Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
A mobile gacha game, based upon a beloved RPG franchise, drifts along for a finite amount of time until it’s no longer making investors happy, at which point the plug is pulled unceremoniously and 99.9% of us go on with our lives. The other 0.1%? They’re out thousands of bucks for what was merely a temporary sense of collectible euphoria.
The latest upcoming casualty is Arc the Lad R, the first game in the celebrated Arc the Lad series in 14 years. Released in 2018, its story retconned the events of everything set after Arc the Lad II, which is kind of a big deal seeing as there were three further titles: Arc the Lad III, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, and Arc the Lad: End of Darkness. Not to put too harsh a point on things, but I daresay the retconned trio gets the last laugh here, seeing as they will continue to be playable far beyond Arc the Lad R‘s expiration date.
While most of this is par for the course, what sticks out like a sore thumb is the fact that Arc the Lad R is presently en route to Western territories for release on iOS and Android mobile devices on May 11th. Minutiae: that’s less than two weeks away. Relevant: it’s 50 days before the game’s Japanese servers shut down forever on June 30th.
Gacha RPG players generally go into things knowing that nothing lasts forever, but there’s no worse PR for a looming overseas launch than the preemptive news that things aren’t even rosy back in the Land of the Rising Sun. Gacha is huge in Japan, but as a result it’s also fiercely competitive. Compounding matters, Arc the Lad ain’t exactly as well-known abroad as Pikachu and Mickey Mouse.
We’re not saying don’t waste your time with Arc the Lad R; maybe you’ll enjoy it while it lasts. And that’s perfectly fine! But know that the experience will almost certainly be even more fleeting than the rest of them. (Well, maybe not Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, which just celebrated its 6th anniversary. I’m beginning to suspect that game will be available well into the 22nd century.)