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Trion Worlds event whets the appetite while revealing a new phase in the MMO genre

April 26, 2010

Trion Worlds’ event whets the appetite while revealing a new phase in the MMO genre
By Michael Lafferty

Trion’s goal is to “deliver super-quality living worlds.”

What is in a name? Well, it’s a concept and for the Trion World Network, the new name of Trion Worlds captures the essence of its upcoming trio of titles slated to hit the massively multiplayer online gaming space in distinctive ways.

Over the next couple of days, GameZone.com will be revealing some details about a couple of the titles unveiled at a Trion Worlds’ event held in San Francisco last week. Today, we present an overview of what is afoot – and judging by what was seen, Trion is setting up to offer gamers the MMO experiences they have been craving.

The titles shown were Rift: Planes of Telara (formerly known as Heroes of Telara), a yet-to-be named MMO collaboration with the Syfy Channel, and End of Nations – a persistent world real-time-strategy title developed by the folks that know a thing or two about the RTS genre.

Dr. Lars Butler, CEO of Trion Worlds, said that the company had “focused on what a top studio should build” and that was “to deliver super-quality living worlds.”

When talking about the titles, it was the intent of Trion to build games that were dynamic and massively social (games “change with dynamic content,” Dr. Butler said), and to address completely new genres.

While Trion Worlds has a fantasy-based MMORPG in Rift, the quality of the world will certainly capture the imaginations of gamers. It is part of the next generation of MMOs delivered in full-on high definition with truly spectacular effects and graphics. The name change “came about as we spent time with the game,” explained Scott Hartsman, CEO of Trion Redwood Shores. The protective ward that separates the land of Telara from the planes where all manner of evil dwells has been torn and rifts occur that allow all manner of creatures to come through in wave upon wave. And while some planes may have contrary names, like the Plane of Death and the Plane of Life, the goals are the same – to conquer Telara and kill the inhabitants there.

 
Rift: Planes of Telara

Returned are the champions, once claimed in death, now favored by the gods and returned to combat the invasions that come from many different directions.

This games was “built from the ground up in HD,” Hartsman said. He went on to note that the rifts are “an interesting dynamic” that “lets us create incredibly massive social events.”

The second title on the evening’s agenda was the unnamed collaborative effort with the Syfy Channel. Rob Hill, Senior Producer of Trion San Diego, was quite evasive in the details department, but did say that events in the television series and in the game would mirror one another.

The goal was to “bring together audiences of television and games,” Hill stated. Both the TV series and the game were started “from scratch” and are being built simultaneously. There will be a “strong interaction between the two.” If, by way of example, a puzzle is solved by a clan or players in the game, one that is pertinent to a core theme in the TV show, characters on the television series will reference the game players and the clan that solved the puzzle. “Gamers can influence events in the TV show, and TV characters can and will talk about players and guilds,” Hill said.

The development team Petroglyph knows a thing or two about the RTS genre. Team members have been involved with some substantial titles, including the Command & Conquer series. The C&C influences are evident in some of the elements of the Trion Worlds upcoming title, End of Nations, but the way the game evolves in the massively multiplayer space is unique. The setting is a world in collapse (it is Earth and there are recognizable landmarks in the game), and as governments fell and anarchy reigned, a power stepped up to claim control – the Order of Nations.

“Order of Nations has bad-ass weapons,” said Petroglyph’s Mike Legg, “that will take team work to get through.”

 
End of Nations

In the past, cooperative play meant a couple of people, but with End of Nations, there is literally no telling how many can hop onto one of the massive maps and help take on the Order. Petroglyph has had up to 51 players on one map during testing, and Legg said there was room for more.

Yes, the world will see resets, and there is player-versus-player in addition to player-versus-AI, but for this “dream project” it was all about building the “world’s first first-class MMO strategy game,” said Legg.

Trion’s event was an open invitation, as Dr. Butler stated, to “go down the rabbit hole” into a new age of MMO titles. There is certainly intrigue and promise in the journey, and a bit of something for everyone that craves imaginative trips in massively multiplayer settings, that offer something new and different.

The evening was only a taste, but one that left a craving for more.

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