Typically, when a game shuts down, all the intellectual property rights get stuffed into a vault, all of the assets get locked away, and all of the source code gets buried under legalese. What rarely ever happens is that the assets and content are handed out to the community for free. Well, Epic decided to buck the trend and hand out the assets for Paragon for free.
Ars Technica is reporting that for Paragon's closure, Epic is doing something epic for the fandom: it's giving away assets for the game for free.
Epic released thousands of stock assets from Paragon, for free. This includes textures, meshes, animations, visual effects, dialogue snippets, and even environmental components.
This comes after Epic Games announced that it would be shutting down Paragon, the MOBA-style third-person action game. Instead of locking all the content away behind an IP vault, Epic decided to reward the game development community by giving away all of the content for free on the Unreal Engine marketplace.
If you're thinking "Wow, Epic is giving up a lot of money!" it's not really like that at all. Epic has been focused on Fortnite, which has become a financial powerhouse in its own right. Trying to nickel and dime revenue out of Paragon turned out to be a futile effort, and even Epic admitted that the team just wasn't putting in the time for maintaining and developing the game, and the user audience wasn't there to justify the need for investing resources into the game.
The servers for Paragon will be shutting down in April, and Ars Technica is reporting that Epic spent $12 million developing the game over the course of nearly two years.
If the $12 million sounds like a lot, it's about par the course for Epic's spending on games. The company spent $10 million developing Gears of War and the Unreal Engine 3 12 years ago. So $12 million for a game like Paragon isn't too far outside the realm of expectancy. Also, Fortnite's popularity most certainly offsets whatever was invested into Paragon, in addition to what revenue Paragon generated during its operation.
Epic giving away the assets of Paragon for free is definitely a huge thing for the development community. It gives novice developers a lot of high-quality AAA-style assets to comb over and examine, while also offering small time studios an opportunity to help get first-time projects off the ground with the help of using assets from the MOBA.
I'm sure a lot of gamers wish other game companies did the same thing for MMOs and online-only titles shutting down. Some gamers continue to beg NCSoft for the server code for Tabula Rasa, which has been defunct for almost a decade, but NCSoft refuses.
Thankfully, Paragon can still live on as a community project, not unlike what id Software did with the DOOM source code from way back in the day. Maybe we'll see some indie studios completely rebuild Paragon from the ground up and re-release as a free-to-play title.