been canceled outright, the company line on the project sounds less than optimistic. "Mythic will perform an internal reassessment of the game's features and make a decision on how to proceed with development in the future."

Jacobs said that internal reassessment should be completed by the end of the year. If it doesn't turn out in Imperator's favor, the game will join a long list of promising-yet-canceled MMORPGs (Mythica, Ultima X: Online, True Fantasy Live Online). On the other hand, if Mythic does decide to resume development on Imperator, it will join an equally long list of MMORPGs to overcome lengthy delays and make it to retail (The Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Final Fantasy XI).

There are no layoffs associated with the postponement, and Jacobs says the focus for Mythic is now split between Mythic's other MMORPGs, Dark Age of Camelot and the forthcoming Warhammer game (expected in 2007), which is not to be confused with former rights-holder Climax's now-canceled Warhammer Online.

"We had two full development teams as of last week and we still have two full teams as of this morning," Jacobs said. "We are going at full-speed for both the existing Dark Age of Camelot series and the first of what we believe will be another long-term franchise for us, Warhammer."

Mythic had planned on establishing a European publishing office in connection with the release of Imperator, but those plans have now been pushed back until the release of the company's Warhammer game.

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