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GDC 2015 - The Goal is Something Different

Som Pourfarzaneh Posted:
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It’s sometimes easier to describe a video game by what it’s not, and if you’ve taken even a passing glance at IllFonic’s new sandbox MMORPG, Revival, you’ll know that it prides itself on being nothing akin to a traditional MMO.  Described by the developers as Ultima Online meets Skyrim, it’s a go anywhere, fight anyone type of game that prides itself on realism and player interaction.  There are no classes and no factions, and the world is a blank canvas for players to explore, but with a strong emphasis on NPC interactions and dialogue that lend themselves towards an immersive experience akin to single-player RPGs.

Revival comprises what you’d expect from a virtual world, set in a Lovecraft-inspired fantasy horror setting.  There’s no global chat, and if you’re intending on using a game feature like the auction house, expect to send a caravan across the world and have it run the risk of being stolen by other players.  The game features real-time combat, with skill trees, masteries, and different fighting styles that you’ll have to discover by exploring the world.  As your skills get better, the animations for them will likewise improve, and all crafting will be minigame-based, without loading bars.  Furthermore, although magic exists in Revival’s world and most players will have access to light spells, it will be supremely difficult to master more difficult ones, making accomplished spellcasters among an exclusive elite.

It’s clear that IllFonic is at once attempting to respond to traditional MMORPG models that focus on linear adventuring and character progression, while also appealing to the hardcore gaming sensibilities that pervade the sandbox MMO subgenre.  Player and NPC interaction play pivotal roles in Revival, and the game has a Karma system that is impacted by every action in the game.  There’s PvP everywhere except for a few newbie-friendly areas (which are themselves still vulnerable to large-scale attack), and player housing will be central to the game experience.

IllFonic is also taking a non-traditional approach to its development and release process for Revival, focusing on releasing small components and mechanics rather than one huge launch and tons of content.  They’re planning on six stages of development, beginning with offline housing, then offline cities, followed by online cities and other systems like crafting and combat, culminating in what they call “live storytelling.”  With this sixth stage of development, IllFonic is planning to implement live events guided by the devs themselves, rather than static, linear stories.  They’re just about finished with offline housing at the moment, and will be releasing the entire game design soon for everyone to take a look at. Revival will employ a free-to-play monetization model, with items like houses, boats, and other cosmetic and premium items for sale (player houses are in fact on sale now).

Stay tuned for more info about Revival!


Som Pourfarzaneh

Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.