Improbable and former Supercell and Rockstar developers team up to bring a living virtual world to your pocket
Improbable, the British startup that’s now valued at $1 billion, has teamed up with former Remedy, Rockstar Games and Supercell developers PlayRaven to bring MMOs to mobile in 2018.
Known as “Project Metro”, PlayRaven’s MMO is surrounded by a cloud of mystery. More details on the project will be revealed in “early” 2018, but it’s interesting to see that the Finnish development team are working with Improbable’s ambitious world-building platform SpatialOS for their game.
On a technical level, SpatialOS is a distributed, cloud-based platform for game development that brings together workflows, game engines and tools. In layman’s terms, this means it lets developers build enormous worlds that are not only shared seamlessly across multiple, distributed servers but are also entirely persistent. If someone chops down a tree somewhere in the world, every other player – no matter when they join to play, or whatever server they connect to – will see that tree as felled, or being felled. They’ll also all see it grow back too.
The technology has seen many developers flock towards SpatialOS for gargantuan world-building experiments. Bossa Studios’ semi-MMO Worlds Adrift makes fantastic use of its persistent nature, whereas HelloVR’s MetaWorld uses it to build a persistent social space in VR that’s unlike anything you’ll have experienced before.
But what will “Project Metro” use it for, and why should you care? It’s hard to say what PlayRaven’s new game will be like, but with the team already working on free-to-play EVE Online tie-in “Project Aurora” on behalf of CCP, it’s unlikely to be something space-related. Going from the game’s logo, it’s likely to be a city-based MMO, and with hundreds of thousands of players occupying a sprawling cityscape, it could be a great showcase of SpatialOS’ ability to stitch together huge megacities into one shared space. Perhaps even something that Star Citizen could make use of.
The move to mobile for an MMO and SpatialOS is also an interesting proposition. Mobile is arguably the next frontier for connected gaming experiences. Most of the developed world have a smartphone in their pockets, with an instant connection to the internet, and there are around 2.8 billion people playing games on their mobile each month.
Before you guffaw at the prospect of a huge, persistent, mobile-driven MMO, it’s worth looking at Pokémon Go. Sitting pretty at around 20 million active daily users, it gets more attention in a day than PC MMOs get in a month. Mobile is the future for these online social experiences, and PlayRaven and Improbable want to be the ones building it.
You can follow the development of “Project Metro” over on its Facebook page.