Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dutch Dwarf to take on World of Warcraft

A "Dutch Dwarf to take on World of Warcraft" was the general gest of a newpaper article earlier this month in the Belgian newspaper 'de Standaard ', which applied to the newly released Chronicles of Spellborn, released by Dutch game producer Spellborn N.V.

Such a claim gives rise to big expectations as the market for quality MMORPG's is getting very crowded with excellent games and you need tons of investors to get into serious competition, and Spellborn N.V. isn't a big-buck-backed company. Yes, they have had several investment rounds, but since Spellborn is their only title this is a make or break game.

Spellborn N.V. is a rather small company, based in the Hague, Netherlands and has put together a team of 40 people to work on the Chronicles of Spellborn. The game has been highly anticipated, for instance by Massively who wrote in may this year:

The team at Spellborn NV continues to entice with its latest screenshots from its closed beta for The Chronicles of Spellborn. These depict various cities and other places on the Shards of Parliament and Quarterstone, as well as some of the creatures who will be more than glad to help you test your skill at bleeding. After looking at the new screenshots, forum regulars wondered if the landscapes are too empty and flat when compared to World of Warcraft's lush richness.

Spellborn NV recently showed the game at the RPC M√ľnster role-playing convention, where players reportedly loved the character creation system and combat systems best. Similarly to NCSoft's City of Heroes, the gear and outfits worn by Spellborn characters don't affect the gameplay -- you can look however you wish and still fight at your best. The Spellborn combat system is similar to first person shooters and Age of Conan in that you don't target anything specifically; if something is in range of your attacks, it will be hit. It also is uniquely based on a grid on which you arrange your possible attacks that moves to allow you to use different sets of all your abilities as the fight moves on, adding a "deck building" element to battle.

According to Dutch gamers magazine Inside Gamer, the Chronicles of Spellborn, or TCOS in short is a highly original game with unique graphics. The graphics are drawn in quite a darkish style, but above all it is an MMORPG with a good story.

Here are some screenshots of the The Chronicles Of Spellborn, more can be found on the TCOS site here.






Dutch band Within Temptation, a gothic metalband, has written exclusive tracks for the game. The sounds of which naturally blend in with the mood of the game, although not everyone will be a fan of this type of music. The word goes that most programmers liked to listen to the music of Within Temptation while working on the game. Barry Hoffman, Spellborn's marketing manager said:

"Their music has given a whole new dimension to our fantasy world. When we received the opportunity to work together, we got very excited. Gamers very often listen to music while gaming and it was an easy choice for us to work with a band that can give such a good mood to the game."

The affection was mutual, as Within Temptation's guitarist Robert Westerholt said:

"Actually, almost all Within Temptation members are fanatic gamers. Both at home and when touring we play fantasy oriented games to relax and get new inspiration. when we heard about Spellborn and that it was a Dutch company we were very thrilled to work together to write tracks especially for this game. The partnership will go beyond writing tracks, but we'll let you know about that later."

Spellborn sure is about to stand out in the crowd, it's graphics make it an original as well as the cooperation with Within Temptation, as it is the first time that a game has worked dedicated with a popular rockband to create the tracks for the game. The fact that it is an original may be the key to their success; It's different and cool and it becomes a smash hit, or it's too different from mainstream MMORPG and it will become a proud, but niche player on the market.



Happy Gaming.

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