Fortnite developer Epic Games announced today that it will no longer provide online service or servers for 17 older games, including six from the Unreal series dating back as far as 1998, and it will end access to some additional games entirely. The shutdowns are already starting to be enacted, but won’t be completed until January 24, 2023.
According to its announcement blog post, Epic described its decision to quit servicing some online games as part of its move toward “solely [supporting] Epic Online Services with its unified friends system, voice chat features, parental controls, and parental verification features.” Epic did not immediately return Kotaku’s request for comment.
The full list of affected games is as follows:
- 1000 Tiny Claws
- Dance Central 1
- Dance Central 2
- Dance Central 3 (Epic notes that Dance Central VR online multiplayer “will remain available”)
- Green Day: Rock Band
- Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
- Rock Band 1
- Rock Band 2
- Rock Band 3 (Epic notes that Rock Band 4 online multiplayer “will remain available”)
- The Beatles: Rock Band
- Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
- Unreal Gold
- Unreal II: The Awakening
- Unreal Tournament 2003
- Unreal Tournament 2004
- Unreal Tournament 3 (Epic notes that it has “plans to bring back online features via Epic Online Services in the future.”)
- Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition
Though Unreal Tournament 3 has already been removed from Steam, its description seems to have been recently updated to reflect Epic’s future plans. It’s now listed as a free-to-play shooter with crossplay between Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG accounts, and “no microtransactions and no strings attached,” the description says.
On top of changing online service, Epic wrote that it has already removed Mac and Linux versions of bird dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend, first released in 2011, Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star, and mobile game DropMix, only five years old, from digital storefronts. As of writing, though, the former two are still available on Steam.
And the last Band-Aid: though you can play those previous games if you own them, Epic is performing a few total shutdowns. Players will lose access to the following titles on their specified removal dates:
- Battle Breakers on December 30 (“We will automatically refund players for any in-game purchases made via Epic direct payment 180 days prior to today,” Epic said in its blog)
- Unreal Tournament (Alpha) on January 24
- Rock Band Blitz on January 24
- Rock Band Companion app on January 24
- SingSpace on January 24
For some fans, Epic’s seemingly sudden decision to stop servicing games or obliterate them entirely comes as a disappointing shock, and serves as writing on the wall for the state of digital game preservation. All I can say is this is your last chance to top your Rock Band high score.