What is BitCraft? "A New Kind of MMORPG"
Now I know you’ve heard this time and time again. “We got a brand new MMO guys!” – you get excited – the game actually looks really good. Fast forward 5 years later, you’re still waiting.
Then comes the announcement that the title is finally entering a test phase ahead of its confirmed release, and… it fails to live up to expectations. And that’s if things go well. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the game shut down before ever fully realizing their vision.
And that’s pretty much every MMO announcement in recent memory. Which brings me to the topic of today: Clockwork Labs, a studio out of San Francisco raised $4.3 million dollars recently in hopes of developing a brand new MMORPG.
Yeah, millions. This isn’t your typical indie dev that raises a couple hundred thousand, begs for more, strings players along for years and then runs off with what money remains after years of failed promises.
While Clockwork is based in San Francisco, the team itself not only employs developers from all over the world, but has talent from both Ubisoft and Kakao. The companies’ goal? To build an MMO with a “societal” focus. Where the game strongly encourages players to engage in social interaction and cooperation.
“A lot of games already offer great combat experiences, we want to encourage players to be able to build their own worlds, rather than having developers handcraft everything and put a huge amount of effort to content creation and so on,”
This honestly isn’t a bad idea. I know Western MMOs seem to be going the player-generated content route, having players be in direct control of the world, the economy and generally dictate the direction the game takes.
Although my one concern here lies with the fact that the activity with regards to content, and ultimately the fate of the entire server lies on how active players are. The less players play, the worse the economy gets, the less the world evolves. Until it dries up completely.
“We have a strong emphasis on player-created worlds and player mechanics. And we think it’s that’s both incredibly powerful for creating content in the game but also key to give players a new way to play with each other.
And we want to harken back to sort of the old mission of MMOs, which is to get a bunch of people to become real friends in the game together.”
Forcing players to socialize with one another could potentially work. I’m honestly not a fan of that aspect as gamers have evolved quite a bit in the last decade thanks to MOBAs and Battle Royales. And I use the term “evolved” very loosely here.
The idea that players want to actively socialize with one another – that players want to group together and work harmoniously is unfortunately just not the reality in this day and age.
This is an age where most players want to power through content as fast as they possibly can. This is an age where players are happier playing solo as opposed to having to rely on other groups – other players.
And I don’t think that’s necessarily the wrong mentality. I just think it’s a different mentality. One that I’m familiar with and see in every new MMO that releases.
I would love for a community-driven MMO to be a reality. Truly. Working with other players towards a common goal was an incredible experience back in the 2000s, and could even be fun in games like ARK when I played it actively.
Clockwork did note that while they want to have a focus on “user-generated content,” they’re definitely not aiming for something like “Roblox or Minecraft.”
This is going to, first and foremost be an MMORPG. It’s just being built with survival aspects to attempt to appeal to a different audience.
Now the game itself, from the trailer footage I sat through and you’ve all no doubt sat through yourselves actually legitimately looks pretty cool. It’s got a very unique graphical aesthetic to it – one that you don’t really come across very often in video games, let alone MMOs.
It kinda reminds me of Breath of the Wild and Craftopia – 2 Japanese games with an emphasis on large, open-world content, and this is honestly one of the best graphical styles they could’ve taken.
There still isn’t a whole lot of information known about the upcoming MMO, but disregarding the info released via their interview that we already covered, they do have a little on their website. First, you get to build your own home. Your own town. Your own city.
Player housing is definitely a thing, although given the survival mechanics present, it likely won’t allow for the same type of interior decorating that a game like Black Desert or Final Fantasy XIV do. The exterior, on the other hand..
Next is the world itself. This is a completely open, sandbox MMORPG. Meaning there isn’t a single loading screen in sight. Not only that, but they plan on housing every single player on a single server. Uh-huh. Every single player will occupy the very same world as one another, with the world itself being procedurally generated.
There are going to be a surplus of different life skills available. Accompanying the ability to build, you’ll be able to fish, farm, mine and even live out your dream of being a lumberjack. You know. If you want to. Otherwise, there’s always what goes on outside the town, outside of your safe, quiet life.
As the world is large and open, there’ll be plenty to explore. A variety of things to do, materials to seek out and locate to use or sell on the open market.
Interestingly, I did take note of the fact that they have yet to elaborate on combat.
The trailer looked fantastic from what I saw, the company sounds like they have a solid plan – it isn’t grandiose.
But on the one hand, they never mentioned combat in their interviews, and on the other hand.. they’ve completely omitted any mention of combat on their website.
This has me a little concerned, but at the same time, even though they have intentions of providing a social MMO, I’d expect there to be combat outside the walls of your town.
The reason they haven’t elaborated on this presently is likely due to the fact that they’re not entirely certain what they want to do with it and how they want to go about integrating it into their game. Which makes sense, especially given that they’ve been a little vague in terms of features thus far.
And that’s everything we know currently. BitCraft is an upcoming sandbox MMORPG that provides players a plethora of different ways of playing the game. Farming, hunting, crafting. Building your town, your city, your empire. Playing politics, initiating and operating trade with other cities.
This is shaping up to be a unique amalgamation of various gaming sub-genres including survival, sandbox, RPG, city builders and strategy games.
Currently, Clockwork and BitCraft are holding pre-registrations for the upcoming Pre-Alpha. This will be a very limited Alpha test, and the game is far from being done.
If you’re interested in pre-registering, click the pre-registration button below!
BitCraft Release Date
As for a release date.. well, given they’re currently in the Pre-Alpha test phase, I’d say it’s a lot further along than most indie MMOs, but it’s still likely targeting a 2023 release at the earliest. At least in my opinion. I might be wrong – in fact, I’d love to be wrong.