Canceled Online Game is Making a Comeback 5 Years After It Was Shut Down

Highlights

  • Gearbox Publishing is bringing back the previously shut-down multiplayer game Gigantic for a temporary weekend event, inviting past players to join.
  • The game suffered delays and was overshadowed by Overwatch’s success, leading to its shutdown.
  • The Throwback Event will feature new additions to Gigantic, including a Rush game mode and revamped progression, possibly hinting at future monetization plans.

The previously shut-down multiplayer game Gigantic is making a temporary return as Gearbox Publishing announces plans for an invite-only throwback event. Gigantic was a free-to-play third-person hero shooter featuring team-based combat assisted by massive AI guardians, a cross between Overwatch and a MOBA. Despite Gigantic‘s servers going offline in 2018, Gearbox is planning to bring back the game — if only for a weekend.

Development of Gigantic reportedly began as far back as 2013, with developer Motiga securing substantial funding and support from publisher Perfect World Entertainment in 2014. Yet Motiga’s ambition for the project would ultimately prove to be Gigantic‘s downfall. Gigantic suffered multiple substantial delays, allowing Overwatch to beat it to market and establish a dominant presence. Just months after Gigantic‘s full launch, Perfect World shut down Motiga and Gigantic spent its last months online with only a skeleton crew supporting it.

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To many’s surprise, Gearbox Publishing sent out an email on Tuesday inviting past Gigantic players to return to the game for a weekend Throwback Event. “You’re Invited to Play Gigantic (Again!)” reads the title of the email. Inside the email is an invitation to play Gigantic on October 5 and 6, a one-time return for the shut-down project. There is one catch, however. The Gigantic Throwback Event is invite-only, and all players have to agree to an NDA, preventing them from talking about the event or sharing any media from it.

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gigantic screenshot full team

It isn’t just the return of Gigantic that makes this announcement so shocking, however. Gearbox also confirms that the Throwback Event will feature substantial additions to Gigantic that have never been seen before, including a new fast-paced Rush game mode, revamped tutorials, progression, customization, and a Fortune Card system that sounds a lot like the foundation for future monetization. In other words, the Gigantic Throwback Event may very well be Gearbox’s test to prepare for the full return of the free-to-play game.

To clarify, Gigantic publisher Perfect World rebranded to Gearbox Publishing in early 2022, following its acquisition by Embracer Group in late 2021. Gearbox Software, known for the Borderlands franchise and its own publishing efforts, is separate. That’s why Gearbox Publishing is able to bring back Gigantic, even if it’s only for a weekend.

There are many unanswered questions that stand out from the announcement of Gigantic‘s Throwback Event. Why does it need an NDA if it’s just a one-off weekend? Why go to such a great effort to bring back Gigantic with new content if it’s just a one-off weekend? The answers all seem to point to the possibility of Gigantic being relaunched. Perhaps the hero shooter will find more success in 2023 than it did in 2017.

Gigantic is coming back for a PC-exclusive weekend on October 5 and 6.

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