Free Realms is one of those rare massively multiplayer online games that seems to hold appeal for both children and adults, despite its target group of teens and tweens. Sony Online Entertainment released a video blog from CES 2009 specifically about the game, with SOE President John Smedley and Creative Director Laralyn McWilliams. They explain a bit about what the game is, and some of what makes the title unique.
The video blog is interspersed with footage from Free Realms, highlighting its combat-optional design philosophy. This should provide gamers with a variety of options -- including pets and mini-games -- allowing them to play however they choose.
Accessibility is a major aspect of how they've designed Free Realms. Smedley says, "This is a game that's primarily aimed at a younger audience. We're going for teens and tweens, and we're going for an equal number of boys and girls. It's really important -- this is our first game where we've really tried to capture a female audience."
The client will download in about a minute, he says, and Free Realms will feature integrated social networking which will allow you to teleport to your friends in-world. Also notable about the forthcoming title is its absolutely protean class system where players can instantly switch to other 'jobs' to suit the style of play they feel like taking on.
SOE is working to make the game as polished as possible, even before it goes open beta. On the subject of beta, they're still taking sign-ups on their beta application page. The game will release in the second quarter of 2009, but it's a pretty sure bet we'll have more Free Realms coverage for you in the coming months leading up to launch.