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The Otherland MMO has returned from the dead

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Otherland, Crowdfunding, Sunsets

It appears that the Tad Williams-inspired cyberpunk Otherland MMO has a new lease on life.

The first version of Otherland was still in production back in March 2013, when developer RealU laid off most of its staff and work on the title ground to a halt. Now it seems Drago-Entertainment, a Polish outfit, has taken over the project and its assets, having launched a new website and Facebook page earlier in October with the declaration, "Otherland the MMO is back!" Drago-Entertainment was last in MMO news in April 2013 when it, perhaps not coincidentally, canceled its Kickstarter for a Grimlands MMO in favor of working with other investors. Both games were set to be published by Gamigo at the time.

According to posts on the forums, Otherland's closed beta has not yet begun, though a registration link is prominently displayed on the website.

[Many thanks to tipster Joe.]

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Otherland developer RealU lays off 'most of its staff'

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Otherland

Otherland developer RealU lays off 'most of its staff'
Otherland developer RealU has laid off "most of its staff," according to a community manager's post on the game's official forums from earlier this month. The upcoming sci-fi cyberpunk title based on the works of author Tad Williams was set to be published by free-to-play giant gamigo. According to the post, gamigo "had and has very limited influence on this decision."

RealU is a subsidiary of German publisher dtp, which "is currently in insolvency." The post indicates that RealU continues to hold the rights to Otherland in both Europe and North America, and it is currently looking into opportunities to finish the title "at another location."

[Thanks Ainilome!]

Otherland enters phase two of closed beta testing this Friday

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Screenshot -- Otherland
Gamigo has announced that the upcoming Otherland MMO, based on the popular cyberpunk series of the same name, is about to enter phase two of beta testing. The new phase of testing is bringing with it a number of improvements and fixes for testers to enjoy.

The new beta build includes a revamped tutorial, a new starter zone, a "refined" combat system, and more. If you're in the Otherland beta and can't wait to check it out, you'll have your opportunity when a "short preview and feedback round" begins Friday, December 14th at 4:00 a.m. Eastern time. The testing period will run until Monday, December 17th, so you've got all weekend to see what the new build has to offer. For all the delicious beta details, check out the game's official site.

GDC Online 2012: Gamigo showcases Otherland and Grimlands

Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Otherland, Crafting

GDC Online 2012  Gamigo CEO Patrick Streppel showcases Otherland and Grimlands
This week at GDC Online, Gamigo showed off the progress in not one but two of its upcoming titles. Otherland, based on the novels by Tad Williams, has begun to pick up pace lately, with a series of closed beta events in Europe. Meanwhile, Grimlands has also made quite a bit of progress and is working out the finer details as it nears release.

Massively sat down with Gamigo CEO Patrick Streppel to get a firsthand look at both games. Read on for highlights from both the Otherland and Grimlands demos!

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Otherland premieres beta weekend trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Otherland premieres beta weekend trailer
Today's a big day if you're an Otherland tester, as this marks the kick-off of the first closed beta weekend. It's a smaller test, however, so if you're not one of the lucky few, then you might be stewing in mild envy. Envy not, fair fellow gamers, for gamigo has an exciting new trailer to give everyone a taste of the multiverse of Otherland.

The trailer begins with a grumpy angel going around a fantasy village and destroying the crud out of it. This prompts a youngster to take up a sword and join the fight against... something. Following that, it's a huge montage across the many genres of Otherland, from sci-fi to Asian-themed worlds.

But who needs a description when you can watch it for yourself? Buckle up because you're going for a ride after the jump.

[Source: gamigo press release]

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Otherland's first beta weekend begins on August 31st

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

The first beta weekend for Otherland begins on August 31st
The few, the proud, the Otherland closed beta testers! Players interested in testing the upcoming free-to-play fantasy and sci-fi mixed MMORPG should keep an eye on their email; Gamigo has announced that the first closed beta test for Otherland will be happening this weekend. From August 31st until September 2nd, select accounts will be given access to the beta.

This first test weekend, however, will be kept relatively small. Otherland Product Manager Florian Hörpel stated, "A small, manageable group of accounts will be given access to the servers for the first closed-beta weekend. This is because we want to get a feel for the limits of the systems." Interested players who do not receive an invitation this time around shouldn't despair -- they will have the chance to join in future beta events. Sign-ups to participate are on the official site.

[Source: Gamigo press release]

New Otherland making-of video shows off Five Isle, Tad Williams

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

New Otherland making-of video shows off Five Isle, Tad Williams
RealU and gamigo have released a new making-of video update for Otherland. The clip focuses on the in-game world of Five Isle, so named for the five elements of fire, water, earth, wood, and metal that feature in Chinese mythology.

Interestingly, Five Isle is a new invention created specifically for the MMO and does not appear in Tad Williams' series of Otherland novels. Williams himself does appear in the new video along with a handful of game developers. See what they have to say after the break.

[Source: gamigo press release]

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Gamigo to bring UFO Online and more to Gamescom 2012

Betas, Real-Life, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Black Prophecy, Otherland

Otherland screenshot
Next month, the eyes of the gaming world will turn toward Cologne, Germany, as developers and fans converge at Gamescom 2012. In preparation, Gamigo has announced the line-up of games it will be presenting at this year's convention. Visitors will be able to try their hands at UFO Online and Jagged Alliance Online in the public area. Folks who can't make it to the convention won't have very long to wait to experience these games for themselves; UFO Online is set for open beta testing on August 23rd, while Jagged Alliance Online is scheduled to leave beta shortly after the convention.

Although not open for public play, Otherland, Grimlands, and Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict will be available for members of the press to dive into. Keep an eye out for impressions on these titles!

[Source: Gamigo press release]

Otherland alpha sign-ups begin

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Otherland - demon dude
Fancy getting an early peek at the MMO version of Tad Williams' Otherland? Head to gamigo's official forum, then, because the company is seeking a few good alpha testers.

This isn't your typical marketing beta, at least according to the sign-up verbiage. "As an alpha tester, you will be asked to focus-test specific game elements, document your user experience, and fill out in-depth surveys each week. Alpha testing is hard work," gamigo says. It's also unpaid work, so only die-hard Otherland fans need apply.

If you're not a die-hard but are still interested in the game, check out our GDC impressions as well as this handy post that collects all of the publicly known information in one place.

Check and mate: A look at Otherland's EightSquared simulation

Sci-Fi, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Otherland

Knight from B1 to -- aw, s**t.
Fans of Tad Williams' deliciously cyberpunk book series Otherland are almost certainly waiting with bated breath for gamigo and RealU's upcoming MMO adaptation of the universe. In hopes of making the wait just a tad easier, gamigo has released a new developer diary video focusing on the EightSquared universe of Otherland.

EightSquared, as you may have surmised from the name, is a simulation in which an entire medieval countryside has sprung forth from a gargantuan chess board on which the Red and White armies are locked in an eternal war/game. But something has gone wrong with the simulation: The armies are no longer following the rules of warfare (i.e., rules of chess), and it's up to players to find out where the problem lies before things get too far out of hand and cause the destruction of the simulation itself. The full dev diary also provides a look at the game's Lifecycle AI, which breathes life into the world by providing NPCs who follow their own day-to-day schedules.

So what are you waiting for? Log in to the Net and go take a look for yourself.

[Source: gamigo press release]

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Otherland info collected in a single post

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Otherland - coming Q3 2012?
We got our first real glimpse of Otherland at last week's GDC, and if you're hungry for more info on the upcoming MMORPG from gamigo, a fansite called Otherland Net Feed has you covered. The Tad Williams-inspired title might be available as early as the third quarter of 2012, according to the site, and to whet your appetite, the admin has collected just about every known game factoid in a single sprawling post.

There is plenty of verbiage relating to the title's simulations (that's Otherland-speak for zones) as well as a ton of images from the game's different locales. There are several trailer embeds too, along with concise reviews of combat, crafting, questing, and travel.

[Thanks to Travis for the tip!]

GDC 2012: A look at Otherland and Grimlands with Gamigo

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Previews, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Otherland

Do you prefer a post-apocalyptic world or Tad Williams' vision of the internet of the future? Luckily, you can have them both by the end of the year because Gamigo is working busy at work preparing to launch two new titles. Massively had a chance to talk with Anthony Guzzardo, Gamigo's North American Publicity Manager, as well as PR Manager Dennis Hartmann as they showed off Otherland, based on the works of Tad Williams, and Grimlands, a post-apocalyptic vision in the desert.

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Latest Otherland trailer gives players a glimpse of the Net

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Screenshot -- Otherland
Fans of Tad Williams' cyberpunk series Otherland, rejoice. The MMO adaptation of the series, which is being published by gamigo AG, has received a brand-new trailer showcasing many of the varied worlds you can visit on Otherland's Net. The trailer takes players on a tour of many of the game's interesting environments, which range from a medieval fortress to a Blade-Runner-esque metropolis. Fans also get a small taste of the game's combat set to some appropriately cyberpunk, wubwubwub-filled dubstep.

To watch the trailer for yourself, just click on past the cut and log in to the Net. We'll see you on the other side.

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The Perfect Ten: The upcoming long-shots

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, World of Darkness, Fallout Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Transformers Universe, Otherland, MechWarrior Online

Perfect Ten
In coming up with a follow-up list to my previous Upcoming MMO Contenders list, I found myself almost paralyzed by more choices than I could shake a wireless mouse at. Pointing at the sure bets is one thing, but narrowing down a field of dozens and dozens of interesting -- yet more far-flung -- prospects is far more difficult. It's one thing to have a good idea; it's another to say whether or not this game will actually make it to launch, and if it does, that it'll pull the idea off well.

That said, I've lost some hair and two pounds sweating out this list, and I feel sleeker for it. Today's Perfect Ten is all about the long-shots, the titles that may not have the huge budget, big name studios, or anything solid to show for it, but could still become contenders in their own right if everything is played just right.

Deep breath -- let's give it a go!

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Otherland dev video talks design and going off the rails

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Otherland

Otherland dev working on something
What's happening in the world of Otherland? How about a new making-of video, for starters. RealU and gamigo, the developer and publisher responsible for bringing Tad Williams' sci-fi novels into the MMORPG realm, are offering up a new five-minute clip that takes fans behind the scenes for a brief look at the development process inside the game's Singapore studio. The clip is full of quick glimpses of devs at work as well as a few talking head soundbytes.

In terms of how the game plays, the most revealing quote comes from lead designer Nic Cusworth. "What we've been trying to do is bring those skills from a console game background into an MMO and give players something that's a little bit more immediate, more fast-paced to play. But at the same time, it has the scope and range of an MMO," he says.

How will that scope and range manifest itself in the finished game? That's still speculation at this point, but the devs seem united in their desire to highlight Otherland's openness and its willingness to deviate from MMO norms. "We all like online games, but I find it quite frustrating how people's conceptions and ideas are so railed," says art director Holger Liebnitz. Check out the full clip after the cut.

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