It only seemed like less than two weeks ago Ryzom communities celebrated it's 3rd Anniversary, only to be faced with yet another announcement of bankruptcy, in less than 10 months by the new owners GameForge.
Back when the the original developer of Ryzom, now defunct Nevrax France, announced it's bankruptcy and liquidation of assets, the European media took much interest in this news especially after a grassroot effort, titled The Free Ryzom Campaign, was launched through Ryzom.org site in order to buy the MMO.
In a surprising turn of events, the community donated close to 200k but fell short of the asking price, which was paid by GameForge, a German based online gaming company, which pitched in following the big media coverage of these events.
The Free Ryzom Campaign, after seeing it's goal in rescuing Ryzom from shutdown fulfilled by GameForge, they kept the donations and evolved into the Virtual Citizenship Association (VCA) seeking new grounds by debating possible projects with the donated capital.
Now, with the renewed threat to shutdown the world of Atys, GameForge France stressed that the liquidation process is more serious this time with no plans for continuation following the three weeks ultimatum. Unlike the previous bankruptcy, if no entity will step forward to purchase Ryzom, the game will effectively shutdown permanently and all assets will be acquired by the government liquidators.
As dark as this might seem to all Ryzom fans, there is still hope of revival, namely VCA which might step in yet again to save Ryzom. VCA initiator and site admin Xavier Antoviaque stated in a post today that the group is already in negotiations and researching hosting options:
Yup, we have been following the issue, and are currently talking to the liquidator and our lawyers about the new liquidation. We need to have some things cleared out (lists of the assets being sold, in which conditions, etc.); if everything is in order, we'll probably make a new bid.
...Originally we planned to stick with Jolt until we could move the servers to a better place, but we'd have to move quicker this time. For two reasons: this is directly hosted on GF DE servers now, and this is an immediate liquidation, not a liquidation with continuation like the last time (which means all employees are laid of immediately and there is no legal guarantee that the service will stay alive until a new company buys it.
If VCA pulls through with Ryzom in its pocket, it will mark a gaming milestone for a community-driven grassroot effort saving it's own MMO. We'll keep you updated as this story develops, and for now check this video from the recent 3rd Anniversary celebration on Atys!