Saga of Ryzom has been through three rough years, through ups and downs, and thousands of true loyal fans, who suffered a slow and agonizing shutdown in the last month, one server at a time. Amongst the feelings of sorrow, anger and denial, the big question remains: what's next for Ryzom fans?
The only definite fact, right now, is that the original operators, GameForge France, are getting liquidated and dissected by the French government; this effectively means that existing account databases will not be revived under any other entity.
So how can a Ryzom branded MMO be brought back? That will require: negotiating the liquidators, paying off the debts, salvaging any remaining assets, and pump even more cash into a brand new setup. A fresh MMO setup will cost a rather hefty bill to cover game servers, support team, developers, billing and customer service. Although these prospects look grim, there is still hope in keeping the Ryzom legacy alive!
One of Ryzom's spawns is the OpenNeL, a next-generation MMO platform, which is available under GNU General Public License, allowing anyone from the community to develop their own games using the same tools Ryzom was built upon. OpenNeL community is going strong, after moving their servers off GameForge's servers, and continues to grow and update its engine and tools. This platform can be a starting point for a Ryzom inspired MMO, and will require a committed and dedicated team of fans to jump start.
The second, albeit more secretive, hope for Ryzom's revival is the Virtual Citizenship Association, formerly known as the Save Ryzom Campaign. VCA tried to buyout Ryzom in its bankruptcy dilemma a year ago, but conceded due to GameForge's intervention. This time around, the prospects of another entity taking over Ryzom IP are dim, and VCA admins are keeping it quite and on the low, hoping for a clean sweep at the IP with the fans' pledged donations.
Although it's not completely certain what VCA's plan will be, or if they will be able to salvage Ryzom as a whole, they do champion the idea of releasing the entire game code as open source. For now, VCA's forums are buzzing with disgruntled players asking for updates on the situation, especially with the last servers going down.
Wherever Ryzom ends up, we hope that all the effort, work and creativity that went into this memorable project doesn't fade away.