First announced in May, KingsIsle's forthcoming Wizard101 MMO is a fantasy-based 3D virtual world targeted at teens and 'tweens, where players take on the roles of wizard apprentices at the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts.
In it, players can customize their wizard character's outfits and accessories, play arcade-game inspired puzzles and mini-games, adopt magical pets, and learn from seven different schools of magic, with a heavy PVP focus on collectible cards used for card duels alongside and against other players.
Interestingly, the core of KingsIsle staff has roots not in traditional children's entertainment, but in the much darker 2003 Ubisoft MMO Shadowbane, something which development head Todd Coleman told Gamasutra could be explained by the team's more family-oriented mindset, so many years from their first post-college roles.
In this interview, Coleman takes us through inception of the game as a true card-game MMO, rather than an MMO with a card game attached, its Yu-Gi-Oh! and Final Fantasy inspiration, and how designing for teens differs from designing for an older, more hardcore set of gamers.