By Nicole Hamlett
It's that time of the year when crowds of fans descend upon San Diego to
attend the coolest of all conventions - Comic Con. This year, the Con was
fortunate to be the place that Cartoon Network announced their new MMO, Fusion
Fall: The Cartoon Network Universe. Harried and weary, I battled past thousands
of bodies to the CN booth where I met with one of my favorite community
managers, Katie Postma who introduced me to Mario Piedra, the Art Director who
gave me a brief tour of the game.
Surprisingly, the game has quite a bit of polish for only having been in
development for a year. Chris Waldron, my interview subject and Executive
Producer, informed me that while they still had about a year left in
development, the game had been in pre-production for years before the actual
coding / designing started.
As a parent, I want to know what kind of games will entice my child. The Cartoon
Network Universe has all of the elements that he loves about Cartoon Network
with a few extra touches. I asked Chris what kind of parental controls were
available to ensure that our kids would stay safe and out of trouble.
"We're doing a lot to make it safe for the kids. We will have a safe chat
environment where if you are on a free to play account, you only have menu chat
and if you are on subscription based play, where the parents have already
consented to that account, there will be other modes of precaution."
I asked him if the menu based chat was like Disney's Toon Town system. "Yes
it's very similar," he answered. "We will be releasing more
information as we continue. Right now we're working on fun first and safety
second." I asked him what he thought of the trend toward child friendly
MMOs. Chris explained that there are hardcore players who are now parents who
want to play with their kids. This is a really great opportunity for families to
have some quality play time together. This is even a great place for casual
players to come and enjoy themselves.
"Even though the game is geared in a child's world, we want adults to have
fun there too," he told me.
So what are the three things that Chris is really excited about?
- They've re-imaged some of the characters. You will notice that CN
characters look a bit different. Dexter is a prime example. He looks a bit
grown up. Not the squat little boy with horn rimmed glassed.
- Gameplay - Taking the best of the MMORPG world and mixing it with platform
gaming. You will find yourself engrossed in a very role playing atmosphere
and then run into an area with challenging puzzles and very platform like
movement like jumping from platforms or swinging around.
- Nanos - These are the really super deformed little characters that follow
you around while you play. What they are in reality is the cartoon network
stars. Each one has different powers that help you out as you continue your
adventures. My favorite personally is Eduardo. However, there are many of
the cartoon network players to choose from.
Chris tells me that they've chosen to go this route so that everyone can
interact with their favorite cartoon stars. It helps them interact with their
characters all the time, giving them more immersion into their game. As a
parent, I'm really excited to see this game. As a gamer I'm really excited to
play it. You can find out more about Cartoon Networks new MMO at http://www.fusionfall.com.