NCSoft has announced Wildstar, a new MMOG developed by Californian developer Carbine Studios, and in an unusual move has a playable build of the game at this week's Gamescom event in Cologne.
Wildstar casts players as one of four character classes – explorer, soldier, scientist and settler – and tasks them with laying claim to a mysterious planet in the farthest reaches of known space. The announcement kicks off a big week for NCSoft, which also has a new playable build of ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 at Gamescom.
Matt Turetzky, executive VP of publishing at NCSoft, said: "WildStar and Guild Wars 2 showcase the innovation coming from NCsoft’s development studios, paving the way for the next generation of videogames and setting a high bar for the entertainment industry to follow.
"We are focused on delighting players by delivering fun, immersive experiences that rival traditional forms of entertainment through personal expression, best-in-class gameplay mechanics, and social engagement."
But will Wildstar stand out in an increasingly crowded MMOG market? In a recent interview, Carbine executive producer Jeremy Gaffney admitted new MMOGs faced an uphill battle to prise an audience away from long-established games like World Of Warcraft, that continue to enjoy huge numbers of players despite their age.
"It's tough for new MMOGs in general, because games just get bigger and better, and people play for long times," he said. "If they're enjoying a game then prying them out of it is very tough.
"We don't care about pulling people out of MMOGs per se: people play what they want to play but, man, we want to make sure we have a great thing there to hook them in. There are a lot of MMOGs out there, and the market's still expanding." No release date was announced.