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GameRanger battles to keep multiplayer alive after GameSpy server shutdown

"These games need to live on forever, they are a part of history."

Scott Kevill.

PC online multiplayer service GameRanger is battling to keep multiplayer alive in a number of games affected by the upcoming GameSpy server shutdown.

While many publishers have promised multiplayer will continue in their games following the shutdown on 31st May, some have not, including Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Halo 1 on PC.

GameRanger, however, is picking up the slack. It recently added the Halo 1 series of games (Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: Combat Evolved Demo and Halo: Custom Edition) to its service, and Battlefront 2 is already simulated with GameSpy disconnected and cut-off.

GameRanger is a primarily ad-supported multiplayer lobby service that works across multiple games. It lets users host and join multiplayer games, bypassing router and firewall problems sometimes encountered in games.

It's the work of programmer Scott Kevill, who told Eurogamer publishers have already been in touch.

"They're generally very thankful because often these situations are not in their control," he said. "Sometimes the original development teams have dissolved and so on."

Kevill, from Perth, Australia, said he is working his way through the long list of games affected by the GameSpy shutdown. "Things have been a little crazy over the last few weeks, and trying to prioritise which ones are supported first is challenging," he said.

"I've been talking with a few companies that have been very helpful in supplying any info I need to make it easier to keep their games going."

Games soon to be supported by GameRanger include 1C Publishing's Men of War: Vietnam and Men of War: Condemned Heroes.

"These games need to live on forever, they are a part of history," he said. "Even if someone isn't a regular player anymore, it's understandable that they'd be upset that they can't someday go back an re-live an experience even if they wanted to.

"The size of the player base shouldn't matter if you just want to play a friend or two.

"I spend all my waking hours on GameRanger, supporting games that probably no one ever plays, but someone might want to return to one day."

The full list of titles powered by GameSpy servers runs into the hundreds. It's now out of date - many have already been moved to new hosting in preparation for GameSpy's shutdown - but it stands as testament to the wide-range of games the company once served.

GameSpy servers were used in everything from indie titles such as And Yet It Moves to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Rockstar blockbusters Red Dead Redemption and GTA4.

Kevill intends to spend the rest of the month trying to get as many affected games on board as possible before the 31st May deadline.

"Working out which games come first depends on how many people are immediately impacted and how easy each game is to support at the technical level," he explained.