Ambitious multiverse and Web3 project Avalon’s first trailer dropped yesterday, as well as details of the experienced development team’s plans for the game.
The Avalon team is led by chief product officer Jeffrey Butler, one of the original producers for EverQuest and its first expansions, alongside Sean Pinnock, formerly CEO of virtual reality gaming company CyberDream, best known for Virtual Battlegrounds. Other team members have worked on titles such as Call of Duty, Diablo, Assassin’s Creed, Elden Ring, and World of Warcraft.
Avalon is being built with Didimo’s Popul8 character creation platform and Inworld’s AI-powered character engine. The game features action-combat including magical powers in player-vs-environment and player-versus-player modes. Players can build their own “levels, stories, game experiences and even worlds” as they craft, trade, buy and sell resources, equipment, land, and other commodities. In-game businesses can be built and sold.
The trailer features a pretty world of warriors, who flit between environments, with ample tools for building and crafting. Players move between fantasy worlds, from medieval to cyberpunk. The game will filter out weapons and powers that are inappropriate to particular eras.
According to the company, the game “is governed by its users. Furthermore, all assets and worlds are owned by players and authenticated by Avalon through the DAO [Decentralized Autonomous Organization] … The Avalon ecosystem allows fluid importing and exporting of items between user-created worlds as well as external games and platforms.”
Butler commented: “We want to give Avalon players control over the way they play, where creating is just as rewarding as questing – something that I began planning for even as I worked on EverQuest. With the technology and tools we’re developing alongside our partners, we want to foster a community for our namesake game that is able to create their own content and benefit from it, and immerse themselves in content that others have made and shared.”
Pinnock added: “I’ve always had a clear vision of a limitless online world where players are equipped with the tools to not only create whatever they can dream, but also share the experiences across multiple connected realities.
“All of us nerds share this dream of an MMO that blurs the lines between the virtual and the real. When Jeff and I realized our shared vision, we knew we had to work together to create it. It’s too difficult for any one person or company to build, but we believe that by empowering our community alongside us, we can make something that fulfills the promise of the metaverse.”
Based in Orlando, Florida, but mainly built on a remote working model. Avalon has found investment backing from the likes of Bitkraft, Delphi Ventures, and Mechanism Capital raising $13 million in a round announced earlier this year.
In an interview with Decrypt, Butler said that metaverse environments need to be familiar to players, a key reason for drawing heavily on successful MMOs of the past. “If we’re going to see a metaverse, it’s going to start in a place where we feel comfortable. We know that dragons are scary and they’re bad and that they have loot, so we’re very familiar with these locations.”
Core to Avalon will be player-created content. “The most important paradigm that needs to be broken – since the first massively multiplayer games and the first games were created – is the barrier to authoring content. Look at the number of Skyrim mods that are posted on a weekly basis, much less the Fallout series, Starfield, etc. These franchises have stood up and maintained their longevity on the back of content creators.”
“I don’t call them modders, I call them content creators. They push these games to the next level. So [it’s] massively multiplayer style entertainment where you won’t be waiting for us, or for a new version of Blizzard in the future.”
He explained how players can earn points to modify in-game creatures, as an example of content creation. “You’ll be able to open the content creation tool, grab a monster, throw it in the crafting station which allows you to change the monster and alter its stats all within parameters either within the game. So all of the balance that we enforce is maintained.”
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