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Nintendo is closing servers for Devil's Third

Nintendo will take Devil's Third offline at the end of this calendar year, less than a year after the long in development game was finally released.

Valhalla Game Studios first and, so far, only game launched as a Wii U exclusive in Japan, Europe and Australia in August 2015, with a US launch following in December of the same year. However, despite its relatively short time on the market, Nintendo has decided to "discontinue the online multiplayer service" on December 28, 2016.

Nintendo will also cease selling the in-game currency, Golden Eggs, on June 27, 2016. The price of the game on the the Wii U eShop has been cut from $60/€60/50/7,236 to $30/€30/25/3,618, presumably in recognition of the impact that the end of Devil's Third's multiplayer will have on its value to the consumer.

"We are deeply thankful for all the players who have enjoyed Devil's Third online multiplayer service, and thank you for your understanding regarding this decision," Nintendo said in an official statement. However, the mention of "understanding" is striking, as no proper explanation was offered for the decision to take it offline.

Of course, the most likely reason is a lack of interest. Devil's Third received a mix of middling and negative reviews at the time of its initial launch, accruing a Metacritic average of 43 overall. The fact that it arrived at a time when Nintendo was already talking about the successor to its faltering Wii U didn't help its cause, either.

In truth, though, the signs that Devil's Third was likely to struggle were present long before its release. Valhalla Game Studios was founded by Tomonobu Itagaki, creator of the Dead of Alive and Ninja Gaiden franchises, in 2009, when Devil's Third was greenlit by THQ. It was originally slated for release in 2013, with Itagaki telling the press in 2012, "I've made more than 30 games, and if you put a little bit more [money] into the one I'm making now, Devil's Third, I could make all of the 30 games I made before."

Three months after Itagaki made that statement, THQ decided to drop the project due to its "profitability profile" failing to meet internal standards. The IP rights were returned to Valhalla in July 2012, with the game still unfinished and no new publisher lined up to handle its release. Six months later, THQ's remaining assets were being sold at a bankruptcy auction.

The exclusivity deal with Nintendo in June 2014 finally allowed Devil's Third to emerge from almost two years in the wilderness. No official sales figures for the game have ever been released.

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