Mavericks: Proving Grounds was a viral hit when it was first announced back in 2017, establishing itself as a 1,000 player tactical shooter at a time when battle royale games were really starting to take off in a big way.
We spoke to UK developer Automaton Games at GDC 2018 and managed to play a (very) early build of the game. It was clear that the passionate team had incredibly high hopes for the project, promising fully destructible environments, a 400 player PvP mode, a massive 12km by 12km map, a dynamic weather system, and more all powered by SpatialOS.
While we had our doubts, it all seemed incredibly ambitious – maybe a little too ambitious. In spite of this, there was reason enough to be excited.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Mavericks was capable of delivering on the ambitious promises made by Automaton, as the developer has now announced that it’s fallen into insolvency and halted all work on the project as a result.
A statement on the Automaton website reads:
Please be advised that due to insufficient funding, the development of the Mavericks: Proving Grounds game has now ceased. The joint administrators are in the process of licensing the Deceit game so there will be no change in the live operation and provision of this game.
Automaton released a new patch and kicked off a new alpha testing session for Mavericks last week, so it’s genuinely surprising and more than a little disappointing to see what could have been an incredible game cut down before it had a chance to get going.
It’s unclear whether or not Mavericks could live on under another developer, but I’d imagine such a decision would be based on multiple factors, including who legally owns the rights to the game and whether or not it makes financial sense to continue funding the project. Regardless, I’d like to wish the best of luck to those who’ve been affected by the administration process.
Mavericks is actually the second MMO powered by SpatialOS to shut down this year. Worlds Adrift, an ambitious fantasy airship sandbox game from Bossa Studios closed its doors in May following a fairly muted response from players.
Meanwhile, Midwinter Entertainment is using SpatialOS to develop its promising “co-opetition” title Scavengers. The developer is currently on track for the scheduled playtests later this year, so hopefully it can avoid the same fate as Mavericks and Worlds Adrift.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.