What Happened to Project Ragnarok's 2022 Release?
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh god, not another one.” Well, either that, or “Thank god, screw NetEase.” I feel as though either are realistically acceptable responses to this news.
Don’t get me wrong. I was excited for Project Ragnarok. Legitimately excited. It was a norse-inspired cross-platform MMORPG with an endless budget. Not the typical Chinese-themed MMOs that typically come out of China.
The single trailer released for the game initially – while in its entirety, a pre-rendered cinematic, despite the developers claiming the contrary, looked good.
The following year a full in-game trailer was released that showcased the world, flight, the combat, and the severe issues they were having with regards to FPS.
And then.. nothing. For the last year, there hasn’t been a single peep out of NetEase.
Project Ragnarok is advertised to be a “next generation AAA budget cross-platform action MMORPG” that was initially slated to be released back in 2021 – within China at least. They had expressed their interest in releasing the game Globally – that would provide them their largest return on investment after all.
A full in-game trailer was released earlier in 2021 to show off exactly how much progress had been made up until that point, and likely to reassure investors that the game’s progress was nearing completion.
However, as many interested gamers noticed while watching the trailer, this didn’t seem remotely close to being in a ready, playable state. The game had severe FPS issues. The world seemed empty. The combat didn’t look at all reminiscent of the “AAA quality” that they had been promising us.
Heck, if I’m being entirely honest with you all, Genshin Impact, Punishing Gray Raven, and the upcoming Tower of Fantasy and Wuthering Waves games have substantially better looking action combat. And their budgets are a fraction of what Project Ragnarok was touting.
Googling around, not only has there been no active communication with players or companies outside of China, but there has been none within it either.
2 years have passed since this MMO was announced, 1 year has passed since this was confirmed to be releasing, and here they are, pulling a Blue Protocol on us. The only difference being, Bandai Namco are still openly recruiting for Blue Protocol.
Back in 2021, NetEase confirmed that they would be holding an official Beta test for the game. A limited number of players would be able to pre-register for and access the version of the game they had been actively working on.
That pre-registration is.. interestingly, still open. Meaning technically, you can pre-register for the limited Beta test that was going to take place all the way back in 2021.
Reading through comments on Taptap, I’ve noticed a common theme amongst Chinese players: They hate the fact that NetEase are catering the game to us Western players.
Scrolling through, I came across comments stating that they should instead of focusing on the Nordic theme present currently, focus on “Chinese culture.” Because there aren’t already enough Chinese games with Chinese aesthetics.
Then I came across another claiming that there needs to be more Chinese elements within it. That the game doesn’t NEED Western elements.
These kinds of comments are the type of feedback NetEase are getting. They’re being told by their community that potential players found within the game’s region of origin do not like the aesthetic focus, and would rather be another Age of Wushu, Moonlight Blade, Swords of Legends, Justice Online.
Yet if history has taught us anything: It’s that every single one of these Asian-inspired games have done horrendously over in the West, and the West is a key part of NetEase’s strategy for expansion. As is the same with Tencent.
Project Ragnarok has made barely any progress over the last 2 years. If any at all. We don’t know – how could we. Their developer team is 100% uncommunicative.
One thing is for certain, though: This game is not releasing this year. This game is not releasing next year. And if it ever does release – which is doubtful at this juncture, the Chinese playerbase is not going to receive it with any type of positivity.