Citadel Studios, the development team formed from the ashes of Warhammer Online and Ultima Online folk have revealed their first project: Shards Online.
Generally speaking and from the reveal trailer it sounds as though Shards Online (or Shards as it will likely be shortened to) covers all bases of the genre. Citadel weren't releasing too much information, but they did have the following to say:
Our first project is an online, 3D top-down isometric send-up of all the love we have for sandbox games of yesteryear, especially Ultima Online.
You can expect fun, simple combat with group or faction play, as well as a skill-based system to really test out non-XP based character development in the modern age of gaming.
Plus, well be using some of the latest technology and beautiful artwork to make it run seamlessly on your usual hardware while still looking great. No incredible upgrades needed to get in and have fun!
Unsurprisingly Citadel want to scupper the plans of the big MMOG developers and bring the genre back to something old school in not only its view point but in its design and play. Making the game sandbox is a core component of Shards.
We want to bring our worlds to life, and making a sandbox is unlike any other kind of game development. Gone are the restrictive level designs, one-time encounters, and confining rails of gameplay. Instead, we strive to build open worlds where our players are free to explore a vibrant setting teeming with emergent gameplay. Animals and monsters roam and interact, and NPCs live their daily lives with or without you sometimes in spite of you!
We believe in creating dynamic content and letting the world itself change and grow. Inspired by games like Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Minecraft, we want our players to have every chance to make their mark on the world and themselves.
Although the first video doesn't show much, we do get a glimpse of the in game engine and I have to say, it's got the whole Planescape/Baldurs Gate feel to it (never a bad thing!). You can sign up for testing and the newsletter on the official website and you can watch the trailer below. http://citadelstudios.net/