Many former Runescape devs broke away to form PlayFusion - a company whose first game is actually several projects: a mobile ARPG, a card game, a comic book, a toy line, and more. PlayFusion recently hit up Kickstarter for a mere $200,000 of additional funding, and we spoke with the team about Lightseekers and how it aims to do what many products cannot.
MMORPG: What is Lightseekers? It's fairly new to our readers, so please explain the game and ideas?
Lightseekers Team: Lightseekers is the answer to a question – if we could do it all over again and make a next generation game that we’d love to play ourselves, what would it be? So the team took everything we’ve learned over the last 20 years making over 150 games and created what we believe is a true next generation role playing game.
When we were running one of the largest MMORPGs on the planet, we actively listened to player frustrations with existing MMOs – mind numbing grind, the multi hour long session times tethered to a PC, dark and depressing environments, subscriptions and micropayments to unlock good content or items, and ultimately everything currently out there providing one-dimensional play. We saw they were playing the same game for years, heavily invested, almost stuck, but eagerly looking for something fresh.
To break the vicious cycle, we knew we had to create something providing many aspects of familiarity but fundamentally still truly different and innovative.
We looked to recapture the great seminal game moments from the 80s and 90s. We built a bright, vibrant world that reinvents the classic Dungeons and Dragons while simultaneously paying homage to new genre definers like League of Legends. We created high end visuals that deliver a PC/console quality experience on mobile.
To escape the daily grind, we saw that MMO players also engaged with many other types of games to mix things up. That they wanted adventure, action and strategy, so we incorporated all of those elements into our game.
They wanted more flexible play sessions and options for when their friends weren’t available for head-to-head play, so we intentionally made a portable game that allows players to dip in and out as they wish along with asynchronous multiplayer action.
Players invested heavily in MMOs for years, but felt in the end that had nothing tangible to show for it. So we introduced more physicality by introducing digital action figures with weapons and accessories that offer 2-way real time interaction with our game. These figures and accessories can be leveled-up and imbued with real value, bringing a player’s in-game status into the real world in an extremely tangible way.
MMO players told us they were tired of one-dimensional play, so in addition to figures and weapons, we designed a complete trading card game that interacts with the video game along with a technology platform that rewards players for interacting with any element of the Lightseekers universe.
We set out to build a new community on Kickstarter – one where the players tell us what’s fun and we promise to make more of it. It’s only been a few days but we’ve been overwhelmed by the encouragement and support we’ve received from our past players who’ve enthusiastically backed our campaign and can’t wait to give it a try.
MMORPG: That’s a lot of different media platforms bring together. How can you make them all fit and not just seem like adding in the extra bits such as the card game, and comics a gimmick?
Lightseekers Team: Every element of the Lightseekers universe is designed from the onset to help extend our storytelling and reward players for engaging with us. We believe our community of fans will want to engage with Lightseekers across multiple platforms so our plan is to continue to think of new and innovative ways to reward them for doing so.
MMORPG: How many different figurines, cards, and comics do you plan to have at launch?
Lightseekers Team: At launch, we’ll have two playable characters and 386 trading cards but we don’t want to stop there. We’ve developed a ten year content plan that we’d love to make a reality. But with Lightseekers, we expect players will probably go deep and narrow on heroes leveling-up and accessorizing their digital action figures versus other brands where people collect many static figures shallow and wide. With the support of our Kickstarter community, we’ll be able to introduce more figures, a wider range of accessories, and even more elements of the Lightseekers universe.
MMORPG: How are your toys to life aspects different than Skylanders or Lego Dimensions?
Lightseekers Team: We believe a more natural comparison is to robotics and AI brands like Anki or Sphero. Our toys are 7” highly articulated digital action figures that deliver real-time 2-way interaction with the Lightseekers game. They include our FusionCore, a proprietary user removable IoT platform that we have created to power the next generation of smart toys. The FusionCore is essentially a mini-computer that contains all the really expensive electronics (like two ARM CPU’s) that make our digital action figures so smart and allow us to create really high end robotics affordable to the masses.
MMORPG: The game seems rather ambitious. How do you think you can succeed in the toys to life space where even Disney gave up?
Lightseekers Team: We believe we’ve built an extremely ambitious platform that will move the entire genre forward. We believe we’ve created something entirely different with Lightseekers, disrupting the category and creating a new market of its own.
MMORPG: As a consumer all of those extra add ons can get expensive quick. Can players just play the game and ignore the rest of the media and still have a fulfilling experience?
Lightseekers Team: The Lightseekers game delivers an awesome experience that is truly free to play with no in-app purchases, subscription or other payment required to enjoy. We’re employee owned, so we’re able to invest in the long term success of our game and studio. The video game, cards, and figures can each be enjoyed independently of the others, but when played together the player experience will be extra-awesome!
MMORPG: $200,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of money when compared to what all you have planned. What’s the money for?
Lightseekers Team: What we’re hoping to raise on Kickstarter is actually a fraction of the cost to achieve our full vision. We’ve already invested a great deal of our own money to get this far. The $200k will allow us to complete our beta test build so we can begin to learn how our community actually plays with the game and interacts with the different elements of the Lightseekers universe.
Any additional support we receive beyond $200k will help out and naturally will be fully re-invested into the studio, allowing us to make more playable characters, more figures and accessories, more connected content, and more gameplay on a broader range of platforms.