Playable Worlds, an online gaming company helmed by legendary MMO Veteran Raph Koster, has been working towards an “outside the box” mentality when it comes to building a living online world. Playable Worlds was founded in 2018 and since raising 2.7 million in 2019, and curating a team of exceptional talent from multiple industries, hopes have been exceedingly high for what their development team will create.
Fans of the MMORPG genre should be familiar with Koster, as his name resonates deeply with fans of Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. In his latest contemplative article over the future of online worlds, Koster delves deeply into what an online world should be, and whether or not we are technologically and creatively prepared to create worlds that we’ve always dreamt of. The missive accentuates his, and by extension, Playable Worlds', perspective on how they plan to handle their world-building design decisions.
According to Koster, worlds don’t have to be so simplistic or single-minded that they are built over a sole underlying drive of combat and conquest. Worlds can be more:
“I am going to tell you that yes, worlds can be full of derring-do and danger, madcap adventures to the edge of the volcano’s lip as you reach the mysterious hidden temple – and also homes for the wide array of ways to play we see players enjoying in countless other games. It doesn’t make any sense that the only way to interact with other worlds is at the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun. Build! Craft! Trade! Collect! Create! We can make worlds playable in many ways for many kinds of players.”
We have the design knowledge now to build player-driven economies where different kinds of people work together in large-scale online societies. This dream can come true.
-Raph Koster, Co-Founder and CEO, Playable Worlds
The premise that worlds can, and should, be more than what we generally encounter is a perspective that speaks to the MMORPG gamer in us all. It’s for these reasons that players fell in love (and hate) with Koster’s previous projects, like Star Wars Galaxies. As strongly as Raph cuts to the core of broken dreams of the past, he just as easily teases that there’s more to come, with an invitation to pay close attention for the next few weeks, as he reveals “the potential that online worlds have been passing up.”
Last year, Playable Worlds secured another $10 million in funding to build what it calls a “Cloud-Native Sandbox MMO”. Funding was provided by Galaxy Interactive through its Galaxy EOS VC Fund, which in turn supplied a partnership with Block.one. The partnership in essence grants cloud-native content and a blockchain-based infrastructure that the team believes will be the cornerstone of their ongoing “Metaverse”. The title in development is an original intellectual property, and while little information has been divulged on what, in totality, players can expect, Playable Worlds is currently in the process of hiring a Senior Concept Artist and Lead Environment Artist for an “immersive play experience”.
The positions may not divulge exactly where the upcoming title is in its development, as Playable Worlds has already staffed gameplay engineers, concept artists, animators and more. Kosters tease of more information over the next several weeks will certainly provide insight into further design decisions, and maybe, we may just get more clues into what their game will actually be.