Chronicles of Elyria, an in-the-works MMO that's currently closing out the last couple of days of a successful Kickstarter campaign, sounds very ambitious. It promises “a closed economy, finite resources, non-repeatable quests, and a fully destructible environment,” populated by characters who will actually age and die over lifetimes spanning ten to 14 months of real-world time. It sounds genuinely interesting, and also incredibly difficult to pull off, especially for a start-up studio.
But today's announcement of a partnership between developer Soulbound Studios and technology company Improbable also gives me some degree of hope that it might work out. Improbable is the company behind SpatialOS, “a distributed operating system that enables developers to create simulations inhabited by millions of complex entities, and allows game worlds and other simulated environments to run seamlessly on thousands of servers in the cloud.” Using that to underpin the game means Soulbound can focus entirely on the core game, rather than having to create and support “core server features” itself.
“People have been asking us how we plan to get a hundred thousand players spread across the largest geographic area in a video game to date. This is it!” Soulbound CEO Jeromy Walsh said. “With the help of SpatialOS, we can do it faster than most people think possible, and with a smaller team.”
What keeps that from being the usual eye-glazing PR-speak is that two other fairly high-profile projects using Improbable's technology are already underway, and their creators are similarly enthusiastic. Bossa Studios is making use of it in Worlds Adrift, which is starting to look really good, and DayZ creator Dean Hall is doing the same with his new project, Ion. Neither of those games have been released yet, but what we've seen of them so far lends credence to the suggestion that Soulbound at least has a shot.
The Chronicles of Elyria Kickstarter is already a success, with more than $1.2 million pledged on a $900,000 goal. That's enough to hit one stretch goal and, with just a hair under two days remaining in the campaign, put a couple others within reach. It was also recently given the Greenlight on Steam. Find out more at chroniclesofelyria.com.