Raph Koster’s nine Playable Worlds teasers (so far) hint at the MMORPG sandbox you always wanted

    
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As we covered earlier in the week, Raph Koster’s studio Playable Worlds has been tweeting what appeared to be a countdown accompanied by a question. The team has continued that countdown over the last few days, and it’s actually doing it on multiple platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, meaning we actually have three (at least?) countdowns going on at the same time, with different hints about the MMORPG the company has been building, or so we assume. Here’s the nine we’ve got as of this morning:

  • What if… you could actually invent new things in an MMO?
  • What if… there [were] a way to discover secrets in an MMO — and no easy wiki holding all the answers?
  • What if… it rained, creating puddles that froze overnight?
  • What if… the game also rewarded you for playing peacefully?
  • What if… you could be admired and famous in an MMO for more than just your character level or raid skills?
  • What if… you could easily change your mind about who your character is?
  • What if… walking through grass carved a trail if you did it often enough?
  • What if… exploring actually mattered (to you and others) in an MMO?
  • What if… MMOs actually fulfilled the dreams we once had for them?

Koster, of course, is well known for his role at the top of early MMORPG sandboxes like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, and he’s spent his time since consulting on other MMOs, writing game design books, and penning countless blog posts about virtual worlds. He first announced his new studio and game back in 2019 as the investor money began pouring in, and though we’ve gotten some concept art along the way, we still don’t have a name for the game. Presumably, that’s just part of what’s coming when this countdown is over.

In any case, veteran MMORPG players will not actually see anything too surprising in the hint list, at least if they’ve been paying attention to Playable Worlds and Koster’s stated vision for the last few years. Koster has talked up his idea of the metaverse – no, not some trash blockchain metaverse, but virtual world platforms – and the sprawling social sandbox MMORPG on his agenda.

“There’s this craving for alternate worlds that are richer than just hack and slashing your way through levels,” he said a few years back. “So that’s what we’re out to build.” Now we’re just crossing fingers that it comes out in our lifetimes.

More coverage of Koster's writing and games
Update
A few hours after this post went up, they posted three more for the day:

  • What if… an MMO let you reshape the landscape?
  • What if… bad weather meant traveling through the mud?
  • What if… the season actually mattered?
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