Funcom today kicked off the storyline for its MMORPG, Anarchy Online. The company has revealed that their story will be told in 15-minute movie episodes, which will feature central characters from the game playing leading roles. The movies are downloadable, and will provide hints as to how in-game events will transpire, as well as what new content will be added to the game.
It must be nice for Funcom to have something positive to build on; AO has been plagued by bugs and other technical difficulties since the game's inception, and has gained something of a bad reputation as a result. Funcom president Andre Backen has indicated that "Anarchy Online is probably the most underestimated game in the industry," however, and having cleared up most of the technical problems, as well as adding to the customer support staff, the company should be able to stand behind their title.
The first episode is 15 minutes in length, and is a fully animated movie, with voice acting for all central characters in the game. Starring in the episode are Eleena Oak, Henry Radiman, Joshua Kahn, and Philip Ross, all key characters in the story. Funcom is heralding this movie as the first attempt to combine games with movie-like video sequences in which all characters from the movie will be found in the game. Players will be able to see events taking place in the movies reflected in the game itself, through content additions and different in-game events.
The story in AO will unfold gradually, being told not only through the movies, but also through new game content and bigger story events. While other games have made their worlds more dynamic through in-game events, Funcom is attempting to bring a whole new dimension to their worlds by taking storytelling one step further with the movies. Over the long haul, it is the company's goal to feature central players from the game in the story-based episodes, both to reward commitment to the game and to strengthen the link between the game and the overall story.
At present, AO's storyline is set to run for a full four years, and having spent the past several months working hard to supply customers with more content and story elements, Funcom is looking forward to this run. As Backen stated, "[Publishing online gaming worlds is] about to change for the better. Much better. And I hope our customers are already feeling that shift now."
Players can stay up-to-date on the story by visiting here. RPGamer also has extensive coverage.