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Wayfinder pulls a reverse live service, takes out microtransactions and offers offline mode in its biggest update ever

Wayfinder is doing something quite unusual for a title that started out with the intention of being an always-online, free-to-play live service game.

Image credit: Airship Syndicate

Wayfinder is a name you may not have heard in a while. The shooter-action-RPG hybrid from Airship Syndicate has had a rough go of it since its release last year, but the developer wants to write a new chapter for the troubled MMO.

This week, the studio announced a massive overhaul to the game, though not in the ways you might expect. Wayfinder is changing business models entirely, as Airship Syndicate works to make it sustainable for the future.

Wayfinder was initially published by Warframe creator Digital Extremes. It launched into Steam Early Access, and though access was limited to Founder’s Edition buy-in at the time, the game was always envisioned as a free-to-play, always-online project.

That transition never happened, however. Instead, Digital Extremes and Airship Syndicate parted ways abruptly, and the studio decided to pull the game off sale in April while the rights get transferred, promising to return with some major news about the game’s future.

Well, that day is here. In a blog post on Steam, Airship Syndicate laid out the full plan. The Echoes update, which arrives later this month for Founders, will be taking out all online requirements. Wayfinder will be playable offline without the need for player accounts or server checks. Co-op will still be possible, relying on the classic peer-to-peer system. Unfortunately, this also means any progress made so far will not carry over to the updated build.

“We realize this is a big shift, but a necessary one to guarantee that the game is around forever, the developer wrote.

As part of this transition, all microtransactions will also be removed from the game, and Wayfinder will have a fixed price - $25 - which will unlock access to all content during Early Access. If you already own a Founder’s Pack, you’ll continue to have access to all exclusive items (and the game itself), but the packs won’t be going back on sale. Those who spent money on the paid Runesilver currency will have their purchases converted into a new in-game currency used to unlock cosmetics.

wayfinder-new-screen-2
A big transition. | Image credit: Airship Syndicate

This all starts on May 31 with the update’s release. Founder’s Pack owners on PC will get to play first in this soft launch. Then, on June 11, Wayfinder will go back on sale as a Steam Early Access title.

Players on PS5, on the other hand, will have to wait until the summer to get the Echoes update. Airship Syndicate is, however, ending support for the PS4 version - though owners will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version. Wayfinder will leave Early Access later in the year, and the developer is working on an Xbox Series X/S release, too, which will arrive before the end of Early Access.

“We know that the path to get here hasn’t been easy, and the game has had a rocky past,” the post reads.

“We also know that this wasn’t the original game that we envisioned or that our fans bought into. When faced with the reality of where we are, we saw our options as shuttering the game fully as other online games have done before or making this pivot and releasing the Echoes Update. During this process, we quickly came to the realization that we’re making a superior game for both current and future players.

“We’d love to support Wayfinder for years. We have ideas for additional characters and new content, and we have the intent to do so if the players demand it and Wayfinder finds a new audience.”

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