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Dana Massey Posted:
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A look forward to the Chronicle, Machines and other MMOCenter projects

Adam Ghetti, the Creative Director at Rapid Reality is a sort of enigma. Ghetti is young, even for the youth-centered games industry. He cannot drink a beer in the United States, yet is a driving force behind one of the most ambitious MMORPG companies out there. We spoke to Adam at the Austin Game Conference about MMOCenter.com and its flagship debut game The Chronicle.

The Chronicle is a medieval fantasy game, the first product for MMOCenter.com, which is a designed to house a multitude of games built using Kaneva’s game engine. True to their company name, Rapid Reality intends to build MMOs quickly and support those that catch on.

Closed beta starts soon; Adam suggested targets of the second or third week in November. This includes the 500 pre-orders and an addition 1,500 beta testers.

Recently, designer and Lead Creative Writer Nathan Knaack left the company. Ghetti made it quite clear that this in no way impacts the development or direction of their games. They have a new writer on staff and will follow the course.

The idea of death in The Chronicle is a new ripple that Adam discussed with us. Each account in the Chronicle is allowed one “main character”, which advance faster and can do more than regular characters. These characters pay a heavy price for the bonuses they receive: permanent death. However, there is a chance for those unfortunate souls who meet a bad end.

When they die, players have a 10% chance that they go to judgment. This instanced area puts the players against a judge who poses them a series of four riddles. These riddles are generated, with thousands of possibilities to ensure that there are no walkthroughs. If the player correctly answers all four questions posed, they escape death and are revived. If they answer one incorrectly, they meet their end.

Effectively, players can talk their way out of permanent death.

As a company, Rapid Reality continues to expand. They currently have thirty employees divided equally between The Chronicle and Machines (more on this later). This includes four programmers. Adam also put out a call for experienced programmers in C++, python and shaders. They are also seeking talented artists. You can send resumes to [email protected]

Machines, which has also been previously discussed, is their other major project. They have a summer of 2006 beta target for this mechanical robot game. Largely PvP based, this game is also more of an MMOFPS than RPG.

Like the main character system in The Chronicle, Machines also has some interesting gameplay ripples. For the first time, Adam discussed the concept of “inorganic environment”, which allows players to play as a “digital entity” or virus.

This style, while difficult to play, lets players take over NPCs, systems and even other players (at high levels). For example, if as an entity your guild was trying to take a specific building, you could aid them by breaking into a computer system and locking some enemies in a room.

Finally, Adam also discussed three other game concepts that they are developing:

  • Banner of War: A World War III MMORPG. Here players can join one of many countries and fight other real countries in this fictional futuristic war. They are also planning a hardcore server where players are divided by their real countries. This means that – for example - Americans would really be fighting Chinese online.
  • Creatures of the Night: Based in 18th century London, this is a horror MMORPG where they will attempt to use music and lighting to create suspense.
  • Life vs. Death: This concept is as simple as the name implies. Quite simply, chose life (human) or death (zombie) and go at it.
There is scarcely any information on these three projects beyond this and they are not in active development, but rest assured they are on the horizon.

It remains to be seen whether Rapid Reality can pull off their ambitious target of releasing a game every six months. Given the timing they mentioned on The Chronicle (beta this month) and Machines (beta next summer), it seems they will initially fall a bit short of that target.

Thanks to Adam for meeting with me at AGC.

Have any comments? Let them be heard in the comment thread and on the Chronicle's hype meter.


Dana Massey