The Themepark Age definitely seems to be receding. All hail the new age, the Age of Sand! Virtys, an independent game studio based in Quebec, announced today that Therian Saga, its browser-based sandbox MMORPG, has entered its English open beta. One of its regions, Hawkoria, has been fully translated, with another, Lanfar, expected to be completed in March.
According to their blog on crowdsourcing, when Virtys first began work on the Therian Saga, they decided that they wanted to retain their full creative authority over the game, so they forwent seeking a distributor and funded development out of pocket. They made the same decision about crowdsourcing, preferring to deliver a fully developed product so players could decide to fund them or not based on what they could see. I wrote about open development the other day with interesting timing, as Virtys has been living it for quite some time now!
The result is what looks to be an incredibly complex open world game.
- Crafting is an incredibly complex system that relies upon players working together. The quality and type of materials matter – in the trailer they talk about the differences that result from making a shield out of iron, copper or gold. Iron makes a more combat focused shield, but gold grants you more prestige.
- Asynchronous RPG with Multiple Heroes – Fully customizable heroes carry out the assigned actions whether you are online or not. This allows you to progress even when you only have a few minutes of play – queue up some crafting or harvesting in the morning, and run dungeons when you have more time.
- Explore a Vast and Beautiful World – As you explore the game’s 24 regions, Therian Saga’s elaborate story is revealed as you learn of the continent’s history, discover unknown places and collect coveted materials. Among the list of trades I see mining, botany, hunting, tanning, woodcutting, and many more.
- Taming is a profession that I’ve not seen in many games recently!
- Build grand estates for your characters to live in, or work with other players to create grand cities!