Playable Worlds’ Raph Koster makes bold promises about his studio’s developing sandbox MMORPG


Earlier this week we reported on a big cash injection for Raph Koster’s Playable Worlds, with the studio raising $25M in Series B funding to make its modern sandbox MMO come to life. This announcement was further repeated on VentureBeat, whose interview on the subject was full of big claims from Koster about Playable’s upcoming title.

The still-unnamed MMO, which is said to be in full production after two years’ of development time, will leverage cloud-based computing in order to “run far more detailed simulations than games typically do with basic levels of detail that enable [the devs] to tackle things that games don’t do right now, like modifiable environments, smarter AI, and procedural generation on a level that games don’t typically do,” according to Koster. The speed of the cloud will allow things like more impactful changes from player actions, better persistence in a world that remembers those changes at larger scale, the ability for those who wish to just be crafters and sellers to be more than an afterthought, and better in-game economic models. In fact, he says “[t]he game will pay close attention to economic faucets and drains, so that players can buy currency without a lot of risks around inflation.” [Edit: We asked Koster about the “buy currency” line, and he says it’s a “garbled quote” in the source – that he “was trying to say pay close attention to economy design so you don’t get runaway mudflation effects, etc.”]

Koster further leans into the game’s tech as a metaverse platform; his use of the term metaverse is an older one that leans heavily on virtual world concepts, as our readers will recall, and there’s not yet been any suggestion of the blockchain-related shenanigans common in the modern usage:

“Our tech is set up to do things like actually interact with the world of social media, interact with influencers, and so on. We’re way past a world in which games are an isolated little pocket. Everything is interconnected today on the internet, and the game should be too.”

This line of metaverse creation, incidentally, is what caught the eye of Kakao Games, one of the companies that joined in on Playable’s recent funding round. A statement from Kakao CEO Kyehyun Cho noted that he was impressed by the technology stack the studio has built. “We’re making investments that will fuel innovations in MMO games and bring new concepts to fruition. The caliber of the team […] ultimately sealed the deal, and we’re confident in their ability to execute,” reads part of Cho’s statement.

Of course, none of the major plans that most players want to know, like a game name, game previews, game release timing, or game testing timing are outlined in the piece – it’s an article mostly meant to wink and grin at potential investors – but Koster certainly has big aims, even if they are still nebulous ones.

Further reading:

More coverage of Koster's writing and games
source: VentureBeat
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