Wayfinder from Darksiders developer will stop playing for free and online after the split of Warframe Studio

Wayfinder, the free-to-play online action RPG from Darksiders: Genesis developer Airship Syndicate, has been reworked and re-announced as a paid single-player title following Warframe studio Digital Extremes’ decision to hand back publishing rights late last year.

Wayfinder was released in early access last August as an online fantasy action RPG with a free-to-play monetization model, similar to Warframe. This first version combined small-scale dungeon crawling for up to three players with larger open zones for 30-40 players.

However, after a difficult year – Wayfinder racked up thousands of negative Steam reviews at launch as it struggled with server issues and then faced uncertainty after Digital Extremes closed its publishing arm and handed the rights back to Airship – it has now undergone a significant overhaul.

This is what Wayfinder looked like when it was originally revealed. Watch it on YouTube

The new version of Airship, titled Wayfinder Echoes, is a paid release with no monetization and no online requirements. That’s because it’s been redesigned as a single-player game, albeit supporting optional three-player peer-to-peer co-op. “We realize this is a big shift,” the studio wrote in the announcement post, “but a necessary one to ensure the game will live forever.”

Airship claims it has “hit every major system” for the Wayfinder re-release, and these changes include “all weapons are randomly dropped with different slots, armors now have stats and are collectible, thousands of cosmetics and housing items available to collecting, the removal of the grind to get new characters, relaxed character awakening requirements, increased housing item limits, adding four difficulty levels to choose from, integrating traditional RPG talents into your progression, and much more more.

Echoes will replace the previous version of Wayfinder when it officially launches on May 31 for all existing Steam players, with a new Wayfinder (Grendel), new Hunts, and a new Overlands zone. It will then return to the store on June 11 as an early access title, priced at $24.99 USD – although that price is expected to rise with the release of 1.0 on Steam, Xbox and PlayStation this “fall”. As for the current early access PlayStation version, that will transition to Wayfinder Echoes sometime this summer, albeit only on PS5. The PS4 version is being discontinued, but there is a free upgrade to the PS5 edition for players who can take advantage of it.

“We know the road to get here hasn’t been easy and the game has had a rocky past,” Airship continued. “We also know that this was not the original game we envisioned or that our fans bought. When faced with the reality of where we are today, we saw our options as shutting down the game completely, as other online games have done before or this pivot and releasing the Echoes Update… We have ideas for additional characters and new content, and we plan to do this as players demand it and Wayfinder finds a new audience.

Airship’s announcement was met with a mixture of understanding and disappointment on the Wayfinder subreddit. There’s frustration that the originally promised and paid-for game no longer exists (last year’s early access release required players to purchase a Founder’s Pack, ranging from $19.99 to $149.99), but the community also seems sympathetic face the fate of Airship after losing Digital Extremes as publisher.

However, the response on Steam is currently a little less forgiving. Since Echoes was announced, 136 negative reviews have been posted on Wayfinder’s Steam page, compared to 39 positive reviews, resulting in a recent review being mostly negative. Airship hopes to win over those players and push the scores back into the void once Echoes launches on May 31.

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