Otherland Is A New MMO That Looks Pretty

By Lewie Procter on August 16th, 2011 at 1:49 pm.


Here’s a new, visually splendid, science fiction action MMORPG from Singaporean dev RealU and free-to-play types Gamigo. Based on the “cyberpunk Lord Of The Rings” book series by Tad Williams, Otherland seems to mash up abstract sci-fi visuals with more traditional fantasy MMO guff, as well as some entirely abstract things. Crazy whirling fly-through announcement trailer details all this, below:

It’s a bit all over the place isn’t it? Medieval war, Pleasure zone AND Mars Simulation? I don’t really have much of a clue about what’s going on, but I like what I see.

Otherland is going to be free to play, and is due out some time in 2012. We’ll find out more about it before that time, probably.

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42 Comments »

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  1. DanPryce says:

    That looks pretty awesome actually.

    • Jumwa says:

      I don’t even really know what I saw, but I have to agree with you there.

      No clue what this game will become, but hey, it filled me with thoughts of its potential and that titillated me regardless.

  2. KauhuK says:

    At first I was rather impressed but then came the fantasy grindy looking parts. What the hell?

  3. Nallen says:

    I honestly don’t know what to make of this.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      its like a 1996 vision of “INTERNET GAMES IN 2011″

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    yhancik says:

    Oh my, this trailer almost gave me motion-sickness

    (I really did expect the “pleasure zone” to be some kind of red light cyberdistrict)

    • Benny says:

      Someone got given a virtual camera and went a bit crazy me thinks.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      the pleasure zone is filled with coloured-rings and robots without genitals… er, no thanks.

  5. Nalano says:

    Second Life meets Tabula Rasa?

    • Stormbane says:

      Yeah second life is the first thing that came to mind. I’m guessing Tad Williams book was about some sort of metaverse.

  6. Eukatheude says:

    I like this.

  7. clockler says:

    If you haven’t read any Otherland and none of this makes any sense to you, more or less it’s set in a future where virtual reality is a fledgling technology – it’s out there, and common, but a little unrefined. These crazy loose-cannon billionaire types have developed a bunch of sims which are so incredibly realistic, they’re practically impossible. Which I assume are in fact not the focus of this game, since they’re less “pleasure districts” and more “god simulators” for their owners. Whatever those owners want to play god over.

    In the books a bunch of helpless-damsel-type main characters (all of them, in some way, in or outside) are trapped inside, unable to logout, bouncing from sim to sim – like the fucked up Wizard of Oz sim where the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man are having a war, to the entomology sim where humans are small enough that a dragonfly is used as an aircraft (for studying bugs at that scale, obviously). It’s a wonderfully messed up story, unfortunately I was never able to find any of it other than the second book amongst my aunt’s collection.

    But about this? Initial reaction, “No way. No fucking way.” Post-trailer? “Oh, that makes sense. I can go to bed now.”

    • Sian says:

      “In the books a bunch of helpless-damsel-type main characters (all of them, in some way, in or outside)”

      Yes, that was it. Whiny damsels. So unappealing.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I loved the books – all of William’s stuff is good. Didn’t find the majority of the characters whiny or unappealing at all. Not sure about an MMO though – the whole point of the books was that otherland was a virtual reality MMO, practically indistinguishable from reality in most respects. How you can translate that into an ordinary sat-at-your-keyboard-in-your-underwear MMO I don’t really know.

    • WPUN says:

      Spoiler-free snark: I cannot, in good conscience, support an MMO based on child abuse!

    • Xercies says:

      Yeah I loved the whole Otherland Series, i think it was kind of my first foray into proper sci-fi. Didn’t have a problem with the characters to be honest. It also has some interesting ideas in it.

    • nimnio says:

      @Donkeyfumbler: It works as an MMO extremely easily and well. Judging by the trailer, you’re not playing in Otherland, you’re playing in the normal, run-of-the-mill virtual worlds used by the common folk. Recall that one of the chracters was actually playing an MMORPG prior to becoming trapped in Otherland, and plenty of other ‘public’ virtual worlds with their own unique aesthetic were shown, like the Treehouse.

  8. Sian says:

    Oh how I disliked those books. I hated every singly protagonist with a passion and yet I was compelled to finish the series, just because I had to know what was going on. The worst part is: I’ve already forgotten…

    Anyway, I don’t know about this game. The eDNA concept might be interesting, but might also turn into a grind. The social/minigames aspect I don’t like at all. I imagine world building to be quite limited, thus probably disappointing. Also: None of the Gamigo games so far has managed to at least make mouths moving – all faces are absolutely wooden. I think nowadays at least lazy lip flaps should be possible.

    This game will have to do more to make me interested.

    • Ezhar says:

      One of the very few books I put down in the middle and never picked up again. Terribly tedious explanations of now commonplace virtual world concepts (zomg avatars) and utterly obvious plot made me stop reading this one. That’s despite having loved the MS&T trilogy from the same author.

  9. Calabi says:

    Now thats how to stand out from the crowd.

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    Anthile says:

    Otherland is awesome. Basically, it’s the future and virtual reality really took off. People are actually playing MMOs in the books. In fact, one of the main characters spends most of his time playing a cheesy fantasy MMO, complete with permadeath. Basically, this si going to be a MMO about MMOs.

  11. Cyhwuhx says:

    Bonus points for the Krittapong reference, but where’s my War of the Worlds simulation? Curious how this will work as a game though. Otherland mainly tried to envision the entirety of the internet, to have that as a separate MMO is a bit Xzibit-ish…

    (BTW: do we know if the developers own any satellites?)

  12. Duke of Chutney says:

    the more insane the better imo, we could do with some games that make minimal tangable sense, behind the ditzy visuals there is a danger that this game could make sense

  13. Tei says:

    Looks fantastic. How will be the gameplay? will be different than all other MMO’s?

  14. Burning Man says:

    Wow.

  15. Unaco says:

    Who the hell is this Edna they keep going on about? Is Barry Humphries doing the voices or something. When he gets all dragged up and puts on those glasses, is that what they mean by “Edna-ulate”?

  16. roethle says:

    This will be one of those thing that you that you vaguely remember for a while then forget all about until some gaming journalist writes a story about canceled or failed games on a slow day.

  17. godwin says:

    http://www.realu.com.sg/singapore.html

    lol. I take it it’s a dev formed completely of expats.

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    BathroomCitizen says:

    What a strange beast. I’m quite curious about this.

  19. The Pink Ninja says:

    3:08: Voldemort has really let himself go huh?

    Looks wonderful but given the history of the MMO as a genre I’m nt saying anything more than that without more details and gameplay trailers ect ect

  20. MOKKA says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!

  21. Createx says:

    I´m not sure I like this, it looks like a “based on…” thingie.
    I loved the books and will play this, but I remain sceptic. You would have to build a decent number of worlds to make it interesting, and making all these worlds with some quality is probably hellishly expensive.
    But anything less would disappoint.

  22. Theoban says:

    Ooh what class to choose? Magical African, Blind French Lady or Swarm of Yellow Monkeys?

  23. Jake says:

    Looks great, there is lots of potential for an MMO that breaks the mould.

  24. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Looks incredible, shame it’s an MMO…

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    shoptroll says:

    Cool video, but this looks a lot like Second Life / Playstation Home. Just with a shinier coat of paint.

  26. mickygor says:

    Looks pretty damn awesome! Far too many games coming out for my limited availability :(

  27. Solidstate89 says:

    This looks like a competitor to Second Life.

    Do not want.

    • Wulf says:

      Second Life is primarily for smart people, especially if you know where to hang out, as there are classes and seminars hosted there, and a very smart engineer friend of mine has been doing bizarre things with LSL. Some people will look at the opening areas of SL and see just that, which is pretty much a ghetto, and they’ll dig no deeper.

      You need to know people whom are in SL to get the most out of it, but it’s definitely the smart person’s social hang out. And since you likely ARE a smart person, I say that you shouldn’t be so dismissive of it and you should find out more about it. :p

  28. Wulf says:

    This does look interesting…