"Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for," reads a letter on the Tabula Rasa website.
The team added that the game will become free to play starting January 10 before the game sees the plug pulled at the end of February.
In closing the game, NCsoft will lay off an undetermined number of employees. "We're going to be scaling down the TR team in preparation for the end of live service," said spokesman David Swofford to Kotaku. He added, "We currently don't know how many people will be affected by that."
NCsoft plans to reward the loyalty of remaining players with free time on the company's other MMOs, including City of Heroes, Lineage II and the forthcoming Aion. Players with active paid accounts as of 12:00 PM CST today will be contacted directly by NCsoft about redeeming that time.
"We can assure you that through the next couple of months we'll be doing some really fun things in Tabula Rasa, and we plan to make staying on a little longer worth your while," promised the letter.
The MMO's death toll may have been sounded earlier in November when designer Richard Garriott announced his departure from NCsoft, citing "new interests" following his return from a space flight.
Tabula Rasa was announced in 2001 and was finally released in 2007 to what Garriott admitted "was a rough launch."