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Meet the Sparkplay Media team: Part Two


Yesterday we introduced you to the lead designer and concept artist from Sparkplay Media, the makers of the upcoming free-to-play MMO Earth Eternal. Today we have more behind the scenes action for you as we continue our "Meet the Sparkplay Media Team" feature and introduce you to the lead writer and one of the programmers that work so diligently on this new MMO.

In today's feature we get the inside scoop on the microtransaction store and story from Sparkplay's CEO and lead writer of Earth Eternal, Matt Mihaly. Plus we're also getting a peek inside what goes on during the coding of Earth Eternal with Ryne Anderson, one of the programmers.

Massively: Is there any MMO that has influenced your work on Earth Eternal, and if so how did it influence you?

Matt Mihaly, lead writer: I've been playing MMOs/MUDs since 1991 or so and have been influenced by a huge range of games, from hardcore roleplaying games to pure PvP games to the 800 pound gorilla games like World of Warcraft to pure social worlds like Habbo or Gaia.

Is there any taste we can get of some of the story in Earth Eternal? Will any story or plot be revealed through the more "standard MMO" portion of the game?

Matt: Well, I wrote a huge backstory for Earth Eternal and plot threads that originate anywhere from millions of years to only a few years previous to the game time period run throughout the quest lines within EE. However, we're not trying to tell a confined, linear story with Earth Eternal like a single-player would, so talking about "the story" is not as accurate as referencing "the stories." And yep, story/plot will be revealed through the 'standard MMO' portion of the game.

What Earth Eternal race represents you the best and why?

Matt: Tough call. I think I probably lean towards either the Sylvans (because I love forests), the Noctari (owls are just cool), or the Tusken (big fan of wild boars as well). And I also love the Cyclops. I'm not sure any of them represent me, but they all represent aspects of me, I suppose.

If you could pick out your favorite part of Earth Eternal, what would it be and why?

Matt: I love the visual look that the art team has produced. I think it's a beautiful game world and it has a distinct feeling to it. I don't think it feels quite like any other game out there.

What has been the most difficult obstacle for you to overcome in your work on Earth Eternal?

Matt: Trying to find ways, within our limited budget and manpower, to work the extensive backstory into the quest storylines in meaningful ways.

Can you give us a taste of the plot players will encounter in Earth Eternal? What is the main basis for their struggle?

Matt: The main basis for the struggle is the battle between Gaia the Earthmother, and Djall, the Dark Lord. Djall arrived on Earth by latching onto a meteor the Titan Kronos (Gaia's husband) had set the Queen of the Faeries on and sent off into space. Djall latched onto the Faerie Queen's life force and eventually rode the comet back to Earth. He tricked the Titans into entering Tartarus and locked them there, then built his power to challenge Gaia for supremacy of Earth, as Gaia was the only Titan who did not enter Tartarus. Not every enemy is ultimately on the side of either Gaia or Djall, but many of the organized factions boil down to that, if sometimes indirectly.

Any word on what will be offered through the premium shop? Will a subscription-based plan be offered?

Matt: We're going to offer a range of things in the Credits Shop, from cosmetic to functional. We may eventually offer an optional subscription plan, but it wouldn't be something that opened up access to an otherwise inaccessible part of the world or game system. It'd likely boil down to a convenient way to subscribe to a set of benefits without having to trigger a purchase every month. All the games I develop have allowed players to acquire, via gameplay, anything that may otherwise be purchased. Earth Eternal is no exception.

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