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GDC10: Welcome to Poisonville


Fast stolen cars, brutal gang warfare and a large city to explore and conquer -- sounds like Grand Theft Auto, does it not? Actually, it's Poisonville, a new browser-based 3D MMO where you'll jump into a gangster's shoes (it's okay, the former owner totally didn't need them) and join one of four gangs struggling to control the titular city.

After a gang indoctrination ceremony, Massively was allowed in Bigpoint's hideout to talk about Poisonville with CTO Jan Wergin and media consultant Erik Reynolds. Bigpoint, the same developer that recently announced their upcoming Battlestar Galactica MMO, claims that Poisonville is the most expensive browser MMO built to date, with a budget of over $2 million.

While browser MMOs sometimes get a bum rap, this one looks to be fairly impressive, allowing up to 4,000 players to experience fast-paced twitch battles in the same instance of a city.

Gallery: GDC10: Poisonville | 7 Photos

Similar to GTA's setup, your character will be returning to the city of Poisonville after ten years to make a name for yourself among the gangs and factions on the street. The character creation process is fairly involved, with a wide selection of visual options including clothes and tattoos. Your character isn't the only thing that can get a new skinjob -- cars, player housing and clan housing all can be tricked out and tweaked.

No self-respecting gangster would accept unemployment checks, so getting a job is the name of the game. You'll be driving getaway cars, stealing radios, retrieving packages and performing deliveries for the various city factions. Do a good enough job and your reputation will rise, opening up more content and missions for you to explore.

Action takes place in 3rd-person mode, shifting between your character and whatever vehicle you choose to, erm, "liberate." Indoor locations, such as bars and stores, are also accessible.

There are PvE and PvP areas, depending on what you're looking for on any given day and depending on who you want to be your antagonist -- cops or other gang members. You will begin in a relatively safe PvE starter area, and from there the game will encourage you to branch out and head into more dangerous territory.

Between all of the heavy gang warfare, players can cool their heels at a slot machine or try their hand at accomplishing one of Poisonville's many achievements. Later on, Bigpoint hopes to add features such as the ability to capture PvP territory, as well as more types of vehicles.

will be supported by the cash shop model, where players can purchase weapons, clothing and upgrades. Bigpoint stressed that you can also attain these items through questing, but shop purchases will offer a more immediate reward. They also hope to ease the barrier of entry by letting players jump right into the game for the first section to see if they like it, then asking them to register after that point.

Poisonville is accepting signups for closed beta, and looks to be released later this year.

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