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Sony Reveal Details For Free Realm

Something to replace the lost Disney's Magic Kingdom and the about to die EA Land (née the disastrous The Sims Online), perhaps? Free Realms is Sony's forthcoming free, family-friendly MMO.

Massively reports that at the ION 08 online games development conference (is there a week without a games conference now?), Sony Online boss John Smedley has given lots more details about the project. It's described as a "whimsical fantasy adventure game", and is being pitched at kids aged 9 to 14, as well as their parents. In that cuddly Sony way, they want the family gathered around the PC in a way that's only ever happened on photoshoots for other family-friendly MMO adverts.

Seriously, all they've released as Christmas-themed shots.

This doesn't mean it will be combat free, but rather that combat won't be at the forefront. Instead it's one of four main categories, along with pet raising, housing and mini-games. Massively describe the minigames as:

"They're pick-up and play experiences. If you're exploring an ice zone with some friends and come across a frozen lake you can easily find some nearby skates and go skate."

It'll also let you form rock bands with your buddies, which will apparently work through rhythm-response games, and then because they haven't already included enough things 10 year old will kill for, there's to be a CCG attached, with cards bought online or in shops. And then it goes all Pokemon, letting you capture creatures in-game with a special net, or something, and convert them into cards for your collection.

Yes, more Christmas.

As horrific as the whole thing sounds, it seems like Sony are getting this spot on. It sounds horrific because it's for 9 to 14 year olds, who are weird alien creatures with whom we should desire no communication. But unlike most games that are "for" younger players, this sounds like it's been developed by someone who's met a kid at some point in their life, rather than some patronising half-arsed effort.

There's a ton more details over at Massively, including how you can train pet dogs to pee on fire hydrants, and information on the combat.

Via Eurogamer.

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John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, we killed John out of jealousy. He now runs buried-treasure.org