There are two upcoming MMOs that have only recently started to make waves, with websites and forums going live within the past week. They could not be more different from one another in approach: one will be a boxed product with a subscription fee attached, set in a post-apocalyptic world with heavily skill-based character development, and is being developed by a small indie group. The other is being developed by a prominent Asian free-to-play distributor, in a familiar theme-park format with classes, magic, dungeons and pets.
What both of these games have in common is that they appear to be promising the moon among their respective features; if they manage to deliver on their promises, both may just succeed in making a big splash within their genres of choice.
Xsyon (forecasted release date: April 2010)
Among Xsyon’s touted features are in-game seasons, character aging, the ability to create or destroy all items in the game, migratory animals and creatures with no respawn, body part targeting in combat, player tribes, player housing, and the list goes on and on. I don’t even like sandbox games or post-apocalyptic settings, and I am still salivating to see how this game pans out. Currently the only way to get a peek of the game in action will be to pre-order the box, something a lot of gamers are predictably leery of. I hope enough people give it a shot to see what’s out there; even though Xsyon might sound too good to be true, I am an optimist and I always cross my fingers for small indie developers to buck the trend and make their dream come true – even the outlandish ones that everyone tells them aren’t possible. I am definitely keeping my eye on this one and have recommended it to my Fallout 3-loving better half should it hit the stores as planned in April.
Forsaken World (forecasted release date: 2010)
Forsaken World comes to us from Perfect World Entertainment, who also produced Perfect World, Jade Dynasty, and Ether Saga, and who are distributing Torchlight. They certainly seem determined to bring high production values and something different to this game, based on the feature list which contains such goodies as greatly enhanced monster AI, sub-professions that complement and enhance gameplay from increased XP to better bargains with the merchants, non-combat dungeons, persistent world effects caused by bosses, moving guild capture points, astrology, and many other items, all of which sound too good to be true (I will believe in smart monster AI when I see it). PWE has been working on this for around two years and have made it an international project. I’ve heard this “game will appeal to both Eastern and Western audiences” speech before (hello Aion), but again, I like to see companies try new things, and perhaps PWE can even take the lessons learned from Aion and make something really cool happen with Forsaken World.
Perhaps these games are little more than pipe dreams, but I just don’t have it in me to be too cynical about gaming. Games make me happy, and I like being happy, so I will always look on the bright side and give these developers the benefit of the doubt.
I’m holding my breath, Notorious Games and Perfect World Entertainment!