I have so many thoughts, and I find it difficult to decide, what needs to be said and what is better left out for now...
First, I didn't expect this. While we have known for some time that UX story is coming to end, Dark Road is only just past its beginning. Assuming the same release schedule as so far (new chapter every three months) and the most likely total number of chapters, it would have lasted until around May 2023. Keeping UX alive on its side after the end of its story would have been almost free, since it uses the same infrastructure as DR. It seems to me that they are killing a cash cow, which raises the question, who made this decision?
For me it is more like a shoulder shrug since I never invested anything in any incarnation of UX anyways and while I found the storyline of the original Browser-Chi to be pretty interesting and engaging it got progressively worse and less coherent the further it got with what I would certainly call "twist overloads" and the unnecessary addition of present day characters forcing overly thick and blatant direct connections to the distant past era.
I don't play the game either, but I see it as more my type of game than any other game in the series. I assume there was a time in the past when it had better game balance and fewer money-grab gimmicks, but I didn't know about it back then. Also, restricting a game to only one platform today is really stupid, because if you choose your tools correctly, you can run the same codebase everywhere. Had it been available for my platform of choice (Linux on x86_64), then I might have played it and possibly even spent a little bit of money on it.
In the story I see only one big blunder, the solution of the murder. It doesn't make any sense that such an intelligent and extremely connection-oriented person as Nomura is would build up a big mystery story that confirms the conventions of the genre really well, and then abandon those conventions completely in its solution. Also, a race of ancient beings who appear to be made of pure evil, can be invisible, and ask the question, "What do you want?"
. Where have we seen this before? There are in fact quite a few things in the series that appear to be copied from that same source, but never before this blatantly. I assume this nonsense is not Nomura's fault, but result of interference from lesser minds. Maybe some Square-Penix necktie clown told him, "You cannot reveal one of the foretellers as the killer, because then a large number of players in that foreteller's union would quit playing the game, and then we don't get their mone¥"
The addition of modern timeline characters I see as a clever idea. It's not only an interesting plot device, but also helps with a practical problem. The series does suffer from having already too many characters, and re-using them helps to avoid making this worse. For same reason, in the first chapter of DR, they immediately made it clear that the new characters in that story will not be able to escape to the modern timeline.
Then there is the fact that there are no endings, but only beginnings. We will be left with the offline version of the game, and that opens up some interesting possibilities. Maybe the community can tweak and turn it into the kind of game that it should have been to begin with? Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not promising to do anything with it, but I'm also not excluding the possibility of participating in such a project if there is any interest. I see no need to make any decisions about that until the offline version is available.