While this news isn’t about the Gravity Rush franchise, SIE Japan Asia’s announcement that they will be shutting down the online server for Demon’s Souls is nonetheless relevant for us. After all, Gravity Rush 2‘s asynchronous multiplayer elements are similar to those of Demon’s Souls. Both are mostly single player games at their core, but use the online elements to enhance the experience and allow other players online to have an impact on another player’s progress (although unlike Gravity Rush 2, Demon’s Souls does have an actual online multiplayer mode). In both cases, SIE Japan Asia handled the online servers. And now both are being shut down early 2018.
To see them shut down Demon’s Souls servers now, after a total of 9 years, seems perhaps a bit suspect in light of the impending closure of Gravity Rush 2‘s online servers. What’s also interesting here is that, as pointed out by Gematsu, Atlus U.S.A. runs Demon’s Soul’s servers in North America and Europe, and they have not yet announced any plans to take them down. In fact, Atlus has this to say way back in 2012, when they extended the online server support beyond its initially planned scope of two years:
“While it comes at significant cost to us and although it has been over two years since the game revolutionized the notion of multiplayer and online functionality in an RPG,” commented Aram Jabbari, Manager of PR and Sales at ATLUS, “Our commitment to the game and the fans that turned it into an incredible success remains as strong as ever. While the reality is that one day the servers will ultimately close due to operation and maintenance costs, that day is not today, nor will it be this year. We’re excited to continue to support one of the most significant, influential games in recent memory into its third year, and we’re planning to hold more tendency events for our loyal, beloved fans.
It’s worth noting that Atlus is not a large company, and already ran the servers even before they were taken over by SEGA.
It begs the question if Gravity Rush 2‘s online servers are being taken down as part of cost-cutting measures at SIE Japan Asia. Regardless, this news highlights just how fast Sony is cutting its support for Gravity Rush 2, a game that is nonetheless a first party title. Unlike Demon’s Souls, Gravity Rush 2 doesn’t even have a more complicated real time co-op mode, everything is truly asynchronous. While it seems doubtful that we’ll get an answer as to why exactly Gravity Rush 2‘s servers are going down so soon, I’m nonetheless attempting to reach out to Sony in various ways to see if we can get a response.