StarPeace (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Monte Cristo Multimedia (2000 launch)
Oceanus Communications (2001 launch)
Sega (2003 launch)
Pugland (2005 launch)
SPO Team (2008 launch)
|Release date(s)||December, 2000 (EU)
March, 2001 Worldwide
June 16, 2003 as Legacy Online
|Genre(s)||MMORTS, City-building game|
StarPeace is an open-ended online city-building computer game, in which thousands of players build and develop a large inhabitable world. Similar in many ways to SimCity 4, one major difference being StarPeace is fully online, and players compete against each other to build industrial, residential, retail markets, and more on a single planet, making sure to gain a steady income in which to fund their future expansion. Similar to other Sim games, there is no definite end. The planet continues to grow in a continuously evolving state as each player adds more buildings to it. Each player can choose between a large selection of planets on which to play.
The game was developed by Oceanus Communications, and originally published and released by Monte Cristo Multimedia in 2000. Despite good reviews and a dedicated fan community, it turned out to be a commercial disaster. While Monte Cristo managed to sell 50,000 copies to its distributors, less than a thousand games were sold to final customers in Europe. Additionally, the complex economic nature of the game required much higher server power per user than MMORPGs. Monte Cristo's investors believed in the potential of MMOs, therefore, the company prepared infrastructures to welcome tens of thousands of users. At launch time (December 2000), Monte Cristo were facing humongous hosting and customer service costs.
Monte Cristo needed 20,000 users just to cover its hosting costs, but one month after the launch, it had just over 500 subscribers. It then tried to disengage from its relationship with Oceanus, who, incidentally, never agreed with the expensive hosting and e-commerce strategy. In March 2001, the two came to an agreement. Oceanus got to keep the rights on the game and would be hosting it themselves for the next year. Eventually, the developers at Oceanus showed their stuff at E3 2002 hoping to gain a new publisher. They caught the eye of video game giants Sega, who quickly became very interested in the game.
By late 2002, Sega became its new official publisher, and also took over development of the game. They changed the name of the game to "Legacy Online", and re-released it as a free-download subscription based game. Players no longer needed to buy the game, but a subscription of $10 per month was required. There were quite a lot of problems with Sega's administration of the game, with users often complaining about login issues, server issues, or other such incidences on the new client and updates. It seems Sega themselves were having a lot of problems setting the game on their own servers, and making the necessary changes to the client. In 2003, the game (and the website, and server access) disappeared into thin air. It seemed Sega has ceased to host and develop the game due to too many technical difficulties and not enough interest.
In April 2004 (after nearly a year of being down), Three fans named Puggy and MStar/Tomp ("Pugland Games" and "Kiones/Imaedia Ltd." respectively) approached Oceanus Communications (the original developer and owner) asking for permission to re-release StarPeace. Since Oceanus was not doing anything with it, they gave a copy of the code to each of them, along with the rights to use. Puggy eventually launched a short lived revival of the game. It ended shortly after, with Puggy ending all involvement with the game. MStar attempted to find a coder to work on his version of the project, but ultimately failed. With the disappearance of Puggy. Some player help to restart the game "Starpeace online".
There was also a development of StarPeace by Imaedia Ltd, A UK based development company. The project was named Beyond Earth : Return of the Tycoons. The company was known to be planning a full new launch of the game in 2005, But there has been no news for some time.
As of the summer of 2007 StarPeace was not online and there were no known plans to re-host it by anyone. There was a desire to see the game become open-source in the same fashion as Subspace (now known as Continuum).
As of March 2008 an open-source project was created for StarPeace. As of July 2008 Puggy restarted Starpeace on a new server. Currently there are a couple of free worlds being hosted, Valrona and Zorcon, with a number of subscriber only planets.
During early 2007, in issue #2 of MASSIVE Magazine (now called MMO Games Magazine), StarPeace was mentioned in a monthly running article called "The List" which keeps track of all MMOs currently live, in Beta, or in development. Included was a link to Pugland's website under the "In Beta" category (which is incorrect as the game is not in beta) with the text "Once called Legacy online; fans resurrected it from death.", which is also incorrect as the game was originally called StarPeace before Sega changed it to Legacy Online. StarPeace also managed to get a return mention in issue #3 of the magazine in the same section. MMO Games Magazine and its sister publication Computer Games Magazine have since shutdown and been discontinued due to a lawsuit.