We’ve called it a cross between the Battle School from Ender’s Game and ultimate frisbee. We’ve called it Final Fantasy X blitzball meets VR. It made two of our Best VR Games lists — three, if you count the one I did for CNET before returning to The Verge. It convincingly sticks you into a robot body inhabiting a zero-G arena, where you have to use your wrist jets, obstacles, teammates, and even foes to catapult yourself to victory. It even became its own esport.
But now, Echo VR (née Echo Arena) is getting killed off by Meta (née Facebook). Facebook purchased its developer Ready At Dawn in 2020, after making Echo VR one of the flagship games for the Meta Quest (née Oculus Quest) and Rift S launch. Meta will not be offering any refunds on in-app purchases, in-game currency, or DLC.
In a blog post that purports to be “open and communicative,” Ready At Dawn says the reason is... well, it’s actually not providing any good reasons! “By no means was this decision made lightly. But it was made for many good reasons and chief among them is the studio coming together to focus on our next project.”
That’s it. That, and the ability to keep playing it (and its FPS counterpart Echo Combat) until August 1st, 2023 at 10AM PT, when they’ll be shutting down the servers for good. It’s also unlocking a bunch of the in-game rewards if you play a match.
It will never be clear to me why companies shut down their perfectly good games because they’ve decided they can no longer “support” them. If they’re good, keep them around! There are far worse things that Meta keeps pumping money into.
I will admit I did not play as much Echo VR as I would like, because I never could convince my friends to buy VR headsets and play VR games, and I did not enjoy playing this amazing team-based game with the foul-mouthed kids I usually found there. The foul-mouthed kid phenomenon isn’t unique to Echo VR, though, either.
I’ll see you in zero-G on August 1st, I guess? And remember: the enemy’s gate is down.