I have touched on this in a previous post, but I’ll shamelessly make this prediction: small, independent game studios are going to be the more adaptable, nimble survivors when behemoth, dinosaur game studios face their apocalypse. A pretty bold claim to be making, I know, but there are things a smaller studio will do — such as the risks it can afford to take — that a big studio cannot explain to its board of directors. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is a labor of love undertaken by the game designers of Visionary Realms, Inc. — headed by EverQuest creator Brad McQuaid — who are risking it all by developing an MMO (massively multiplayer online) game that is targeted to a niche audience rather than going the bloated route of trying to please everyone in the overall gaming community.
If you’re a veteran gamer who feels that modern MMO games cater too much to the whims of casual gamers, then Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen may be right up your alley. Taking place on the fantasy world of Terminus, where planar collisions have created a diverse and deadly landscape populated with the races — and deities — of countless worlds, the solo adventurer quickly learns the importance of working with others, but also that “a truly challenging game is truly rewarding.”
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Looks to Restore Faith in Collaborative Fantasy Games
It’s a little like this:
Alone, you would not survive this challenge. The air is cold, but sweat is already running down your face from the tell-tale pounding of your heart. You and a select group of your trusted companions have already battled through the dark and damp corridors. Ahead of you lies your biggest challenge yet, but what you have already bested will plague your nightmares. Waiting ahead in the dim light lies your goal: this large, hulking monster of unknown description. You do not know if you will live through the coming fight, or even how difficult the fight may be. You only know your own strengths and what your partners bring to the fight. You hope it is enough. The anticipation and fear have heightened your senses and, if you must die here, you do so in glory.
Oddly enough, this scene is also pretty accurate in describing the process of taking an MMO game to Kickstarter as a way to found a new studio. There have been others in the past with the same goal, but so far their successes and failures are still in the making. The Kickstarter page for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen details a full list of goals and an explanation of the development team’s philosophy; if you’re a fan of the fantasy MMO genre, I encourage you to give it a look. If you’ve found your enthusiasm with MMO games waning over the past few years, this might be just the refresh for which you’ve been yearning.
If these new, crowd-funded indie studios are the future of gaming, I, for one, am excited. If you’d like to follow the progress of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen (and support its Kickstarter project while you still can), here’s how: