Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Turbine and Twisted Pixel work on "Secret MMO"

I was talking gaming the other night with my friend Welshtroll, as happens quite often, and he pointed me in the direction of this article on A statement from Twisted Pixel, (Splosion Man, Comic Jumper), confirming that they had been contracted by MMO giants Turbine, (DDO, LOTRO), to work on an as-yet unannounced console MMO! So, this got us thinking as to what this game might be.

For the MMORPG genre to finally make the jump to console it's going to need to be something that lots of people want to play, including, or should that be especially, people who have never had the slightest urge to play an MMO before. Star Wars already has an MMO out in the form of SOE's Star Wars Galaxies, and another one on the way, BioWare's hugely anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic. Another massive franchise that already has an MMO is Lord of The Rings, which, like the Star Wars games, is only available on the traditional MMO platform, the PC.

The only IP I can think of that carries enough clout to finally bridge the gap between the hardcore PC gamer and the casual console user is, of course, Harry Potter.

There are a few clues in the statement that would back this up. For the game to be in or nearing a state of completion, the full arc of the story needs to already be known, but for an almost finished game to have not even been announced means that the publishers/developers are waiting for something to happen to time their announcement to. The Harry Potter franchise fits this bill perfectly. The series of books came to a close a few years ago now, giving Turbine all the story, background and world detail they need to make the game; and with the release of the final film later this year there is the perfect event to tie the announcement in with. Also, the fact the final film is being released in two parts is an ideal marketing situation for any tie-in game. If the announcement is held off until the launch of part one in the autumn, Turbine can piggy-back on the massive Hollywood publicity machine, and ride the hype all the way through to the summer of next year when they can launch the game to coincide with the release of the final movie in the series.

The other major clue is Warner Bros. recent purchase of Turbine. At the time, it looked like this was a move to ensure Warner had the rights to all of the Lord of the Rings game franchises, but the fact that Warner are the studio behind the Potter movies seems to now reveal ulterior motives behind the acquisition.

So there you have it. Turbine will announce Harry Potter as their next MMO title sometime around November 2010, and will release the game on PC AND console somewhere around July 2011.

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