Friday, October 18News That Matters

Ultima Online’s lead designer is making a sandbox MMO at a new studio

Raph Koster teams up with veterans from Disney, Marvel and Sony Online Entertainment.

(Image credit: Origin Systems)

Raph Koster, the lead designer of PC classic Ultima Online and creative director of ambitious 2003 MMO Star Wars Galaxies, has founded his own studio, and is working on a sandbox MMO that combines crafting, building and exploring.

The new developer, Playable Worlds, has already raised $2.7 million from investors, Koster told VentureBeat. It counts former Disney, Marvel, and Sony Online Entertainment staff among its developers, and its art director is Mat Broome, the illustrator for both Marvel and DC comics who also served as art director on multiplayer shooter Planetside 2. Its lead designer is Greg Costikyan, perhaps best known for his tabletop games including the original Star Wars tabletop RPG.

Koster didn’t give much away about what the new game would involve, but promised that it would appeal to a broad range of players. “We are going to build a massively multiplayer world where all sorts of players can come together and find ways to regardless of whether they like exploring or adventuring or socializing or PvP. It’s a sandbox world that supports many ways to play,” he said.

“If you look across a lot of the most popular games that are out there, and the ways in which people play them, whether it’s PvP, or like Minecraft, or like building, some people like playing for socializing, and so on. There’s an awful lot of proven features out there that we know audiences enjoy. And a lot of them actually were born from sandbox MMOs. So we’re going to bring together those proven, fun features that we know people like, into one world.”

Koster didn’t reveal when he was targeting release for the MMO.

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