Interview With the Developers Behind Sacred Seasons

Turn based multi-player games have been a huge hit on Facebook but there are few that have a real-time multiplayer environment. Sacred Seasons can’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be more multiplayer games, especially massively multiplayer games. So the team behind this virtual game environment has ‘created a Facebook application that combines the Sacred Seasons world with the Facebook community.

Most MMORPGs don’t have interconnecting communities with other sites, so the concept of extending a standalone MMORPG into the existing Facebook community is one that sounds good in theory but hasn’t been readily tested on a large scale. Below is an excerpt of an interview I had with Sacred Seasons’ Derek Day, CEO of Sacred Seasons’ parent company Emerald City Games.

Kristen Nicole of AllFacebook: What is Sacred Seasons? Could you give me some background on your web-based game?

Derek Day of Sacred Seasons: Sacred Seasons is a MMORPG. It takes place in an universe that is based more on North American mythology rather than your typical knights, wizards and orcs. As the title suggests, the seasons play a heavy influence in the story and gameplay and you are reminded of this right away when you are asked to choose a class. All classes are aligned with a season, from the youthful spring scout to the wise winter clairvoyant.

As far as gameplay, there are quests and story to unravel. You’ll find the more quests you go on, the more of the world you begin to unlock. Each area has its own unique look and personality. Battles are also live. Players can join in with their friends and fight the monsters together, all in real-time.

Moving forward we are continuing to add story and areas to grow this world and create as fun of an experience for the player as possible.

Kristen Nicole: Does Sacred Seasons have a standalone site?

Derek Day: It does, In the near future, you will be able to play the game from the site as well as Facebook and other social platforms.

Kristen Nicole: What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with Sacred Seasons’ implementation across various social networking platforms, beyond Facebook?

Derek Day: You will see it on MySpace very shortly. Its also built to function as a stand alone game, so it will be playable on as well as popular flash sites. Past that we hope to bring it to the IPhone and maybe even Xbox Arcade. We’re really excited about this franchise.

Kristen Nicole: Why did you decide to create an MMORPG as a Facebook application?

Derek Day: The honest answer was I was tired of seeing how popular all the text-based RPGs on Facebook were. I was really unimpressed with them, and I felt there was a huge void on Facebook for a true MMORPG. It seemed like a great opportunity so I put together a small, talented team and we set out with a vision of what we wanted to do and never really steered from that.

Kristen Nicole: How exactly is the Facebook application of Sacred Seasons an MMORPG?

Derek Day: You can play with your friends, at any time during the day. You can explore with them, or you can go to battle with them. You can meet new people and you can team up with them if you like. So, we feel like we got the MMO part right. The world and story was created by a brilliant designer and it really does offer something fresh in terms of fantasy. On top of that you can level up your character, unlock new skills, purchase weapons to boost your stats, etc so we feel like there is a lot on the RPG side of things as well.

Kristen Nicole: As far as MMORPGs go, what are the benefits of tapping into a community like Facebook?

Derek Day: It’s a huge userbase and I think Facebook users are starting to mature and look for quality, which is what we’re trying to provide. One interesting note, is we have a huge percentage of women playing Sacred Seasons. They find the characters and world fun and the story interesting and engaging.

Kristen Nicole: Do you think we’ll see more crossover between MMORPGs and established social networks such as Facebook?

Derek Day: Its hard to say. MMORPGs are not an easy genre to make. I’d argue it’s the most difficult type of game to develop, so I think there will always be issues with that, but I think the more popular social games get the more you’ll see bigger players getting involved.

Kristen Nicole: So do you think the work your doing will help usher in a new era of interoperability between MMORPGs and social networking platforms?

Derek Day: I’m sure there are other MMOs being worked on as we speak for social platforms. It is such an obvious void to me that during development I expected every morning to wake up to the first real Facebook MMORPG, but never did. That being said, these are very difficult games to make, and we were lucky to have such a passionate team because its not like you can just get an artist and programmer together and make an MMO. You really need a team. I do think the success of this game could dictate whether you see a rush of them or not, but MMORPGs on social platforms in the future is inevitable. They’re just too good of a fit for each other.