Buffy the Vampire Slayer MMO Announced

Buffy the Vampire Slayer MMO Announced

20th Century Fox and The Multiverse Network announced today that they are working on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Massively Multiplayer Online game. Jon Landau, Academy Award-winner for visual effects and Advisor to Multiverse made the announcement in his keynote speech at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo in Los Angeles.

The game will be unique to the growing glut of MMOs in having two modes- a 2D flash, web-based version, and a fully 3D world with a dedicated client. The game will be hosted inside Multiverse’s “Multiverse Places,” which sounds a bit like PlayStation Home, hosting a virtual world with access to multiple games.

While little was said about the gameplay or story, the Executive Producer of Multiverse, Corey Bridges, mentioned “when the Buffy team finished the television series, they created the perfect launching point for an MMOG where everyone will feel like they’re an important character in the ongoing story.” This seems to imply that there may be some overlap in story between the upcoming game and the current Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comic book series, featuring hundreds of activated Slayers acting as a paramilitary unit.

The game’s push into development includes a beta later this year and unfortunate news for fans of another Joss Whedon property. Fox is delaying further development and release of the announced-in-2006 MMO, Firefly. Originally set to be released in 2008, the game has yet to have any major presence; no screenshots, trailers, or betas have hit the scene, and now it seems none will until the Buffy game is completed.

The Buffy announcement is the latest in a series of licensed MMOs hitting the virtual scene. Sony’s Star Wars MMO was received with lackluster reviews and little fan support, but they’re trying again with DC Online. Cryptic Studios is working on MMOs based on both the Champions and Star Trek universes. All these games are of course seeking a piece of the massive World of Warcraft pie. The nearly four-year-old game surpassed 10 million active subscribers in January 2008, and thanks to a much-anticipated expansion pack coming later this year, shows no signs of stopping its mammoth growth.

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