WarCry Network: Earthrise: GDC Preview

The MMO market has become increasingly tough arena to fight in for small, independently funded start-ups like Masthead Studios, but these Bulgarian entrepreneurs are undeterred as they develop Earthrise.

"[Earthrise is] a game that is about freedom," said Technical Director George Petrov. "[It is] not the usual fantasy MMO."

Their vision is most definitely a throwback to an era when there were many schools of thought in the MMO genre. Since World of Warcraft, companies have gravitated towards level based games that closely direct the player's experiences and they're almost universally fantasy. Earthrise rewinds the clock and is clearly inspired by Ultima Online, which rose to prominence a decade ago with a completely open skill-based system where players improve through using individual skills, rather than experience earned by killing monsters and completing quests.

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