Ace of Spades (video game)

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Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades.png
Developer(s)Jagex
Publisher(s)Jagex
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release
  • Microsoft Windows
  • 12 December 2012
  • OS X
  • 16 May 2013
Genre(s)First-person shooter, sandbox
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Ace of Spades was a team-based first-person shooter and voxel-based sandbox video game developed and published by Jagex. Originally created by Ben Aksoy and released as a prototype in April 2011, the game was acquired by Jagex in 2012 and fully released in December that year. Following poor reception and several minor downloadable content package releases, the game was shut down in March 2019.

Development[edit]

Ben Aksoy prototype[edit]

Ace of Spades was originally developed by Ben Aksoy.[1] The first of version of the game, Beta 0.1, was released on 4 April 2011,[2] and was available for Microsoft Windows.[3] This version of the game played as a 16-versus-16 team-based first-person shooter with a capture the flag game mode, in which players were to obtain the opposing team's intelligence briefcase and return it to the own team's base.[3] Due its use of voxel-based graphics and emphasis on block-building techniques aside from gunplay, it was quickly labelled as "Minecraft with rifles".[4][5] The gunplay itself was compared to that of Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45.[6] Ace of Spades was received well, despite its early and unfinished state, and was listed amongst Kotaku's "Best Indie Games of 2011" list and PC Gamer's April 2011 "Best Free PC Games" list.[7][8] As of November 2012, the beta of Ace of Spades had been installed 2.5 million times and had roughly 550,000 monthly active users.[9][10]

Jagex version[edit]

Around 2012, Ace of Spades was acquired by British developer Jagex, which had previously started creating a new version of the game in mid-2011.[1] Aksoy was reported to have agreed to the deal due to his critical financial state at the time, though was subsequently offered a position in Jagex' Cambridge headquarters.[11] He continued working on the game from Jagex' offices until late 2012, when his laptop was physically damaged by one of the company's system administrators.[11] According to a former developer for Ace of Spades, who held a Reddit AMA on the topic, Jagex provided work-for-hire developer Blitz Games with Aksoy's code in November 2012, asking for it to be rewritten within eight weeks to meet the Christmas 2012 deadline.[11] Jagex themselves stated that they had worked with "a handful of indie developers" to have the game finished in time.[12] The remade Ace of Spades was announced by Jagex on 1 November 2012, with a tentative release date set for the following month.[13] The game was to be released for Microsoft Windows via the Steam digital distribution platform.[14] On 5 December 2012, the release date was formalised to 12 December.[15] Pre-registrations for the game were launched alongside, and by 11 December, one day before the release, Jagex reported that 500,000 users had pre-registered for the game.[16][17] Ace of Spades' launch trailer, released alongside the game itself, highlighted the characteristics of the game's new characters.[18][19] In reference to the game's title, the trailer also featured Motörhead's eponymous 1980 song, "Ace of Spades".[20][21] Unlike previous games released by Jagex, such as RuneScape, Ace of Spades was not released in a free-to-play model and was instead provided as a one-off purchase costing US$9.99,[22] described as a "small one-off fee".[23] Mark Gerhard, chief executive officer of Jagex at the time, explained that this was "what's right for the game".[24]

Shortly following the release, on 21 December, Ace of Spades was updated with free downloadable content (DLC) containing four new maps, a new weapon and the reintroduction of the capture the flag game mode.[25] On 24 January 2013, Jagex released, alongside other new content, the "Classic Mode" that aimed to play similarly to the 2011 prototype of the game.[26] On Valentine's Day on 14 February 2013, the game received its first paid DLC package, named St. Valentine's Day Massacre, which introduced a new "VIP mode" wherein teams defended one randomly chosen players of their own team while trying to defeat that of the other team's.[27][28] A port of Ace of Spades to OS X was released on 16 May 2013.[29] As means of promotion, the game received a "free weekend", through which people could play the full game for a limited time, and overall offered at half-price.[30] On 2 October 2013, the game received a native map editor which could be used to produce maps shared through the Steam Workshop.[31] Alongside this update, the previously paid St. Valentine's Day Massacre DLC was made available for free.[31] Following onto the map editor integration, the game was updated with a custom, 24-player mode wherein players could build maps within a limited time.[32] To reflect the new mode, the game was rebranded as Ace of Spades: Battle Builder.[32] A second paid DLC package, Hurt + Heal, was released on 8 December 2015 and introduced two new character classes, as well as one new weapon for each of the four previous classes.[33]

Closure[edit]

On 3 April 2018, Jagex announced that Ace of Spades would be discontinued.[34] The game was taken off sale immediately, while dedicated game servers were to stay online through 3 July.[34] However, on 2 July, Jagex stated that Ace of Spades' shutdown would be postponed as they considered alternative futures for the game.[35] Considering an open-source release, the company reviewed the game's codebase, but finally decided to retire the game.[36] Jagex clarified on 1 March 2019 that an open-source release would pose "potential technical, legal and licensing implications", and that the game's servers would be shut down on 6 March.[36]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic49/100[37]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid5/10[38]
IGN5.9/10[39]
PC Gamer (US)45/100[40]

The Jagex release of Ace of Spades received "generally unfavorable" reviews, according to review aggregator website Metacritic.[37]

Successor[edit]

On 20 November 2014, Jagex announced Block N Load as a free-to-play successor to Ace of Spades.[41] Block N Load's developed stemmed from Alex Horton, chief creative officer at Jagex at the time, who acknowledged that Ace of Spades was not "launched well", because of which he asked Jagex' board to create a new title in the same genre.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rose, Mike. "How Ace of Spades gave Jagex a lesson in community management". gamasutra.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ "AoS Beta 0.1 Released » Ace of Spades". archive.org. 2 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Ace of Spades Is Minecraft With Guns". Wired. 18 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Another FPS Minecraft Clone: Ace of Spades". gamerant.com. 18 April 2011. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. ^ "GameSetWatch Ace Of Spades Brings Team-Based FPS To Minecraft". www.gamesetwatch.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  6. ^ "10 Reasons You Need To Play Ace Of Spades". rockpapershotgun.com. 13 April 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  7. ^ Fahey, Mike. "These Are the Best Indie Games of 2011". kotaku.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  8. ^ "April's best free PC games". pcgamer.com. 28 April 2011. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Ace of Spades is the next game from RuneScape developer Jagex". vg247.com. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Ace of Spades aims to be a Minecraft FPS". polygon.com. November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Ace of Spades [PC – OpenGL Build Alpha / Beta]". unseen64.net. 5 December 2016. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Jagex announce Ace of Spades for Steam: the competitive FPS that combines Minecraft and Team Fortress 2". pcgamesn.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Jagex Announce Sandbox Shooter: Ace Of Spades". rockpapershotgun.com. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Minecraft-esque shooter Ace of Spades expands, marches for Steam". pcgamer.com. November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Ace Of Spades Out 9 Days Before End Of World". rockpapershotgun.com. 5 December 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Ace of Spades release date set for next week; promises a "hectic, destructive, intelligent and tactical form of gameplay which can't be found anywhere else."". pcgamesn.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Ace of Spades launches tomorrow, 500,000 users have pre-registered". vg247.com. 11 December 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Ace of Spades launch trailer puts the Minecraft/FPS mashup in motion". polygon.com. 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  19. ^ "'Ace of Spades' launches on Steam". digitalspy.com. 12 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Destroy everything: Ace of Spades launches on Steam". destructoid.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Ace of Spades launch trailer". vg247.com. 14 December 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  22. ^ MacDonald, Keza (5 December 2012). "Ace of Spades Release Date Announced". ign.com. Archived from the original on 3 November 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Minecraft-style FPS Ace of Spades due December". eurogamer.net. November 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  24. ^ Rose, Mike. "How Jagex plans to entice new players into its 12-year-old MMO". gamasutra.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Ace of Spades gets free winter downloadable content". destructoid.com. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Free Ace of Spades 'Classic mode' channels alpha version". destructoid.com. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Ace of Spades St. Valentine's Day Massacre DLC lands on Steam today". vg247.com. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Ace of Spades celebrating Valentine's Day with Tommy Guns". polygon.com. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Ace of Spades :: The Mac OSX Version Has Landed!". steamcommunity.com. 16 May 2013. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Ace of Spades free to try this weekend, available for half price". polygon.com. 15 March 2013. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Ace of Spades update adds map editor and Steam Workshop integration". pcgamesn.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  32. ^ a b "RuneScape studio launches customizable map creator Ace of Spades: Battle Builder". polygon.com. 16 October 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Ace of Spades :: Introducing the Hurt + Heal DLC Pack". steamcommunity.com. 8 December 2015.
  34. ^ a b "Ace of Spades Closure :: Ace of Spades General Discussions". steamcommunity.com. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  35. ^ "Ace of Spades' Future :: Ace of Spades General Discussions". steamcommunity.com.
  36. ^ a b "Ace of Spades' Future – Update :: Ace of Spades General Discussions". steamcommunity.com.
  37. ^ a b "Ace of Spades". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  38. ^ "Review: Ace of Spades". destructoid.com. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  39. ^ Johnson, Leif (4 January 2013). "Ace of Spades Review". ign.com. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Ace of Spades review". pcgamer.com. 9 February 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  41. ^ "Block N Load trailer shows off Jagex's Ace of Spades successor". pcgamesn.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  42. ^ "Block N Load is built for: "f***ing mental online trolling"". pcgamer.com. 20 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.