Posted inGames / WTF?

Vanguard: Saga of Zeroes

It’s something of an understatement to say that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is a game that failed to live up to its high expectations.

Even prior to release, the game suffered from some “old school” (i.e. outdated) design choices and insanely high system requirements. However I believe the main reason Vanguard crashed and burned is beta testing, which the game desperately needs six more months of. It was rushed out the door buggy with a humongous but mostly empty gameworld. Unfortunately, the state of the game has lead to real-life repercussions for the employees at Sigil, who developed the game.

From a couple days ago…

Sigil employees were told to meet outside. At which point they were terminated. On the spot.

More details came the next day in this announcement from John Smedley, President Sony Online Entertainment…

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

The Grouchy Gamer has details on how the game might’ve arrived at its current state…

Brad McQuaid has been an absentee manager at Sigil for months. Not only has there been a leadership vacuum at Sigil, with the employees there left twisting in the wind, but I have been able to confirm that Brad hasn’t even bothered to be at the office.

Since last year.

And finally, we get some dirt in a candid and fascinating interview with one of the disillusioned Sigil developers…

What people don’t understand, is the game that went out the door was literally created in the last 15 months. Design worked 12-18 hour days for 9+ months. Coding and Art worked insane hours as well, all trying to actually get something playable out the door.

And also… How was QA treated through the course of development?

Ex-Sigil: QA? QA.

Ex-Sigil: QA was one person up until about November… ONE. What.

Ex-Sigil: 100% serious. What? How? This is an MMOG.

Ex-Sigil: Vanguard had one internal tester for probably 95% of the design cycle.

Unbelievable. My best wishes go out to all of the once and future Vanguard developers.