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Pets versus Monsters

A little over two years ago I was asked if we thought it was possible to make a small scale MMO experience, probably aimed at kids, with a smaller production team and on a faster time-frame (at least faster than it takes to make the AAA MMO titles these days). Thus a small project was kicked off to start working on the technology and I got to start working on early designs alongside my work on AO at the time. It was a really fun project to be involved in. Starting any project from scratch is always interesting and we had soon put together a really enthusiastic and talented team to see what we could come up with.



Then my involvement on a day to day basis stopped when I was offered the chance to take the helm on the Age of Conan project. The team carried on just fine without me though and now, eighteen months on, the fruits of their labor are starting to be revealed. Pets Vs Monsters is now in beta and available for people to try. The game is a kid friendly MMO experience that is hopefully a lot of fun to play. Looking to a younger audience is new ground for us as a company (with our new Sweet Robot subsidiary) so it is great to be able to see players in the game for the first time during these testing phases.



The team have really done a wonderful job with it. It is kind of strange to see something that is both exactly like I imagined it over two years ago yet also totally different. The team have put their own mark on it and really brought it to life. Many of the elements we first laid out in the original designs are present and correct and others are totally different (and for the better I might add, the team have done a fantastic job iterating on the design so far). It has been interesting to watch the game develop from the outside after being involved early on. You get to watch and see what parts of your ideas they keep, and what they change or discard, and follow what new ideas they bring into the mix as it continues to develop.



These games are very different in that you do get to iterate much more because they aren't launched with a fanfare or require initial sales to keep going. The games in this space are more slow burning and evolving so it is an interesting experiment for us. I honestly have no idea if we have all the right ingredients to make the game successful in this space (and not knowing is part of the challenge) but I do think the team have all the elements there for a genuinely fun experience that will give us as good a chance as any! So if you know some kids, or have some yourself, have them give it a go. (and maybe take a sneak peek yourself, there is after all a kid hidden away in all of us!)
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