Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has been the hope for fans of PvE MMORPGs for 9 years, that a western team would once again build something like Everquest or Vanguard. But after 9 years in development, the graphics looked very dusty. They want to change that. The team shows its new graphics in a new trailer. The reactions are only restrained.
This is the idea of Pantheon:
- The MMORPG Pantheon was the brainchild of Brad McQuaid, a game developer who worked on Everquest and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. The game was announced in 2014 and has been in pre-alpha since December 2017.
- Pantheon should take the spirit of Everquest into a new era: To become a hardcore PvE MMORPG, where you have to proceed in a planned way and in a group, not just run through it like through modern WoW. The game advertises an open world in which you can climb almost any surface. In addition, it should be possible to find details and clues in the world via the “perception system”, and even change the world via unique skills.
- But Brad McQuad passed away at 50 in 2019, and his heirs now carry the game forward.
Table of Contents
MMORPG shows new graphics to reach more players
This is the developers’ plan: The team has identified the graphics and art style as the weak point of the MMORPG. The style of the graphics and the general look of the MMORPG would have seemed outdated and off-putting to many observers. Therefore, Visionary Realms has decided to change the graphics style.
In the Producer Letter from August, which we reported on MeinMMO, they presented this decision. Now, in September 2023, they show the changes in a 5-minute video on YouTube.
Graphic style should be timeless, look fresh for years to come
Creative Director, Chris Perkins, explains the thinking behind the new graphics:
Originally Pantheon relied heavily on assets from Unity, they didn’t even have much of a chance to think about how the game wanted to look once, but were then on that path.
Now they took the time to think carefully about how Pantheon should look and set as goals that the game should look as realistic and good as the established competition, but also run smoothly. As a result, they ended up with a “hand-drawn style”.
New graphic style already accelerates development
Director Benjamin Dean adds: Pantheon should have its own identity, but one that is timeless and can last for years. With the new style, one can be sure that even a small team can build a whole world. Since the decision was made in favor of the new style, development has been much faster.
The team believes it will be able to appeal to more players from different demographics with the new art style.
Fans seem rather disillusioned and disappointed after such a long time
What are the reactions? Pantheon suffers from the problem of many indie MMORPGs: The games are created without external backers and must try to attract a community early on: They are then supposed to fund and promote the game. In the case of Pantheon, the crowdfunding failed in 2014 and they then had to rely on an investor to start development.
Crowdfunding studios go public with MMORPGs that are decades away from release. At the time of the presentation, these projects exist only on paper and in the minds of the developers.
For players, it then seems as if the MMORPGs have been in development forever and little is happening. During the development period, players are fed concept art and unctuous visions of how the MMORPG should be.
During these years, fans often imagine what a fanatical MMORPG this will be that will completely blow away all existing MMORPGs like ESO or WoW when it comes out.
But when the developers get back to us after 8 years with something “tangible”, a first trailer or gameplay images, many are disappointed to see how little the game has progressed and that it is not as great as advertised.
Ultimately, Pantheon is an indie MMORPG that is being developed by a small team. Those who expect a new WoW will inevitably be disappointed.
Fans are therefore rather critical of the video. They say that after such a long time, they simply expected more.
A commentary on YouTube sums up the voice of these fans well (via youtube):
So I’ve been waiting for this game for almost a decade now (was a hardcore Everquest soieler back in the day), but it’s really hard to look at. Unfortunately, I don’t think the game is coming out anytime soon and when it does, it won’t be anywhere near what we imagined years ago.
The dream of Pantheon had already really burst in March 2023. The reaction to the first gameplay had probably made the graphical revision necessary:
New MMORPG was considered the great PvE hope for 8 years – But the new gameplay looks terrible